I confess. On occasion I have found keeping a journal to be tedious. Sometimes on days when my mind is numb and overloaded from living in a very busy, pressured world, I am ambivalent about writing in my journal.
On those occasions when I do coax myself into writing when I’m not feeling motivated, I find that the writing has been valuable; I can be soulfully honest and my writing deepens. Still, it’s hard getting started–to find the energy and focus. What do you do on those I-kinda-wanna-write-but-I-kinda-don’t-wanna-and-I’m-not-sure-what-to-write-about-if-I-did-open-my-journal days?
I¹ve asked the LifeJournal content partners to a write a paragraph or two about what they would suggest in that situation. See their responses below.
And readers, let me know if you have suggestions or hints for trying to make the transition from a “not writing state” to a “writing” state. E-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to get your feedback.
You’ll also find two articles below: One clarifies some issues you may have with creating a new top-level Topic to the Topic List, and the other which tells you how to insert audio files into a journal entry.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Content partners Kathy Larson and Sheila Bender respond below to the question of how to help you start writing when you don’t feel like it.
Kathy Larson, content partner for LifeJournal for Educators reports:
When I have days where my mind is like a fine gold necklace that was stored in a jewelry box and has multiple knots to untangle before wearing, I almost have to write in my journal because the thoughts keep coming back and my distractions about the day keep me from doing anything else.
I start by bulleting every thought that I’ve been thinking. I just let the “knots unwind” through the bullet points. I stop myself from wanting to elaborate on each one, I just put them down in the order they appear in my thoughts. It’s really a “mind note taking”…as the thoughts come, I bullet them in the order they come.
Sheila Bender, the content partner for LifeJournal for Writers, writes:
Writers very often don‘t know what they want to write so much as they are curious to find out what they have said once they have written. Even with a compelling curiosity, they still must overcome the inertia of going from a “not writing” state to a “writing” state.
Using prompts and trusting what springs to mind in response is an excellent strategy for making the transition. In this way, writers get at “things slant,” as Emily Dickinson is famous for advising us that we must [write] if we are to find what is at the bottom of our hearts and minds. When I use prompts I like, I trust that my insight will surface if I am not looking directly at it, but rather at a strategy for writing.
One such strategy is writing down an admonishment I heard often as a child, who said it, where we were and what happened a particular time that I heard it. When I use prompts, I take an unintended journey–which puts a much more motivating spin on that “I don’t know what I’d write about if I wrote” mood. Soon, seeking the adventure of finding out what I’ll write overcomes my inertia and before I know it, I am feeling pleased with myself and interested in what I have to say.
To create a new top branch or top level topic, click the “new” button at the bottom of the Topics sidebar in the journal entry. Enter the new topic name and check the “make top branch” option. You’ll see the new top branch topic appear alphabetically below another top branch topic.
Next, right click on the top branch topic that you have just created and select “add new” from the submenu. Enter the name of a subtopic to the top branch topic that you have just created and click the “OK” button. You’ll note that the “+” sign now exists to the top branch topic that you have created.
Inserting Audio Files
Q. Can I insert audio files into the journal like links to music files and can I insert audio recordings that I have created with other hardware tools?
A. Yes, you can insert links to any files, including audio files. Open a journal entry, go to the Insert>Hyperlink>Link to File. Browse to the music file that you’d like to insert. The link will appear in the journal entry. Click the “Ctrl” key when you click the link and the music will begin.
“One thing that’s good about procrastination is that you always have something planned for tomorrow.”–Gil Stern
“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.” –T. S. Eliot
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