Journal Writing — 11 Tips to Stay Motivated in 2011

by Amber Lea Starfire on January 2, 2011

catnav-journaling-activePost #23 – Memoir Writing, Journaling – Amber Starfire

2011

Stay motivated to write and keep your journaling fresh with these 11 tips for 2011:
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  1. Before doing anything else each morning, write in your journal. When you begin writing before you’re fully awake, it’s easier to tap into your intuition and creativity.
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  2. Keep a separate gratitude journal where you write about all the people and things for which you are thankful. Kept regularly, you can turn to this journal during difficult times for inspiration and encouragement.
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  3. If you’re not feeling motivated to write, ask yourself, “What would my life be like if I was living the life of my dreams?” and write a description of a typical day. Then, write about one small step you can take toward living that life.
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  4. Experiment with writing at different times of day to see if the quality and substance of your writing changes.
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  5. Remember that journaling is like taking a walk — you can take the same walk every day or choose to explore new territory. The choice is yours.
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  6. When you don’t know what to write about, grab a book off your bookshelf. Open the book to any page, close your eyes, and point a finger randomly, anywhere on the page. Open your eyes and look at the word your finger has landed upon. That’s your topic. Write about it, free word associate, or write about why you don’t want to write about it—for at least ten minutes.
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  7. When you feel a strong emotional response to something, the emotion is a sign that there’s something deeper going on and worth exploring in your journal.
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  8. When you’re having trouble fitting journal writing into your schedule, make an appointment with yourself and commit to write for only 10 minutes. At the appointed time, open your journal, set a timer for 10 minutes and write, nonstop, until the timer goes off. You can do anything for 10 minutes!
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  9. Go for a short walk, even if it’s just around the block, and notice how many different sounds you can hear: birds singing, sirens, wind chimes, children playing, bees buzzing, and so on. Notice the associations you have with these sounds. What does each one remind you of? When you return, pick one of these sounds and write about the what it brought to mind and memory.
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  10. On the first day of each month, read your journal entries for the same month of a selected previous year. As you read, highlight phrases, thoughts, ideas, and events you think are especially memorable or significant. This exercise is especially interesting at the start of each new year.
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  11. Before you begin to write, close your eyes and take three to five deep breaths. Feel your heartbeat and your thoughts slow down. When you open your eyes, you will be more centered and ready to begin.
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Be sure to connect with Amber on her website: Writing Through Life.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kendra Bonnett January 2, 2011 at

Great list, Amber. None of us should have an excuse not to journal in 2011. You’ve got some great motivational techniques here.

Matilda Butler January 2, 2011 at

Amber: These are real gems. Any one of them is a great motivator and 11 of them means any one can journal and work it into the day and into a fuller life.

Amber Lea Starfire January 4, 2011 at

Thanks, Kendra and Matilda. For many journal writers, especially those who are just getting started keeping one, staying motivated can be a challenge. I’ve personally used every one of these tips, so I know they work! :-)

Dawn Herring January 4, 2011 at

Amber,
I am continually impressed and inspired by the fresh ideas you provide in your posts on keeping a journal. I plan to use a few of these for my own journaling experience. I think one of my favorites is going back to a previous journal on the same date and really pay attention to things that are important and stand out.

I have chosen your post, Journal Writing — 11 Tips to Stay Motivated in 2011, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day for 1/4/10 for all things journaling on Twitter. I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my blog Refresh with Dawn Herring.

Thanks for so many great journal writing ideas!
Be refreshed,
Dawn Herring
JournalWriter Freelance
@JournalChat on Twitter for all things journaling

Amber Lea Starfire January 7, 2011 at

Thanks, Dawn! I also love reading what I wrote a year before. The practice often reveals seasonal cycles in my emotional life. And I love when I read something I wrote that is actually profound or wise, but didn’t know it at the time. It’s like being given a present, and always makes me smile.

Barbara B. January 9, 2011 at

Thank you for each of these much needed tips! I was all “holly jolly” for the holidays. Now January seems to have taken the wind out of my sails.
I feel as though I have been missing something when I come to the page, pen in hand to write. Too superficial. Unable to tunnel through toward the light.

Blessings, B.

Amber Lea Starfire January 9, 2011 at

Barbara B., I think I know how you feel! It was hard for me to get started again, after so much time off with friends and family. Digging below the superficial requires patience and compassion with our selves. And, when we can’t we can’t. Nothing wrong with that. Just come to the writing table with the intention of going deeper. You’ll soon find it “just happening.” Have a great journal writing year!

Jennifer Manlowe January 29, 2011 at

Thanks so much for your helpful tips for staying motivated as a writer.

This technique (below) is my favorite one to use myself and to use with my memoir clients who want to finish their work and publish it:
“When you don’t know what to write about, grab a book off your bookshelf. Open the book to any page, close your eyes, and point a finger randomly, anywhere on the page. Open your eyes and look at the word your finger has landed upon. That’s your topic. Write about it, free word associate, or write about why you don’t want to write about it—for at least ten minutes.”

Amber Lea Starfire January 29, 2011 at

Jennifer, we must be kindred spirits … that tip is one of my favorites, as well. I also use a variation of it when I need to find a word but the thesaurus isn’t doing the trick. I still use the thesaurus, but instead of looking up a specific word, I just open it somewhere and put my finger on a random word. It usually leads me someplace new and useful.

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