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Three ways to unleash your inner journaler

Just the thought of starting a journal freezes some writers in their tracks. Maybe you’ve been there. You open the cover of your fancy journal and stop. You don’t want to write about what you ate for breakfast. You blank out on the blank page.

But journaling can reveal writing gems that lead to new stories, character ideas, or valuable insights. Journals can be a legacy for family. A bit of history.

Sometimes focus is the answer to thawing your writing muscles. These prompts or topics might be the answer to shape your journaling practice:

Write 100 words. Decide to write 100 words (or 125 or whatever word count you choose). Write like a madman or madwoman. Write with no regard to meaning, sounds, spelling, or common sense. Fling the words onto the page. Do it as a free write, timed write, or just write.

Choose a question or sentence and freewrite about it. This could be a question or theme you want to explore in your manuscript. An area you want to build out. When I was working on my MFA, I’d choose questions my advisors had asked about my creative work and use them as launch points for a writing session. I often found additional meaning that I could add to my work in progress.

Pick a theme. Consider choosing one angle to write about, such as gratitude or dream journal. In my last post, I wrote about the 5-Minute Journal created by John Caddell. In his free app, you can write about the most interesting thing that happened in your day.

Are you an avid journaler? Chime in with your journal-keeping practices in the comments below.

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