Journaling With Words

Shocking, isn’t it? That you can use words to journal? Way back when the earth was cooling, we all journaled in words, but art journaling brought a rush of color and a frisson of texture, and we drifted away from words. Let’s go back. It’s more intuitive than you might think, I promise.

Grid, started.

1. Open your journal, smooth down a page you want to write on. Take a deep breath.

2. Freehand two vertical lines to divide the page into 3 columns. Use a pencil or pen, do not use a ruler or try to make it perfect. Make it roughly even.

3. Draw two horizontal lines to divide the page into 3 rows. Your page will now have 9 spaces.

4. In each space, write a word about yourself. A trait, a way you are. You can write it anywhere, you can use any handwriting. All the words must be true, and they must all be kind. No sniping at yourself in this exercise.

5. Color choice: Use a color that you think is perfect for that trait or description, and color in the space. It doesn’t matter if the colors match or blend. Just see what happens.

6. Writing choice: In the box, write a sentence or two about why this characteristic serves your creativity. See what you think of. If you run out of space, turn your journal sideways and create the same grid on the adjacent page. Continue writing in the same grid on the other page.

When the page is full, look at it and see how much truth you have discovered about yourself. Small exercise, big result. Are you surprised at who you are?

Quinn McDonald is a life- and creativity coach. Join her at Barnes + Noble at Desert Ridge (Tatum and the 101, Phoenix, AZ) October 6, 2011 (Thursday) at 7 p.m. to try a different technique–and to get your book signed!


14 thoughts on “Journaling With Words

  1. Pingback: Blogtalk: Characterizing Yourself, NaNoWriMo, Free Memoir Writing Conference, and Creating Inspiration – Writing Through Life

  2. I had to read the instructions twice as, at first, was inclined to write negative traits about myself. By only using “kind” words it gave me an opportunity to see positive aspects of me that created an uplifting experience!
    Thank you!

  3. Pingback: Blogtalk: Characterizing Yourself, NaNoWriMo, Free Memoir Writing Conference, and Creating Inspiration — Writing Through Life

  4. I was so totally taken by this idea that I got out my brand new 12″x16″ totally blank moleskin journal and created away. I thought that I was at the front of the book, but in actuality I was in the back of the book, and upside down! But that did not matter as I did not have any specific orientation in mind. Go here to see my interpretation of this post: Quinn, I see the problem with you getting to my site: I mistyped creatrix as creatirx!

    • Love the way you made the grid pop with color and turning the words. Doesn’t matter what side you start on in a blank book. I once drew a map upside down in a journal, and titled it “The world turned upside down.” That worked, too.

  5. Quinn,
    I laughed at your intro to words shockingly being in our journals, since most of my journal entries are all words. 😉 I love this idea of describing yourself, and then using color to embellish. The focus on how our personalities contribute to our creativity is eye-opening, revealing, and validating!

    I have chosen your post, Journaling with Words, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day on 10/5/11 for all things journaling on Twitter. I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog and website Refresh with Dawn Herring, and in Refresh Journal:

    You’re welcome to join us for #JournalChat Live on Thursdays at 4 CST/2 PST on Twitter; this week our topic is how our journaling changes over time as we change.

    Thanks again for such a cool and colorful journaling exercise!

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    JournalWriter Freelance
    Host of #JournalChat Live and Links Edition on Twitter

    • I would love to join you on Journal Chat–but I’m teaching on this Thursday. Different class than last time, but same inability to connect to Twitter. I’d love to join you, however, and am glad you found meaning in my blog–enough for your Pick of the Day. What an interesting topic–how journaling changes us over time, and how our journaling changes. Of course, I believe it’s because we engage in meaning-making and as we make meaning, we change, and that changes our perspective, too. Enjoy the JournalChat!

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