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Journaling Mini-Course: To Be a Writer You Must Write

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

I so often hear from scrapbookers that they struggle with journaling because they “are not writers”. The most powerful advice I’ve ever received is this: to become a writer, write.

On the surface it sounds so simple, but I know it can be a challenge. What this really means is that to feel more comfortable writing, you need to cultivate the habit. You need to develop a routine that gets you writing regularly. You must practice.

Nurturing the habit of writing is not about creating publishable pieces every single day. Consider the analogy of learning an instrument. Every song you play for practice is not worthy of a concert all and it doesn’t need to be. You practice to improve your skills so that you may use and share them, later.

Through practice, you can develop the ability for words to flow more naturally when you want to journal on your scrapbook pages. There is one tried-and-true method of practice you’ll hear many creatives discuss: morning pages.

The premise, developed by Julia Cameron and explained in her book The Artist’s Way, is to write three long-hand pages each morning as a creative warm-up. It is not intended that you will craft elegant prose, but rather you will shake off the burdens of your mind and center yourself for a new day.

Assignment

Designate a simple notebook to initiate a two week experiment with morning pages. While tools like OhLife and computers in general can help you write faster, I want to encourage you to experience the full benefit of this practice by hand-writing with a pen on paper.

  • Have you tried morning pages before? What was the result?
  • What kind of notebook did you choose? Any special reason?
  • What challenges do you see getting in the way of your experience? How can you overcome them?

Further Discovery

Morning Pages – Video explaining the purpose of morning pages.
An Experiment – Testimonial to the benefits of morning pages.

19 Responses to Journaling Mini-Course: To Be a Writer You Must Write

  1. Cate April 7, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    I loved morning pages, but got out of the habit with ill health and busy children. I used a composition notebook (a rare commodity in Australia, but the most perfect size) covered with a beautiful, hoarded piece of paper (my favourite one was from EPs everyday eclectic range)

  2. Geri April 7, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I’ve never heard of morning pages but am looking forward to giving this a try

  3. Deanna Ridgway April 7, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    I know Jennifer Blanchard found clarity in all aspects of her life with morning pages, but it seems that as a blogger & writer, this exercise would be most helpful to someone who NEEDS to write and cannot afford to have writers block. I very rarely have trouble journaling – most often it is trying to keep it short. I guess for me, I only scrapbook that which has a story to tell. So would this exercise be helpful for someone like me, who isn’t a writer and doesn’t struggle with having something to write about?

    • Jennifer Wilson April 7, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      I think it’s helpful for different reasons. Learning to get what’s in your head down on paper quickly without edits can be a foundation for learning how to better edit yourself especially if being succinct is not a strength. It might also help you express yourself in more meaningful ways as you practice exploring unfiltered feelings.

  4. SaBineK. April 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    I write morning pages but never three sites a day. I write todo lists, questions coming in my mind, little stories from yesterday. I think everyone must do what helps to write ones thoughts down.
    I take a notebook with me 24/7 a day. It´s always an old spiral notebook from my kids. Write the date first and than write down all what´s coming in your mind would be helpful. Than I add all from that day. Finish the day with a line and write the date from tomorrow. And so on…

  5. Deanna Ridgway April 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    SaBineK, thank you for sharing that. I think I would use it more like you do, writing when I have lots going on in my mind. Do you find that doing this helps you find clarity in your life? That it helps to keep you sane? I know that Jennifer Blanchard said that when she stopped doing her morning pages, she found that her life was out of control. I am striving for clarity and “saneness” and am willing to try this to see if it helps. Just wondering if doing it the same way you do – during the day when I “need to” – has done this for you. Thanks again for sharing!

    • SaBineK. April 8, 2014 at 5:36 am #

      It find clarity in my life for sure. On the evenings I often read over what I´ve written through the day and I often find some advices, those who helps me to clear my mind, make decisions or lists for the next day. Next morning I ignore them and write what´s coming in my mind, than I read it over. Sometimes I have add sth to the list from the evening, sometimes I write sth like a diary entry or a story (but then I switch often to the computer because it´s faster to write – today I wrote down three stories from my childhood coming up in my mind because I read an complete independent article from Jennifer she had written in 2013). I sometimes write more than three sites over the day altogether.

  6. Gina April 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    I’m going to give this a try. It sounds like a really interesting idea and I’ve been wanting to journal but never know what to write about. Just writing whatever comes to my mind sounds like something I can do – without the pressure of it being a “journal entry”. I was just going to use a 6×8 sized spiral notebook. Is there any significance to the 3 pages?

    • Jennifer Wilson April 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

      I see 3 pages as long enough to get your brain working and short enough to not take a lot of time.

  7. Lorie B April 8, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    With my work schedule not being the same from one day to another, I don’t know that I’ll be able to do 3 pages each day. Some mornings I go to work very early, and I don’t want to have to set my clock to get up even earlier. I hope it is okay to just do what I can depending on the day. I like the idea of just getting thoughts out of my head, and ready for the day awaiting me. :)

    • Jennifer Wilson April 8, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      I think it’s most important to set an intention of practicing your writing, no matter what time you do it or how you go about it, then following this exercise exactly.

  8. Cindy B April 8, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Finding a notebook right now so I can start this challenge tomorrow morning!! I HOPE I can make it for 2 weeks.. I am so NOT a morning person at all!!!!

  9. Francine Seal April 8, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    I never could write 3 long-hand pages when I read The Artist’s Way. Now I’m doing two things – OH LIFE which keeps me up with what has gone on each day because I’m more likely to respond to an email than just sit down and write and Word Press’s Daily Prompt. I just started the Daily Prompt on the first of April but I’ve managed to actually post something on my blog everyday.

  10. Angela April 20, 2014 at 5:40 am #

    Francine,

    I just discovered WP’s Daily Prompt and am wondering if you feel it’s personally fitting into your schedule nicely?

  11. Angela April 20, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    I’m going to give this a shot!:) Thank you for offering this mini. I am looking for something more concrete than what I am doing now.

    Looking forward to it!

  12. Francine Seal April 20, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    Angela,

    The only problem I have with WP Daily prompt is that I’m also trying to do the Blogging 101 from Zero to Hero as well. I’m getting so many hits, with no comments that it’s taking me hours to at least look at the other blogs.

    But that’s the problem with blogs – you have to look at other blogs to see what others are doing to learn what to do with yours to target it for the audience you want.

    And I’m not sure how to grab my audience ’cause I don’t know what audience I want.

  13. Suzana April 30, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    First at all, I apologise about my english, as I’m Brazilian and don’t practice very much. I’ll try morning pages, at least four times a week (including weekends) because in 3 of the mornings my work doesn’t let me write in the morning. I love to write and want to get better!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Free Mini-Course: The Art & Practice of Journaling - Simple Scrapper - April 19, 2014

    […] To Be a Writer, You Must Write […]

  2. Free Mini Journaling Course | Scrapbooking | CraftGossip.com - May 5, 2014

    […] Wilson from Simple Scrapper discusses scrapbook journaling in this mini course. If you need help with your writing, go take a look. She shares a writing technique that could […]

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