Start 2018 the 'Write' Way

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It is a new year, with new ideas, new goals, new resolutions.  Working with women in Stronger than Espresso the last five years I have found that writing and journaling can be an excellent way to heal, set goals and create measurable change in the lives of survivors.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tips and things I love about journaling.  Just recently I found an old journal from 2011 and I discovered so many themes, ideas and seeds that were born in that journal that have grown into something alive today.

TIPS for journaling

  • Dedicate a book for your journaling. It can a sketch book, inexpensive compensation book, spiral notebook or decorative journal.
  • Be Spontaneous. Write freely, don’t edit your writing.
  • Jot down a few words or a few pages.
  • Draw images, word pictures, whatever comes to mind.
  • Create a special setting for your writing.
  • Light some scented candles, use essential oils, or fresh air.
  • Write slowly. Let the moment fill you.
  • Make a writing date with yourself and stick to it.
  • If you are in an emotional crisis or simply overflowing with feelings, carry your book with you. Use it throughout your day. Fill as many pages as you need.
  • You may have a special challenge, issue or event you want to address.
  • Celebrate and honor your life’s turning points in writing.
  • Days or weeks later reflect back on your writing and look for patterns.
  • Date your entries.

Journaling consists of many techniques and writing exercises.   Here are some journal therapy techniques:

Sprint: In the sprint technique, catharsis is encouraged by writing about anything for a designated period, such as for five minutes or for ten minutes.

Lists: In the list technique, the writer writes any number of connected items in order to help prioritize and organize.

Captured Moments: In the captured moments technique, a writer attempts to completely describe the essence and emotional experience of a memory.

Unsent letters: The unsent letters technique attempts to silence a writer’s internal censor.

Dialogue: In the dialogue technique, the writer creates both sides to conversation involving anything, including but not limited to, people, the body, events, situations, time etc.

Feedback Loop (Reading Aloud): The feedback technique is important to journal therapy, in that feedback (reading aloud) makes the writer aware of his or her feelings.

 From Woman’s Book of Changes ©1998 Tools With Heart, LLC

JOURNALING PROMPTS FOR ADULTS

1. Free write (no instruction…whatever comes to mind)

2. COMPLETE THE SENTENCE

  • I feel…
  • If you really knew me…
  • I am…
  • I believe…
  • I want you to know…
  • Where I am…
  • Where I’m going…
  • My story…
  • Things that make me smile…
  • If my body could talk…
  • Things I’d like to say YES to…
  • Things I’d like to say NO to…
  • The words I need to hear…
  • What brings me joy…
  • My physical needs…
  • My emotional needs…
  • I wish someone knew that…
  • Today I’m grateful for…
  • Today I’m afraid that…
  • Today I’m angry about…
  • Today I need to remember…
  • Today I plan to change…
  • Today I am happy that…
  • If anything were possible, my life would look like…
  • Today I open my heart to…
  • Today I give myself permission to write about anything…
  • Tomorrow I will imagine…
  • Tomorrow I intend to…
  • I would rather…
  • I will shift my point of view to live more fully by…
  • WHO I AM - Today I am/Yesterday I was/I am becoming…
  • The parts of myself I show to others…
  • The parts of myself I hide from others…
  • My authentic self is…
  • What the present moment offers me is…
  • What’s going on right now is…
  • I feel seen and heard when…
  • THREE BLESSINGS: One good thing that happened today/How it happened/Why it happened…
  • Gratitude Letter…

3. STRUCTURED WRITING

  • Write a 1-page personal biography focusing on your strengths.
  • Write about a time you were strong.
  • Write about something you overcame.
  • Choose a quote and have participants write a response to it.
  • Write an “Unsent Letter” to someone…or to yourself.
  • Write a “Love Note(s)” to yourself.
  • Write a Prayer.
  • Write a Poem.

From A Window Between Worlds 2016.

Rick Jones