Write about your day — in 30 different ways!
The basic journal entry will often consist of a blow-by-blow description of your daily events, thoughts, or tasks. Sometimes these daily logs completely fill the pages. There is certainly nothing wrong with this – except that it gets boring and does not do much to exercise your creative muscles.
Consider writing about your day with these little challenges and twists:
• Describe your day through one particular sense: Instead of “this happened and that happened,” try “Those smelled like this, and when he entered the room, I smelled that” or “the sounds I woke up to were… then I heard…”
• Focus on one color, thought pattern, or emotion during the day: “The first time I noticed the color green/ my self-doubt/ a surge of annoyance today… Then just an hour later, as I…”
• Describe the day as if through the eyes of a small child or elderly person, far from your age and perspective: “Then that crazy lady jumped over the puddle… JUMPED! If I had done that…”
• Make as many lists as you can during the day: “The colors of blouses which MIGHT go with my navy slacks are…” “The shifting emotions I felt during the meeting were…” “Six things I COULD do during my lunch break are…”
• Compare your daily events to what COULD have been worse, if “everything had gone wrong” (as we too often exaggerate): “If the world really WAS against me, my boss would have fired me, but instead she just…”
• Write your day as a documentary – “A day in the life of a —” and use a narrator voice: “But what REALLY gets today’s saleswoman excited is…” “But alas, when you are a modern artist, you must answer the phone in the midst of inspirational moments.”
• Record only the dialogue from the day – and rate the performances if you like: “Yes, Dear, you MUST wear socks under your rain boots.” “But MOM!…” (2 stars) “Sally, I really think we need to focus on…” “However, Bill, did you consider…” (4 stars)
• Have fun deleting and/or replacing select words within actual dialogues from the day
• Record select scenes from the day as acts in a play, or as descriptive or symbolic poetry
• Write character descriptions of the “players” in your day
• Explain, as if to someone new to the human race, exactly what the “players” in your day were REALLY thinking/trying to accomplish (including yourself!)
• Exaggerate the events of the day to make yourself the hero(-ine) of a fantasy, a legend, or a romantic short story
• Relate the events of the day from the perspective of either your hands or your feet
• Relate the day’s events from the perspective of your child, your parent, your best friend, your boss, or your nemesis
• Write about the day from the perspective of gratitude: “But I am grateful I did not have to…”
• Describe the day from the perspective of super-self-improvement sleuth: “I behaved — when –” “My attitude changed when –” “I did GREAT when –” “I could have done better by — when —”
• Write the day out as a series of “how-to” articles: “How to apply make-up with an affectionate cat on your lap” “How to explain being 5 minutes late when your boss is Ms. Perfect Attendance”
• Scan for those “little things” in your day that you normally do NOT notice, and give them a little “air time”: ”I never really noticed the tiny blue tea cups that looked like Alice could use them at her smallest size.” “While my focus was on –, I was completely oblivious to the sound of — coming from –”
• Be creative and describe what COULD have happened, if you were living in a dream or in a cartoon
• Write what COULD have happened, if you had had unlimited time, or if this had been the LAST time you would ever do each task
• Hunt out and reveal all the possibilities and opportunities that came up during the day – decide which one(s) perhaps should not have been ignored
• Write about ALL the tiny sensations and minute pleasures you COULD have allowed yourself to experience throughout the day
• Describe how the day would have been different if you had experienced extremes of temperature, hunger, or emotional state
• Tell how your own parent, child, sibling, or friend would have dealt differently with the day’s events
• Write the day in total opposite – if you were cold, describe how hot you felt… if you felt disappointed, describe your elation…
• Describe the day as if telling the story to a complete foreigner
• Use only similes and metaphors to describe the day: “The car behind me was a close as a flea on a monkey’s scalp” “I felt like a pig in a mud puddle”
• Choose a dozen or more good, descriptive words from a thesaurus and use them in a description of (or labels for parts of) your day
• Write the day as a series of small confessions: “If I didn’t have my coffee each morning, I think I’d be a serial killer” “No one knows this, but I was the one who put Splenda in the sugar jar”
• Hunt out and write about all the tiny customs and traditions you observe during your day – where did they come from and how did they gain a foothold in YOUR life?
If you are more of a visual artist, try illustrating your day in these ways:
• Describe your day with photos only – no words!
• Make a “map” of your day – physical map and/or mental and/or emotional map
• NAME the “places” on your map, and use colors to convey emotion
• Create a collage of your day using your own photos, magazine clippings, words, and phrases
• Create a timeline of the day’s events – with doodles for labels
• Make a timeline-like painting of the day, which colors and figures changing appropriately as your surroundings and attitudes change
• Make a cartoon strip of your day – or select scenes from the day
• Make word webs or other visual representations of single words/themes from your day
• Crochet a granny square for your day, using colors and textures to represent places, people, and moods
• Sculpt a basic pot (or construct a paper box or paint a plastic container) for each of your everyday ”environments”– each day, collect some small item (paperclip, dry leaf, post-it note, dust bunny) from each location to keep as a memento or souvenir
Of course, if you are musically inclined, or have some other special skill, be sure to invent ways to use it in your journaling!
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