Life interrupted and I took twenty days rather than fourteen to complete it; but when I had to miss a day, I looked extra-forward to my next journaling session. First thing in the morning I would print a copy of the day’s exercises and then sit with my mug of coffee, lap desk, spiral notebook and gel pen, and respond to the prompts. As a result I wrote:
- a poem
- 3 flash fiction drafts
- six Ideas and Inspirations for my list
- a revised essay for a contest
- six plots for old characters
Especially productive was the exercise to create prompts related to ideas I haven’t pursued. I used to think I would write a novel someday. I started and abandoned three of them before accepting that I lack the focus for a book length project and turned to the flash genre. Creating prompts for former characters on Day 2 affirmed I have plenty of ideas. I just need to resurrect those characters I still love and tell their stories in short fiction.
Or nonfiction. By the end of the Day 5 assignment, a submission to a flash essay contest became my next writing goal. I had a critiqued essay I wanted to revise and plenty of time to meet the deadline.
Instead of facing the challenge, I started making notes for a new project. Mari’s journaling prompt to the rescue, I called myself on the trait which has held me back from the accomplishment of more than one goal and wrote a mantra:
Rather than starting a new project, look at the old project in a new way.
I am proud to announce this morning, three weeks since I finished the program, that I have read the latest printout of my essay and pronounced it ready for submission.
I found Journal Magic for Writers motivational and inspirational and do not hesitate to recommend it. I believe the design of the exercises can help others, as it helped me, to discover their stories, develop practices for reaching their goals, and define and accept who they are as writers. For example, I will tell people that I write but hesitate to call myself a writer because I don’t depend on it for my living. During the course of this program, I acknowledged it wouldn’t be as much fun for me if I did, and that entertaining my friends and family with my work is compensation enough.
However, I really would like to win that contest.
Kay Butzin sets her cellphone timer for thirty minutes before she begins to write morning pages. If she meets the three-page goal in that length of time, it means she has succeeded in keeping her eyes on the page rather than staring out the window for inspiration.
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