Breaking the Block with Journaling
Posted On April 14, 2020
Breaking the Block is a series on ways to get out of writer’s block.
Journaling is a good way to clear your head. Whether you have a lot going on in life or you’re just stuck on your story, writing it down can help. I prefer the old school method of journaling: a physical journal and pen, but any word processing app will do. They also have journaling apps.
When I journal, it’s usually personal. I start writing about my day or try to figure out what’s bothering me. I also like to a light a candle (SHE Candle Co. and Peacesake Candles & Co. both make amazing candles!). But you can put on your favorite show in the background or listen to some music. You can push yourself a little, but it’s important to relax and try to let the words flow.
For a personal prompt, I found this one from Thought Catalog’s list of 50 journaling prompts interesting:
- If you had a magic wand, and could wave away your problems, what would your life look like? What’s stopping you from being the wand?
Another side to journaling is stream of consciousness writing and free writing. Stream of consciousness writing is essentially when you’re journaling as your character. You’re embodying your character. You can focus on the part of the story where you’re stuck or you can take a scene or two back or a chapter or two back. It can help you look at things from a different perspective. Sometimes as writers we’re too busy trying to craft the perfect story and make it fit with our ideas. Treat your character like a real person. You can’t force real people to do anything. You can nudge your character in the right direction, but overall, let them lead. If you’re writing from a third person point-of-view, switch to first person for stream of consciousness.
More on stream of consciousness and published works written in that style – https://www.masterclass.com/articles/writing-101-what-is-stream-of-consciousness-writing-learn-about-stream-of-consciousness-in-literature-with-examples#6-examples-of-stream-of-consciousness-writing
Usually you free write based on a prompt, but if you’re stuck on a story or poem, I’m encouraging to write out any and all ideas related to it. Even if you know this idea won’t work or that idea doesn’t make sense, still write it down. Sometimes you just have to write out the ideas that are in your head to get to the good stuff. Writing any type of work and then editing said work (please edit your work, y’all!) is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you journal regularly, comment with your routines and prompts! Have you done any stream of consciousness work? Please share it!