Journal Writing Prompt #1

 

Hi and welcome. This prompt, because it is the first one, will be at least two fold. The first part of it is to go to the comments section below and tell me your experience with keeping a journal. Have you done it, in the past? Are you doing it now? Why are you interested at this time? What do you hope to gain from the experience? And, perhaps most important, what do you feel about doing it at all?

This is not an idle task. It will help me to know how to proceed. With that in mind, I’d like to tell you a bit about my own journal writing experience. I started making my mark when I was four years old, lol. At that age, I simply didn’t want anyone to forget who that cute little girl, with all those bright curls, was. To do that, I went in search of a ball point pen and wrote my name in black block letters, at the bottom of the professional photographer’s portrait my parents had on display. It was my first experience at learning that writing can get you in trouble.

I am two years old in this photo. But, that experience made a deep impression on me, because only months later, my entire world, including my appearance was changed in one moment. My wonderful curls were shaved off, I acquired a large scar on the side of my head, and my hair grew back in several shades darker, while the curls disappeared to be replaced with waves that went in all different directions.

It was not until years later, when I actually learned how taking notes is an incredible boost to memory.  I started doing that before I turned thirty. Would simply feel the urge to write some experience down, grab a notebook and do just that. I was not methodical by any means, but still possess a lot of those odd notebooks. Some cover only a few weeks of time, others months.

About twenty-five years ago, I began to write on a daily basis. There is a period of eleven months, since then, when the pages remain blank and empty, but, otherwise, those pages cover my daily experiences. And continue to do that into the present moment. After college, and because of a chance meeting, I began to teach Personal Growth Classes Through Writing. My first class was at the University from which I graduated and was done with a group of teachers seeking certification for ongoing teaching credits.

Retired on disability, I started this blog with the hopes of sharing what I know and have gained through maintaining a regular journal regimen. So, these prompts are a natuaral step in my own process. With all of that in mind, here are the rules: There Are None.

This is your journal, your private dialogue with your own person. You make the choices, and my only advice is to make them as comfortable for yourself as possible. At the same time, be aware that all things are open to change. My journal has changed over the years, due to circumstances and personal choices. I used to write it out long hand on loose leaf paper kept in a three ring binder. Those binders, kept in my library, span over fifteen years of my existence. Now it is done on this computer, printed out each day, with a back-up copy as part of the process, I have found best for me.

Here comes the second part of the prompt. Through this next week, make notes on the beginnings you have experienced over your life time. It would be wise to keep them together in some fashion because we will go back to these notes in later prompts. The notes do not have to be any particular form or structure. If you prefer phrases with dashes, by all means use them. They do not have to be in any particular chronological order (that may come later, but can create a block here at the beginning). If you would rather write in full sentences with structured paragraphs, again, that is your choice. Simply try to do some of it each and every day. You may use the word beginnings or firsts. Simply make notations of as many of them as come to mind through the coming days.

Here is a list of possibilities: beginning school, dating, college, marriage, jobs, career, writing, hobbies and particular interests. But, again, the emphasis here is that these are personal notes. You will not be asked to share them with anyone, unless you choose to do so. If anything you find does become something you want to share, please come back and leave your blog addie here in the comments section. I, for one, would definitely be interested in whatever you choose to share.

If you have questions, find any problems in responding to the prompt, that is what the comments section is for. If you prefer to keep it more personal, my email address is lilka1946@yahoo.com

Whatever you do, have fun with it. Keep yourself comfortable and have an exciting and fruitful week.

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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26 Responses to Journal Writing Prompt #1

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Journal writing

    Never done for more than a few days during my entire existence, except for two life-changing experiences: the first, our two years pre-retirement living and working in Seychelles. Four closely written journals, written with such care turn and turn about by Jock and me, with the aim of writing about our experiences at a later date. They contained a great many firsts.
    Hmmm. We’ve moved so many times since then and the precious journals are nowhere to be found.

    I also kept a journal of the building of our present house – mainly photographic, with day by day photographs of progress – but words on paper fill a loose-leaf binder as well. I haven’t looked at it since!

    ViV

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Viv, so glad to see you here. That’s a great idea: to write a journal with someone, like carrying on a conversation on paper. You call them precious, they must have been important to you. And I’m sorry they got lost in the shuffle. But, what a memory you created.

      I like photos and use them in my journals occasionally. But find that the writing has more dimensions to it, details that aren’t captured in the images.

      Thanks for joining in,

      Elizabeth

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  2. For me, the journal and the sketchbook have intermingled. As a visual artist I never thought of myself as a writer. Because of a trauma in my life, and my life fell apart, I began to write. It all began with Walruses, and sailing ships…. I kept my journals pretty faithfully…..now it seems more scattered. For every idea, I seem to reach for my journal, and for working out ideas. I do think it is such a good practice, in so many ways. There was a wonderful article in Ode, magazine, Oct. 2010, about the benefits of keeping a journal…..I am excited to be working with your prompts! Thanks

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    • 1sojournal says:

      And thank you for being here. I have the URL to that article you sent me and will post it next week for everyone to read. It felt like ‘coming home’, to read it.

      I’m glad that you mention the visual art in conjuction with the writing. Creativity seems to engender more creativity, and my journal is a great source of a lot of the other writing I do, as well as the working out of other creative projects, many of which find their beginnings in my daily pages with a phrase or a question.

      So glad you joined us,

      Elizabeth

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  3. Mary says:

    I kept handwritten journals at different times in my life, mostly many years ago. There would be long lapses in which I would write nothing. Then I would at some point find the journal and begin again. Eventually it would just sit. I still do have these books.

    What I enjoyed most of all, as I remember, was journal writing in the style of Hugh Prather. Brief reflections. I still own three of his books. I remember wanting my journals to be neat, but as I wrote sometimes I would change my mind and need to scratch something out. This irritated me. Thankfully, in the age of computers, making corrections is easy; and one’s work can always look ‘neat.’ Long and short of it, however, is I haven’t ‘officially’ journaled (I always think ‘going into my deepest parts’) in years, though I have read books on how to do it and thought about the questions asked, etc. In recent years, my poetry is what records my life. I consider that a kind of journal. Sharing my poetry publicly is a new thing for me, though I have kept my poetry blog for a while just for me and a limited few.

    I do, however, have a ‘journaling blog’ of sorts, which records various life experiences with photos, etc. Day to day doings. A bit of philosophizing. Only a few people have access to it by my design.

    Anyway, I am interested in this…just to see where it goes / I go. Not sure how it will work into my routine with kid care responsibilities and other stuff, as I have limited time. We’ll see.

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Mary, we again, seem to have a lot in common. I simply kept pieces of writing in odd notebooks, periodically, and for a long time felt that my poetry was a sort of record, as you mentioned. However, I found that my journal becaume a rich source that fed the poetry, expanded it, and allowed me try new and different things. And although there are some that think this is my journal, this blog is written to a public audience, and my journal is private, although again, it is often the impetus to what I do write here. Actually, because my journal is private, it helps me sort out those things I consider okay for public consumption.

      You mention that you think of journaling as going into your deepest parts. I would agree with that completely. My journal is the one place I can say whatever I choose and not have to worry about what anyone else might think or say about it. I believe it is both mentally and emotionally necessary to provide myself with such a place, for my own health and well-being.

      And like you, one of the main reasons I finally switched over to the computer was because printed, I can still read what I have written, and not spend a lot of time scratching my head and trying to figure it out. Neatness is a very good thing, lol.

      Thank you for joining in and we all have schedules of one sort or another. Take part when you can, we’ll be happy to see you at any time.

      Elizabeth

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  4. vivinfrance says:

    I agree with you, Mary, about the poetry blog: mine mostly reflects my life, though I do branch out occasionally. And,though not journaling in the strictest sense, my wartime memoirs constitute life-writing from my earliest years. We were encouraged to do Virginia Woolfe-type morning pages when I was studying, but it didn’t really gel with me. I’ve just remembered that I did do a kind of journal when I did a short meteorology course, but it was mostly weather, and some of that has found its way into my weather and seasons poetry.

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  5. 1sojournal says:

    Hi again Viv, and I commented already to what Mary said about her poetry writing. I’m glad that both of you find that richness there. And yes, your war-time writings are memoirs, and again, they are aimed at public consumption. Much of what we will do here is private, a means of getting rid of some of the extra baggage and garbage we all carry around with us.

    Have you ever read Kathleen Norris’ book “A Cloister Walk”? In it she suggests writing an emotional weather report and does some of that in poetic form. It’s a wonderful way to develop metaphor. Your meteorology course would certainly add a deeper dimension to such an undertaking. It is also a great way to creatively let off steam on a “Hurricane” day.

    Elizabeth

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  6. Mary says:

    Elizabeth, you said above that what we will do is private and a good way of getting rid of the extra baggage we have. I have two viewpoints on this. One says yes, this is true. Write about the baggage. It is good for you. It is cleansing!

    However, another of my viewpoints is that if you go picking around in the baggage, who knows what you will find? Also, sometime I think the best way to ger rid of baggage is to move on and leave the baggage behind.

    Anyway I am of two minds.

    Mary

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    • 1sojournal says:

      I hear you and sort of agree. My problem is that when I walk away and leave it, it invariably comes back and bites me in the butt when I least expect it to. And whether we deal with it or not, it truly does become a part of who we are, whether we are aware of it or not,

      Elizabeth

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  7. Mary says:

    Viv, I do enjoy reading your childhood war memoir!

    Mary

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    • vivinfrance says:

      I’m glad, Mary. Although aimed at a very young readership, there must be people of the in between generations who never knew the kind of life experiences which crowded my early life.

      Like

  8. vivinfrance says:

    Gosh, Elizabeth. You’ve really started something. I sat down to make a start on the second part of your prompt. Two hours and 1500 words later, I have a collection of Firsts, one of which absorbed me totally and I realised was not going to be satisfied with brief notes. Shoulders aching, I was delighted to stop and drink the cup of tea so opportunely brought to be by my dear husband. More tomorrow.
    ViV

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Viv, oh wow! That sounds great Viv, but you gotta save some for next week, lol. We may have to put you on a timer, can’t have you all scrunched up and achy, now can we. On the other hand, I’m glad you found so much, that means you’ll have more to work with later, and I did say somewhere, a bit each day.

      It has to do with the way our minds work. When we open a door, to a word or an idea, the mind works to throw any and all associative factors at us, and as long as we are receptive, it will keep right on doing that.

      I had very little inclination to do this first prompt, as I’ve done it quite often, but my mind has a mind of its own. While looking for something on another prompt, I came across some writing I did years ago. It has to do with beginnings and with why I choose to write daily. I have posted it on the side bar of this present page, uder the Pages heading. It is titled “A Yellow Brick Road to Synchronicity.” I will warn you, it is lengthy but it might help you to understand what drives me to do some of the things I do. All of you are invited to read it if you like. I particularly put it up here for just that reason.

      Thanks again,

      Elizabeth

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  9. Mary says:

    I will take a look at Yellow Brick Road to Synchronicity a bit later today if I have time. I just returned from Hawaii on Tuesday morning, got back into my routine here, watched granddaughter yesterday, celebrated daughter’s bd last night, have both grandchildren today (which is not relaxing or time-freeing- LOL). Have written a few poems. Plan to journal this weekend. (instead of a little each day. LOL.) Considering the poem I wrote recently about Yellow Brick Road, I will be especially interested in your writing. And I appreciate all of your efforts here!

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  10. 1sojournal says:

    Thanks Mary. Although I do journal every day, I don’t expect everyone to do the same. It is my habit, because I have a tendency to simply drop things and forget about them. Then come back weeks later and go, “Oh shit, why didn’t I continue?” Because now the impetus is gone and whatever originally fueled has faded to that famous back forty.

    My Yellow Brick Road experience is different and not a necessarily fun read. But, I asked all of you to write about beginnings, and I don’t want to ask anyone to do something I won’t and haven’t done myself. I also think it was no accident that I found it at this time. Glad you are interested and am certainly enjoying what is happening here.

    Elizabeth

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  11. Like you, Elizabeth, I’ve kept a journal for many years with an occasional hiatus. Mine focuses on my spiritual and emotional journey rather than events like a diary might. It helps me get things in perspective.

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    • 1sojournal says:

      And mine is a mixture of both, or should I say all? There are days when I write about a single concept, working it out, there on the page, and if I can’t find a conclusion, there is always another page. There are also days when I simply detail my activities and my responses to those things and people I encounter. Some pages are filled with poetry, others with emotional reaction. And many times, those pages find there way into other writing and my journal because a wealth of inspiration. And I so agree with you. All of that helps me get and keep things in perspective.
      Thanks for commenting,

      Elizabeth

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  12. Elizabeth, I kept a journal when I was in high school. The oddest things stick out – like how outraged I was that gas was going to hit 50 cents a gallon! Where I was at the moment President Nixon resigned, along with my toast shared with the whole bar.

    As a manic-depressive also living with PTSD, my poetry is my journal, as well as various prose about my memories of my funky family. I’m so glad you are encouraging others to do this.

    You have been on a rough journey of late, and this project will, in my mind anyway, be a source of healing and good will. Amy Barlow Liberatore

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Amy, I am very familiar with PTSD, and like you my poetry is a sort of journal, as well. But, then the majority of my writing is personal. I think I am engaged in writing a life-long memoir, but don’t let me know that or I might run away and hide, lol.

      My journey has had several bumps in it of late, but I am still trying to catch up to what has really taken place. It seems like a really big thing, yet not, somehow. I do believe all the writing is why that is so. The thoughts and emotions are immediately addressed and that makes a world of difference. And I do agree with you about the projects I have begun, and am looking forward to being in the midst of them.

      Thanks for your comments and thoughts.

      Elizabeth

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  13. Short Poems says:

    I enjoyed reading your childhood memo…great work!

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  14. ana says:

    I began keeping a journal when I was about 12 years old. I’ve kept one off and on ever since. Mostly, now I just write all my crazy adventures in my emails to friends.

    Loved the childhood memory and adorable photo!

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    • 1sojournal says:

      ana, I very recently had to go back and check on something that happened last Dec. Went to my journal and got all the information I was looking for. One of the most basic advantages of keeping a journal is the ability to go back and check out the facts. They were all there and helped me decide how to proceed in the present moment. I find that invaluable. Thanks for commenting and yes, I think she was a bit of a cutie, myself, lol.

      Elizabeth

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