Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Multiplied Benefits of Journaling

Do you keep or have you kept a journal or diary? If so, you probably already know some of the benefits of journaling because you've experienced them. You know that your journal helps you make sense of the senseless side of your life. A journal can be an emotional lifesaver when you go through a hard time. But did you know that scientists believe journaling can even keep you physically healthy?

The release of pent-up emotions you pour into your journal every day actually helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis and asthma, and strengthens your immune system. This really makes sense if you consider that much illness is exacerbated by stress, and a journal is one of the best stress reducers out there.

Journaling gives you a record of your emotional growth like no other. While it can be useful at times to be able to look back and see just when your neighbor moved in or when you started suffering from headaches, the intangible changes in you can be even more fascinating to look back over.

When you take the time to face your feelings, you can make clearer, more well-informed choices. Take the time to list what you want and don't want in a career or a mate, and the choice will be easier to make when the time comes. Don't think that journaling is just about narrative prose, either. Lists, poems, jokes, things that strike you funny, and even sketches, all have a place in a journal.

A journal can help you work out problems in relationships. How? By constructively writing your feelings instead of tearing into that other person you can see the situation more clearly. You can see where perhaps you were somewhat in the wrong so that you can honestly offer an apology. You can also clarify just what the other person did that upset you. Sometimes in the heat of an argument, it is difficult to put your finger on the specific problem.

There is no better way to know your own values than writing honestly from the heart in your journal. It is really important that your journal is private and safe, that no one else will be seeing what you write. Get a locking diary if you have people around you who might pry. When you feel safe, you can honestly look at yourself and your feelings.

Journaling can be used in any way you need for your own particular situation. As stated above, if you are looking for a mate or trying to choose a career, you can record your honest feelings about those decisions in lists and free prose. If you wish to start a business of your own, a journal is a wonderful place to dream on paper. Don't worry if you look back over old writings and your ideas looked a little juvenile or unrealistic. The goal is growth, after all. You are simply growing.

Perhaps you are in a phase of life in which you have health goals. Your journal can be your greatest asset! Keep track of healthy meals you enjoy, or of types of exercise you master. By recording your goals, you will know when you have met them and are ready to move on to new ones. Do remember to make your goals bite-sized and objective. For instance, say, "I will do my Pilates video three times a week for a month" instead of "I will exercise more this month." At the end of the month, if you have kept a written record, you will know if you did the Pilates according to your goal.

This article is just scratching the surface when it comes to the benefits of keeping a journal. For stress reduction, goal setting, and understanding yourself, there is nothing like regular journaling.



Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at http://writesparks.com



If you want 3 writing *sparks* delivered to you every day for 31 days, check out WriteSparks!™ Daily HERE for info on how to get started -- it's free :o)Thank you for reading. Keep writing!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Getting Back to the Business of Writing

You're sitting at your desk, staring at a blank sheet of paper or a blank word document on the computer screen. You actually want to write, but just can't bring yourself to it. You have no clue what to do with your characters next, and they don't seem eager to tell you.





Or perhaps you have a deadline, but you're aimlessly typing random letters on the page, none of which seem to make sense, and you're getting more and more frustrated as every minute passes. That deadline that you have in two weeks seems to be coming round very quickly and, at this rate there is no way you are going to make it!


Whether you are experiencing this for the first time or for the hundredth time and you're at a loss as to what you should do, don't despair. You can consider yourself as having a case of writer's block or being stuck in a rut; it can and does happen even if you haven't been neglecting your work. Other writers experience this too.

Your muse needs to be fed, her energy recharged! So how do you do it? Staring at the screen is not going to help. In fact, it will make your situation far worse because the day will have passed before you know it! Here are some tips:

1. If you're going through a rough period, take a vacation. Taking a few days off from writing is sometimes necessary. At the end of this period, you are most likely to feel much better and more inspired. For many writers, this is the perfect time when a story idea pops into their mind and they begin percolating.

2. If taking a few days off isn't an option for you, take a short break. Get out of the house or your office for a few hours. Take your mind off your work by doing something different - watch a movie, go to a cafe,  meet up with a friend...just do anything that will take your mind off your writing for a while. This will give you a new perspective that you can take back to your computer later.

3. Write ten positive things about your writing skills on a piece of paper and put it on the wall above your computer. This will remind you just how good you are at what you do so it will give your confidence a boost.

4. Go on despite your mood. Don't let your feelings get in your way, but use them instead to help you in your work. If you are angry, perhaps it's time to write the fight scene you had in mind. Sad? It's probably a good idea to develop the break-up scene between your two main characters. You may never use this work, but at least you'll be writing.

5. Reread what you have already done. You may be stuck because you have lost your place in your writing so read what you've written and find your place again.

6. Accept the current difficulty as normal and necessary. You may not be able to feed your muse properly simply because you haven't accepted that stress is a normal part of your life, too. As a matter of fact, very often stress catalyzes our energies and pushes us towards the deadline.

7. Trust yourself. For many of us, the greatest enemy is the lack of confidence. You will not keep the momentum going unless you identify the negative source that causes your insecurity. You will feel much more inspired when you write without thinking of your insecurities.

8. Use your fear. Your fear will become your ally if you dare to face it. Endow your main character with the same fear you experience, and then let him or her deal with it. Only you can decide where fear is taking you. Just let go and write!

9. Celebrate yourself. You deserve all the self-respect you can take for your courage to commit to writing. There may be times when you may not feel like this at all, but remember that while you cannot control the respect you receive from others, you can influence the respect you feel for yourself.

Even the most seasoned and famous writers get stuck in a rut or get a bad case of writer's block at some point in their lives. If none of the suggestions work for you, just sleep on it. Getting a good night's sleep can rejuvenate your mind and give you a clean bill of mental productivity in the morning, as well as give you the ability to look for inspiration! That will soon cure your writer's block or get you out of the rut!



Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at http://writesparks.com



If you want 3 writing *sparks* delivered to you every day for 31 days, check out WriteSparks!™ Daily HERE for info on how to get started -- it's free :o)Thank you for reading. Keep writing!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Guest Post Wed: Creativity Jumpstart: Projective Identification

It's said that a problem or premise can be viewed from two distinctive points of view -- the observer viewpoint and the merged viewpoint. Today's creativity method focuses on the second viewpoint.
The merged viewpoint occurs when you become the object of the observation. You become the subject of your observation, and you observe from the point of view of your subject. This is referred to as projective identification.

Projective identification can be purely fantasy:

  • What's it like to be a potato about to become French fries?
  • How does it feel like to be a gum stuck in a shoe?
  • Imagine what it's like to be an ink cartridge.
Or it can be empathetic:

  • Seeing the situation through a laborer's eyes
  • Getting inside the skin of an AIDS victim
  • Being in the shoes of a chronically depressed person
For your creative activity today, write 2 short texts (100-200 words) using projective identification for the following:
Fantasy: What's it like to be a picture frame?
Empathetic: Being in the shoes of a petty thief.

Here's a list to try this creative method on. Write in the voice or perspective of the following:

  • a banana about to go bad
  • a woman unable to conceive
  • a spare tire
  • a harassed telephone operator
  • a Band-Aid
  • an owner whose business is about to go bankrupt
  • a blank diskette
  • a guy about to break up with his girlfriend
  • a computer keyboard
  • a woman about to give an answer to a marriage proposal

Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at http://writesparks.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Guest Post Wed: Out of Journaling Topics?

Journaling Topics -- They're All Around You!

Do you ever sit down with your journal and find yourself fresh out of ideas to write about? Virtually anything can be a journaling topic. If you are finding it hard to think of something to write about, here are some ideas that might get those creative juices flowing for you.

Pithy sayings
A never-ending source of ideas to write about are the wise words of others. You can find these statements anywhere. If you read the Bible or other inspirational literature every day, choose a statement, paragraph, or thought from your day's reading, and expound on it. What does it mean to you? How could you apply it in your own life? What changes might be required? What improvements might you see in your own situation if you applied the wisdom in the pithy saying to your own choices?
 
Nature
Are you near a window? A view to the outdoors can provide a myriad of writing possibilities. Even if all you can see is the sky, look for words to express what you see and how you feel about it. Is the day gray or sunny? Is it cool and rainy, hot and balmy, or frosty and clear? If you can see plant or animal life, get specific about what you see. Leathery brown oak leaves hanging tenaciously to a branch long after the other autumn leaves have made their downward journey? Sparrows squabbling over seeds in the bird feeder? There's much inspiration in a view out the window.
 
Unsent letters
Here's a topic for a very personal journal. Do you have feelings that are clamoring to be expressed, but they really wouldn't serve a good purpose if you gave them free rein? Pour out your feelings on paper. Whether it's a secret admirer sort of fantasy or a frustrated bawling out directed at your boss, letting those feelings out can make them easier to deal with in the future. It can also let you see just how unreasonable and unwarranted some feelings are, helping them to change. (If it makes you feel better, these journal entries can go through the shredder before someone sees them!)
 
Memories
What is your earliest memory? Write about your first pet, your first party outfit, or your first perm. Did you learn to ride a bike, skate, or swim? Was it scary? What happened? What accomplishments from your youth still make you glow with pride? How old were you when you learned about death? What happened and how did it make you feel? Have you ever witnessed a birth, either human, animal, or spiritual? Describe your observations and emotions. Even if you are relatively young, memories are a rich wellspring of journaling ideas.
 
Daydream a little
Where would you like to be in 10 or 20 years? What would be different in your life if you could have what you wish? Now make the exercise practical and think about what you need to start doing or stop doing now in order to see those dreams become a reality. For instance, if you dream of feeling great, you might need to stop smoking or start exercising now. If you dream of being in a meaningful relationship, you might need to start socializing more and stop being so critical of every person who comes your way. Write about your thoughts.

Journaling topics are all around you if you use your eyes, ears, and imagination. You can look outside at nature or inside at the items on your desk. You can mentally go back into the past or forward into the future. You can write descriptions of things or expressions of feelings. Try to combine the two for a special insight. For instance, maybe the tenacious oak leaves make you think of how hard it is to give up a broken dream. Connections like this can be found in some of the finest poetry and prose ever written.

Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at http://writesparks.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

5 Places You Can Find Writing Ideas

If you've ever struggled in coming up with creative ideas, welcome to the club. For most writers, discovering new writing projects involves conscious pursuit of their thought trails. But where do we start on our quest for inspiration? Here are a few places you can find new ideas for writing.


1. The world around you.
Just like a photographer, you must start looking at life through your own personal lens. You will get a tremendous amount of writing material if you start filtering your own experiences. Soon you will start noticing ideas everywhere around you. Very often the muse will come at strange times and from unusual sources, so be prepared. The world is full of surprises that can materialize in your next book or article.

2. Writers' associations and networks.
If you are a professional writer, you probably belong to an association or writer's group. Generating new ideas will feel much easier after meeting other members or attending writing workshops and conferences. You can also generate new ideas from subscribing to newsletters and discussion groups for writers.

3. Community
Although writing is an activity that you undertake by yourself, balancing your solitary experiences with group ones will give you a lot of new topics for you to write about. All you need to do is get involved in community's life -- perhaps by volunteering to care about the elders or counsel youngsters. Conversations usually have a lot of stories embedded in them, so one of the stories you hear may turn out to be that spark you need to get inspired.

4. Personal interests
Your own history as a person is certainly something worth writing about. Take a more personal approach and see what stories are embedded in your past experiences. For instance, if your life-long hobby has been looking at the stars, you can turn your passion into a book about watching the stars in a particular area. Or if you have had to adapt recipes daily because of a food allergy, you can focus on this topic and write about how you eat.

5. Family
People have weird things happening to them every day, you just need to pay attention to them. The adolescents in your family may get you thinking about anything from young love to social injustice once they start telling you about their experiences. You can also resort to pulling out the photographs at any time. Good times or sad times -- your writing ideas may simply pop out of some forgotten pictures of you as a child.

Certainly, you have more ideas than you imagine, but you need to learn to first notice them and then let them grow. Carrying a small notebook or pad with you will help you keep track of your ideas and before you know it, you will virtually be swamped with new creative projects.





Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at http://writesparks.com