Reflective Journal Writing

What if we don't feel like writing in our journal? Here are some exercises and techniques using drawings, collage, artwork and dreams to express emotions.

Journalling is a way to express ourselves. We write down events and our reaction to them. Journalling can bring out very deep feelings that may otherwise never get expressed.

Sometimes we don't feel like using words to express our emotions. We don't want to sit down and write, but we may have a need to 'say' something. If you ever find yourself in that situation, try some of these exercises for your journal.

1) Make a picture journal. Each day, go through old magazines, and cut out a picture that moves you. Paste it into your journal or a special book. Date it and write a brief caption, if you like, so you can go back later and know what you were thinking or feeling that day. Do this for two weeks or a month. Then see if there is a common thread to the pictures. Remember, this is to take the place of writing, so don't write anything.

2) Make a collage on a piece of paper or cardboard that's bigger than your journal. Cut up old magazines and make a picture with whatever moves you. Again, see if there is a thread in the pictures you choose that show what you need to express.

3) Shoot a roll of film in one day and get it developed immediately. Lay the photos out on a table. Look for that common thread. Can you tell what's going on deep inside by looking at these pictures.

4) Go on a walk. Collect three things that interest you. Maybe a rock, a leaf, a bug, or a flower. Put these on a table, and make up stories about them in your head. Or simply reflect on why you were attracted to them.

5) Draw a picture of one of your dreams.

6) Read someone else's journal -- May Sarton, Anne Frank, Henry Miller, Anais Nin. Or go to a journalling/diary site on the net and read some entries there.

7) Pick a day to not write. Say to yourself, 'I'm not going to write on Sunday.' Notice how you feel with this choice. Take in the day through your senses, but don't write -- just experience it.

Try some of these exercises during periods when you don't feel like utilizing words for expression. But keep in mind these are also ways to jumpstart your journalling. Each exercise can culminate in a journal entry.

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