This is a guest post from Mari L. McCarthy, journaling expert and publisher of CreateWriteNow.com. Thank you to Mari for this enlightening contribution!
A special kind of writer’s block sometimes afflicts people who journal. When you know you want to journal regularly but somehow seldom find the time to actually do it, you may be suffering from writer’s block.
For a journaler, this kind of block often arises from an inner resistance. You may have noticed that when you get close to making a breakthrough in your life, your resistance fires up. Your resistance doesn’t want anything to disrupt the status quo.
While you make excuses – you are too busy, you can’t think of anything to write, you’ll journal tomorrow – the underlying truth may be emotional inertia, a fear of discovery and change. Your mind knows that when you explore your thoughts and feelings, you sometimes have to face things that are tough to process. It’s challenging to sort through all that “crazycrap” that we carry with us.
I’ve identified five exercises that come in handy and work extremely well to dissipate the numbing nothingness of journal writer’s block. Devote a timed 15-minute session to each theme below, as you use writing to work through the fog.
Step 1: Drain the swamp.
Clear your internal clutter to understand what’s most important to your true self. This is employing Michelangelo’s method of chipping away the stone to reveal the angel contained within. Write without stopping.
Step 2: Ask not what to write, but why.
Do a session on why you want to write in the first place. Put aside any “shoulds” and take a focused look at why you want to keep a journal, why you want to write.
Step 3: Imagine the worst, then imagine the best.
Get to the root of your journaling fears by imagining the worst things that could emerge if you stop your whirlwind of activities long enough to sit down and interact with your journal. Then write about the best things that could emerge if you do take time to journal. Are the potential benefits worth the risk?
Step 4: Collect inspiration.
Make a list of things that you would enjoy journaling about, and keep it handy for times you feel stumped. When sitting down to journal, what catches your attention, on your walls, out the window, or on your street, that relates to your goal of living healthily?
Step 5: Reap what you’ve sown.
Now that you’ve cleared the passages, let the writing flow. Set your pen free on the page, writing fluidly without that pesky old resistance stopping you. Don’t judge or analyze anything; don’t try to accomplish something. Just keep writing.
You can use these steps for everyday journaling as well as to loosen up for more focused prose in fiction, copywriting, or other writing tasks.
The coolest part? Once you start any of these exercises, the process runs quickly, efficiently, and almost always successfully. Ideas and productivity begin to flow.
Next time you feel like you’re up against a brick wall, try to remember that the way through it is a lot smoother than it appears. You can use writing to get to the revelations you seek. So put pen to paper and just do it!