When you write for yourself the title of what you’re writing is important. It doesn’t always come to you right away but you are certainly welcome to come up with a title and let it lead what you're writing on a particular day.  It’s a fun thing to do and since I'm all about the fun,  I recommend trying it for fun.   But for now,  if that idea puts you in a state of paralysis, leave the title to the end. 

And just so you know?  I’m not going to tell you how to confront the perfectionist in you; instead I’m going to give you ideas to help you JUST WRITE.  If you're here because you want help with your perfectionism, you can hire me as a life coach.  *wink*

When you set up shop to do your personal writing I suggest you: 1) write when no one is home, 2) pick a place that feels good, 3) play music softly to relax you, or 4) light a scented candle if you’re writing at the end of a busy day. By all means bring something yummy with you.  I wouldn’t pick a messy food if I were you or you’ll damage the pages of your journal.  :-)

OK. Let’s get started.

Here are three broad ideas that will help stimulate the writer in you immediately.

1. When you are feeling crappy, write about what makes you laugh.
Sometimes it helps to imagine a scene before writing about it. Now not everyone meditates and I can’t possibly teach you meditation techniques right now but imagine yourself laughing. When was the last time you laughed? Why were you laughing? Who were you laughing with/at? If you’re too pissed off to use the power of visualization to bring a memory to surface,  imagine something that has the power to make you laugh: a child’s giggle, your uncle’s dry jokes, or grandma farting at Easter dinner two years ago - in her white gloves!  You can do this, I promise you!  The power of a happy memory/feeling is absolutely priceless.  Laughter feels good, produces clarity, infuses you with energy and lo and behold, yes, it lifts you out of a funk!

2.  Tell yourself a secret like your childhood best friend used to do.
This seems like a simple idea but there are some preliminaries here.  The purpose of this writing prompt is to get you to write about things that are sacred to you, that frighten you, or that you want to keep to yourself.  Get a journal with a lock if you prefer. If security is an issue, tell your husband or significant other that you are exploring the idea of writing for health and that you’re problem-solving on paper. Sometimes partners react oddly to journals.  Downplay it.  It's no big deal. You're letting off some steam through storytelling. 

3.  Write a short story on one thing that happened to you this week.  Make it about something that really made you feel emotional.  Don’t let the term “short story” intimidate you. You don’t need to know the elements of a real short story to do this.  Let me throw my two cents in here.  Journal writing is for good emotional health.   I don't encourage you to throw a pity party.  First, write the story down as you remember it happening.  Minimize your use of adjectives and foul language.  Put away your journal. Let it sit in its hiding place for a while. A day or two (at least) later, re-read that entry then write about your emotions in the next entry.  You will be shocked at the power of this exercise.

That’s it for now kids. 

Chara Manesiotou

I have been doing all this but only occasionally. I will start practicing immediately. Thank you for the prompt.

Wendy Doherty

I know from personal experience these writing exercises are helpful.


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