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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Throwing Out Journals

Since buying a new bookshelf we've been in a frenzy of rearranging and throwing things out around here*. First it was the study, where the old bookshelf went, and now other areas of the house are being hit. I suppose it's best to do this when you're in the mood and when other things are getting the big heave-ho, too. So, I decided to be brave and go through some of my journals stored above the shelving in my daughter's room. I didn't count them. That might happen yet, though, if I have to leave them stacked next to the rubbish bin until next collection day. The one thing I did do was take a photo to share with you, see below.

These are mostly morning pages and night journals. It felt good going through the massive pile and chucking them out. There's a nice big space left now for hubby to store some of his stuff. Have you kept or thrown out your morning pages or other journals? Was it a difficult decision or easily made? Have you never kept this many journals before in order to be able to come to this decision? Please share any journal throwing out sessions in the comments section below.

Photo is my own
*This is another entry from my old blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Keeping a Night Journal

Yesterday* I mentioned how I was throwing out some morning pages and night journals. Just in case anyone wanted to know what exactly makes up a night journal, I thought I'd write an entry about the topic. I'm pretty sure I got the idea from another of Julia Cameron's books, but I can't recall which one now. The idea was to spend a short time, perhaps only writing one page, to recap the day. I tend to list achievements and any significant event. I also jot down ideas for visual journal pages, jewellery I'm designing or anything else creative. Often some of my best ideas occur to me right at that moment of settling down for the night. Sometimes I'm way too tired for writing anything much. Some entries end with the scrawl of my pen down the page.

I do enjoy writing before going to sleep, too. Something about that act helps me take those last thoughts for the day and put them somewhere away from my mind. It's also a signal to my partner that I am about to go to snuggle up for the night. Read into that whatever you like. It's also a good way for me to see that I have done something, no matter how small. As a busy wife and mother it can feel too much like you're busy but not really achieving anything. Listing what happened is one way to prove that untrue.

Anyway, I hope you find some use for a night journal. If you already keep one please leave a comment in the section below, or on any other journal writing related topic.

Photo used with permission from Morguefile by Kevin Rosseel, Washington, DC.
*I will find and post the entry about tossing my night journals this week some time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Changing Seasons

I'm not sure what part of the world you are in, but here it's starting to get a bit cooler in the evenings. In the mornings I have to put something on my cold feet and around my shoulders. Officially we've been in autumn this entire month, but it's only really creeping in just now. The days are still glorious, filled with sunshine and aching blue skies. I love these in between times of year. The extreme cold is never something I enjoy and summer can begin to drain creative energy, in my opinion.

In your journal describe your favourite season. Spend some time with this season. Why do you identify with this season more than any of the others? List what you have in common or complete difference with this season. Create a collage or visual journal page about this season.

I hope you enjoy this journal writing prompt. Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from Dawn Allynn from stock.xchng

Freo Buskers

Today was the unofficial public holiday for Anzac Day here in Perth, Western Australia. Many of the shops were still open. We decided to take a drive down to Fremantle, also known to locals as Freo, to look at the markets. One of my favourite things about Fremantle just has to be the wonderful street performers, or buskers as we call them, who gather crowds on such days. There were plenty of talented entertainers today. We stopped to watch one guy who held us captive with what may have been simple tricks, but he had a knack for smooth banter going all the while performing his act. I applauded and whooped with the rest of the crowd. I also threw money into his hat as he held it out at the end of the show. He'd done a great job.

Have you ever busked? Would you ever do such a thing? If so, what would you perform? Write about busking in your journal. What talent would you use if you had to obtain money in this way? How would doing so make you feel? Are only special people able to busk, or do you think anyone could do so? Create a visual page in your journal about busking. You might like to search for some in your local area and photograph them. I was only sad I forgot to bring my camera.

I hope you enjoy this journal writing prompt. Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Friday, April 24, 2009

Artsy Bloggers Round-up #5

Here are some artsy links to keep you creating this week:

Blisstree Arts for some excellent image transfer methods.

Creating Memory Shadowboxes from some great memorabilia ideas.

How to wind yarn with a nostepinne with a great tip for keeping your yarn stash tidy.

Pretty Pot of Pens for Mom from The Artful Crafter.

I've shared the Gelly Roll Inspiration blog entry.

Photo used with permission from Pixel Perfect Digitial

Freaky Friday #6

Today is Friday and that means it's Freaky Friday. If you need to know more about this journal writing challenge please read Freaky Friday #1.

Since Anzac Day, April 25, Australians have watched and waited for the fate of the men trapped in a Tasmanian mine. For the latest news on the story follow this link. For full details, click on the Multimedia link titled Trapped Underground. This will take you to a day by day slide show presentation on all that's happened and more.

This Freaky Friday write as if you are one of these men trapped underground. What are your thoughts? What words do you share with the other man? Describe your reaction to the first contact from above ground. Please share your thoughts and responses in the comments section and please pray for the safety of these two trapped men.

This story was in the news April & May 2006
Photo used with permission from Julia Freeman-Woolpert from stock.xchng

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finding a Moment

At the moment it's school holidays for all the kids here in Western Australia. While it's good for them it just means finding a moment to write in my journal is really difficult. One of my favourite places to sit and write is in one of the many local cafes. With all the extra kids running about the place I'm not finding a nice quiet spot in any of my usual haunts. I know I can always write at home, but I tend to have the same problem there.

So far today I haven't found a moment of solitude to write in my journal. I'm hoping my daughter is planning on taking me out shopping with her tonight. At least she understands and will send me off to write on my own. And hopefully, all the kids will be home in bed by then.

Do you like to write in your journal in a quiet or noisy place. Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from Ivan Vicencio from stock.xchng

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Personal Reflection

After reading Self-Indulgence or Self-reflection? I couldn't help wanting to pose this question myself. My angle, though, is on journal writing. Do you think journal writing is a self-indulgent activity?

In the blog entry Kate writes of other self-indulgent activities, such as reading a book, movies, TV, etc. I have to agree with her, though. I find the exercise of writing about my life, reflecting on my ideas and opinions, is actually less self-indulgent than it may appear.

Because I write in a journal I can express myself better. This can only help those around me. There is less confusion over what I'm saying. The clearer I am in conversation the better conversation will be for everyone. That's just one area. I believe journal writing calms me and gives me an emotional outlet. Without this my family would suffer from my grumpy moods. Instead of inflicting these feelings on them I can pour it all out in my journal.

What about you? Do you view journal writing, blogging or any kind of self-reflection as indulgence, especially when compared to other indulgent activities? Share your views in the comments section below.

Photo used with permission from Mateusz Stachowski from stock.xchng

Monday, April 20, 2009

Benefits of Journal Writing

While researching online I came across this blog entry by Steve Pavlina. In general the entry is about the three benefits Steve sees in journal writing, but do keep reading beyond that first section.

Steve goes on to share a portion of an old diary entry. He then spends time going through how much rereading this portion helped him where he is right now. He gets a chance to show which of his goals reached fruition, which didn't and how he felt about that, and to see where his dreams and ideas for that time of his life have played out. I liked the way he reveals the sense of stepping outside of himself to gain a different perspective on his life. I feel this is one of the greatest benefits of journal writing.

What are some of the benefits of journal writing in your life?

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng
Journaling Tools - Go deeper and reach higher with hundreds of journal writing resources.

Life Journal Software

Gelly Roll Inspiration

This is another older entry slightly modified:

Tonight laziness infused deep into my bones and I just wasn't going to make an entry. Instead I surfed around checking out this and that. I found some visual journal inspiration, though, on the Gelly Roll website. You can download visual journal tips and illustrated pages from Diana Gessler and Dan Price.

Hope you feel fired up to add visual elements to your journal after checking out the website. Don't forget to look at the Artist Showcase for much more inspiration.

Photo used with permission from Tommie Ohlson & stock.xchng

Friday, April 17, 2009

Freaky Friday #5

Today is Friday and that means it's Freaky Friday. If you need to know more about this journal writing challenge please read Freaky Friday #1.

Private Jake Kovco was the first Aussie killed during recent clashes in Iraq*. Read more about the no cover up claims, investigations into his death and how his body was lost returning to Australia for burial.

For this journal writing challenge write as if you were a member of the private's family. Of course Jake's death is tragic and I hope we don't see many more families suffer such losses. I'm challenging you to focus on the bungle over losing the body of an honoured soldier. How does this make you feel? Write as if you are close enough to know him well. You could even write as if Jake was a friend or fellow soldier fighting alongside you. Investigate your emotions in this journal writing challenge.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng
*This story was from April 2006

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beginning a New Journal

This is an older entry from my old 'A Creative Journal' blog.

Today I had one of those fun journal writing moments; starting a fresh journal. There’s something exciting about those unmarked pages. In this case the pages are a dusky purple pink.

I have something of a ritual for preparing a new journal. On the very first page I stamp in the words JOURNAL No: and add the number later once I’ve checked which number I’m up to. I paste in a calendar, just one of those freebies you can pick up at the post office, or at the counter of grocery stores throughout the year. For me this is a terrific reference. I’m forever forgetting what the exact date is and it’s also handy when planning projects during a journal writing session.

If there’s time I might decorate the page, too. Stickers look good, if I have any, or I might ink the page with images from my hand carved stamps. It’s just a bit of fun to claim the journal as my own. I don’t add a privacy disclaimer, but it would be a good place for it if you wanted to add that to the front page.

I’ll also add an envelope to the back inside cover so I have somewhere to stash all the little bits I like to carry around with me. That’s pretty much it for me. How do you begin a new journal? Please share in the comments below.

Photo used with permission from Stock.xchng

Colour Psychology

After reading Shai's blog entry today I was inspired to write about colour. Often each of us has a different and unique response to colour. We have firm likes and dislikes when it comes to the tones and hues we choose to colour our lives. I have nothing to prove my theory, but I feel many of us see the exact same colours in totally different ways to other people.

What is your favourite colour? What colours do you dislike? Spend some time writing about colour in your journal. Follow up on some of the links Shai shared in her blog entry. Do you feel a strong positive or negative reaction to certain colours. Investigate why this is in a journal entry. Try writing in the colour you feel a strong negative reaction to. Try writing in your favourite colour. Compare your reactions and responses. Make a collage instead of each of these if you prefer. Express what emotions these colours evoke from deep within.

I hope you enjoy this journal writing prompt. Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Write-Brain Workbook

I stumbled on to the Write-Brain Workbook, 366 Exercises To Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer while reading Enduring Bones. This looks like a fun approach to discover something new in your writing with prompts. I find journal writing prompts can really get you started on days when you simple don't know what to write about. In case you aren't sure if you'd like the book, the website has six prompts you can download in pdf to try for free. Don't forget to read the Basic Rules to get the most out of the journal writing or creative writing experience.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The Unsent Letter

Another technique to use for personal journal writing is the unsent letter. This is a powerful tool to unload the weight of guilt, withheld emotion, deep-seated anger and many other troubles we carry in our lives. Just as you would sit and write a letter to a friend or a loved one, with this technique all you need do is address the person you have in mind.

Write their name at the top of the page, Dear .., and begin telling them the things you never could when face to face. It doesn't matter if the person you're addressing is actually no longer alive. I've found these kinds of unsent letters to be the most liberating.

The unsent part is important, too. If your letter is to someone who is in fact still living, chances are you do not want them to see what you’ve written, at this time. Writing the letter might be a good way to sort through your feelings towards them, or how you might later speak with them. The letter is one way of addressing what is the important part of your concern.

Several years ago I wrote an unsent letter to my father who, at the time, had been dead for some twelve years. Giving voice to the emotions I'd long suppressed released something inside me. I was able to grow out of that unsent letter writing experience. The fact I had it published multiple times just shows that several people felt the same way I did about my father.

I hope you will take the time to try this technique in your own journal writing time, too. Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photo used with permission from Stock.xchng

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Life Journal Software

If you've never heard of Life Journal and you're interested in keeping a journal at all, then it's about time you checked it out. Life Journal is simply journal writing software for your computer. Not only that, they have Life Journal for Writers, for Christians, for Educators & for Staying Sober. There's a free download to give Life Journal a try. If you prefer to use the computer to write journal entries I think you will really enjoy Life Journal. So, go take a look and see what you think.

Here's my Life Journal affiliate link. Don't feel you must use the link if you decide to buy the software. It would be a small bonus to me if you did, though. Thanks.

Photo use with permission from stock.xchng

Friday, April 10, 2009

Freaky Friday #4

Today is Friday and that means it's Freaky Friday. If you need to know more about this journal writing challenge please read Freaky Friday #1.

Today I came across an interesting book; 80. In this book 80 famous people write about turning 80. It's really quite fascinating. Use this idea and write in your journal about what you will have to say when you're 80. It doesn't matter what your age is right now, you can write as if you are 80 looking back over your life. I hope you try this journal writing challenge today.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Lunch at the Marina

It was a relaxing day for me today. Hubby and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Hillarys Boat Harbour, at Zeno's Café. Hubby had the chillie prawns and I tucked into the seafood platter. Delicious. After a stroll around the marina, & some window shopping, we had coffee and cake at another restaurant. I loved being with my man, catching the fresh sea breeze, and engaging in my other favourite hobby; people watching.

It started when I overheard tourists commenting about the white cockatoos sitting in the pine trees in the car park. The cockies dropped nuts, twigs and poop on top of every car, all the while squawking loudly. It was interesting to hear what the tourists had to say, especially in their German accents.

Even though it was supposed to be a date for us, it was also an artist's date. Hubby sketched the gulls, cockies and people around us. I soaked up the scent of the sea air and relaxed. Do you ever go on artist dates with yourself? If not, why not? Plan an artist's date & write about it in your journal.

Please leave any comments in the section below.

Photos are my own

Monday, April 06, 2009

Rereading Old Journals Part Two

The task of rereading your journals is best left to when you have some free time available. You don't want to be pressed to get them read between lunch and dinner if you're the cook, chief bottler-washer and have to get the kids bathed and to bed afterwards, too. Holidays are a great time for committing to rereading your journals. You should be able to really sink down into them, not be worried about what time dinner is on and have no plans to go out that night, either. The time you'll need to reread is another good reason not to let too many journals gather dust before you've gone through them looking for your gems.

If you suspect some of the material you'll read will dredge up unpleasant memories, emotions or leave you feeling too fragile, organise to have a support person to turn to later. You could ask a friend to call you on the phone that evening, watch a movie with a friend or partner, or just do something with another human being. Even if you know you're safe and nothing much happened over that period, it's still sensible to arrange someone to touch base with. You may feel overly vulnerable after going through some thoughts and issues you've otherwise forgotten about. Just seeing your real self on the page could also leave you with a sense of hopelessness, even mild depression.

In A Writer's Book of Days Judy Reeves suggests you arm yourself with highlighter pens and sticky notes for a rereading session of your old notebooks. I'd add a small notepad and/or your current journal, also. You certainly want to catch any ideas you have while rereading. Revisiting your journals is an experience you'll want to record in your current journal, too.

Select different colour highlighter pens for different the different areas you've covered in your journals. You might like to use pink for references to events as they happened, such as birthday celebrations, trips taken, your baby's first step and major world events. Perhaps green for the areas of real growth and progress; yellow for emotionally charged entries; blue for story ideas; and orange for poetry or personal essays. You get the picture. Just decide before you start and stick with it so you can easily locate the pieces again. You might like to use the sticky notes to flag the pages you decide need working into something more than a simple journal entry.

Expect to be delighted by yourself, to see spelling errors galore, to yawn over some of your more tiresome entries and to learn a lot more about yourself than you ever expected. Some issues will have been resolved and you'll feel tempted to glance over them. Try your best not to. Read again how you felt when you didn't know what you understand now. Take it to heart that you will also be able to come through next time you face a major issue or similar problem in your life. And look for patterns or issues that continually crop up again and again.

Certain themes begin to suggest themselves as you read your entries. These may be easily seen, but be prepared to dig deeper if such patterns aren't obvious to you at first. Take the opportunity to indulge in a few days of thought on this. These patterns and routes of your life may need some time to develop. Writing about it in your journal will help this process, too.

I hope these ideas help you when you embark on the journey of rereading your journals. Please share on this topic in the comments section below.


Rereading Old Journals

I wrote this entry originally for the A Creative Journal blog.

I spent the most part of today helping a friend sort through some junk. He's an old guy living in the same house for the last fifteen years. The junk didn't belong to him, though. His house mate had lived there even longer and had accumulated a collection of many different items, but sadly died before having a chance to sort through his possesions himself.

There were tools, electrical appliances galore, lots of things that might have once been useful, but had long since deteriorated and rusted or simply fell apart from exposure to constant sunlight each day out in the backyard. There were also plenty of useful items, too. It was all a matter of sifting and sorting, picking up one thing, turning it over to see what lay beneath, being systematic and thorough.

My husband disappeared into the black hole of the shed for hours while I checked out juicers, popcorn makers, crock pots and pressure cookers in the kitchen. I had a choice of several brands and styles. After making my selection of the best pieces there were many items still left for us to dispose of over the next couple of weeks. The family left earlier this evening with the job nowhere near finished.

On the drive home we sat in silence in the car, exhausted from our day of combing through the assorted paraphernalia, dust still in our nostrils and grime still under our nails. As the regular rhythm of the engine hummed I realised that sorting through that house was a lot like rereading old journals. Not only was it a major undertaking, but the task was one job that needed some kind of system. The treasures found inside the shed and the kitchen are like the excellent pieces hidden inside the covers of those handwritten journals.

There might be whole stories, personal essays and poetry to lift out, dust off, perhaps tune up a little or change the parts and send out for publication. There's lots of little bits and pieces that alone might not be anything much, but gathered together could become something quite substantial. Hubby came away with jars of screws and nails that he had to seek out from amongst other rusted and greased ones. And there was heaps and heaps of junk, just like the boring pages we complained about our weight, our kids or our neighbours.

Check back in tomorrow for some ideas on how to effectively reread your journals and not feel overwhelmed by the job.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Short Road Trip

Today the little guy, hubby and I went for a short road trip up the coast to a place called Two Rocks. We had a small repair done on the car yesterday and felt like giving it a good run. Also, the radio has been off the blink ever since hubby replaced a globe in the headlight. We eventually found what the code for it was, but had to wait for the thing to stop displaying err and show code instead.

The long drive did it. Just before arriving home we were able to push in the code and could finally listen to the radio, CDs and the tape player again. So the trip wasn't too boring we did take along a portable player. I took lots of photos, but most were a little boring to show. So instead I've shown the little guy in the park at Burns Beach where we stopped for lunch.

In the afternoon I was able to sit and have a coffee and write in my journal about the trip. There's something refreshing about getting out of the regular routine of life. I had a great journal writing session. Why not try doing something like this today, too? It would've been easy to refuse to go, but I was really glad I did. I hope you try changing your routine soon. It just might be what you need to get a new perspective on your journal writing, too.

Photo is my own

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Freaky Friday #3

Today is Friday and that means it's Freaky Friday. If you need to know more about this journal writing challenge please read Freaky Friday #1.

This week's challenge is to choose someone involved in the Easter story and write from their perspective about the unfolding drama. You may choose to be Jesus, Mary, a disciple, or any of the many others involved in the story. Remember this journal writing exercise is more about the person you choose to write about than the actual events as we know them. Try to get under this person's skin and see and feel what they might have at this time.

If you don't feel familiar enough with the Easter story read John chapters 18 - 20 in a New International Version of the bible or simply click on the link.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

365 Pictures Prompts

The amazingly creative people over at Creativity Portal have begun publishing their 365 Pictures Prompts. The really cool thing about these picture prompts is that you have created them. Each day there is a new photo and prompt to use in your journal writing or any way you feel. They still want your photos and prompts, too, so make sure you check out the call for submissions link and join in the fun. You'll get a link to your website or blog, so you'll get more exposure for your work.

Photo is my own