“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
— Flannery O’Connor
Fold the page.
You have opened your journal, pen in hand ready to finally get this journal writing practice underway. Maybe you’ve found a journal writing prompt that has really hit the spot and now you really want to get writing but your pen is hovering just above the crisp clean page frozen with the fear of the blank page and doubt because the page looks lovely as it is right? “So clean and untouched, it doesn’t need my random ramblings ruining it,” your inner critic yells.
Quickly fold it in half. By simply folding the page vertically, you literally just halved the problem. Now instead of a full blank page you have two skinny columns which are now a lot less intimidating. A bonus of using this technique is that it creates the nice column style used by magazines and newspapers.
Write down whatever comes to your mind first when I ask ‘Tell me about one of your highlights from the past 12 months?’ Don’t try and think about the most ‘worthy’ response, just write about whatever experience popped into your head first (you can always write about the other experiences later).
Write a love letter you will never send (or maybe you will).
Think of someone you feel gratitude/love/appreciation towards and write them a letter in your journal letting them know what they mean to you. Write whatever comes to mind in response to “Dear (Name), I would just like to thank you for…” or Dear (Name), Here are a few reasons why I think you are wonderful…”
Treat this more as a first draft with no need to edit and censor. Just enjoy letting them know (even if they will never read the letter) how much they mean to you and the reasons why you feel such appreciation. Write it in a simple list or in full paragraphs, whatever works for you. This trick is a good way to beat the blank page because a) it is a feel good thing to do and b) the focus is not on yourself.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Find a photograph, old or recent, or maybe even one of those photos that keeps being moved from one drawer to another because it never quite made it to being framed. Stick it into your journal and write as much as you can about the captured moment. Either because you were there or from what you have been told. Let your journal know who, what, where and when. Or if you have no information about the photograph at all, just make it all up. Let your imagination run wild making up a fantastical backstory.
Create a sacred space.
On a double page spread in your journal make a ‘Shrine to the Divine’ by adding inspiring images and prayers that relate to your own spiritual path or faith. Creating a simple portable sacred space you can open up whenever you need a few minutes of peace and contemplation.
This doesn’t have to be completed in one go, you could keep lovingly add to this double page spread letting it come together over time organically much like people do with sacred spaces in their homes. If you are not spiritual by nature you could adapt the imagery to someone you find inspiring and maybe add some of their insightful quotes.