There is no beginning too small.
— Henry David Thoreau said that.
Creative journaling is a practice, a habit, that will take you wherever you want to go, at whatever pace suits you.
The idea is to simply begin, and then keep making small beginnings, over and over again, until your journaling practice feels easy and natural.
You don’t have to journal every single day to get the benefits.
Committing to a daily practice before you’ve really begun can be a recipe for not doing anything it all. The project will seem too big, too daunting.
Instead, decide to begin afresh each time you go to your journal.
One thing I’ve learned as an artist and writer is that successful follow though on creative projects is a matter of beginning, over and over again.
Follow through and continuation are really nothing more than a series of small beginnings.
If you struggle with completion, turn it around. Make your process and practice about beginning. See what happens.
Journaling with Prompts
Facing the blank page can be intimidating. We wonder what to write, how to write, and whether or not it’s really useful.
Using a prompt is a great way to begin. And no matter how long you’ve been journaling, prompts can work as a kind to crowbar to get at deeper truths—especially when we write quickly, as fast as we can move our pen.
Our minds love to solve problems. When we give it a prompt to respond to, both our conscious and unconscious mind are activated to search for the “answers” to the questions that the prompts evoke.
Responding to Prompts in Your Journal
There is no right or wrong way to respond to prompts in your journal. You can respond to one prompt, or some, or all. Each day varies on the number of prompts that are given. Let it be easy. And be easy with yourself.
If you’d like to have some structure, especially if you are new to creative journaling, here’s an easy way to begin.
Write the date and the prompt at the top of your page.
Set a timer for two to five minutes. Start with small time increments if you’re brand new to all this. Write as fast as you can, without thinking, until the timer goes off. No timer? Five minutes is about a page of writing.
Respond to one prompt, keeping your pen moving as fast as possible, not editing or worrying about spelling or punctuation.
If you find yourself thinking, and not writing, then simply write out the prompt over and over until something else comes. The motion of pen on paper and hand moving will get you out of thinking.
The writing doesn’t have to be prose. Lists or mind-maps of words are perfectly fine.
When your timer goes off, either stop or keep writing if you find yourself in the flow and want to keep going.
Writing Prompts for You
The 30 Day Journal Project has hundreds of creative writing and journaling prompts freely available to anyone who would like them.
You can get a batch over on the 30 Day Journal Project page.
My one question for you:
What do you most want help with regarding your writing?
Share in the comments.