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  • Writer's pictureA.K. Lee

I Started Writing a #DailyJournal and Stopped

It's official: I will stop my daily journaling/creative writing experiment.

Since 30 Dec 2021, I wrote a one-page response to prompts daily. I even posted writing prompts here on my site, in a bid to make sure I can access them wherever I may be. However, after more than three months of daily writing, I have since concluded that I do not enjoy the practice as it is.

What I did like about it was the discipline instilled. Daily, when I have ten minutes (or more) of time, I would sit with my iPad and start writing. At first I had to consciously remind myself to get to it. By about late February it became habitual. Given that these were prompts I had come up with, I was looking forward to most of them.

Another thing I liked was that, because I was writing as if with old-school pen and paper (apps are amazing!), I didn't really have the urge to correct and edit myself. It felt good to scribble and leave whatever I penned down as it was. The inner critic learned to be silent during my journaling time.

However, by mid-March, I realized that writing one page could take hours if I could not get my brain into gear. On one memorable occasion, I spent literally seven hours on one measly prompt, and it was deeply frustrating. It took my focus away from my other work and projects.

Furthermore, I feel tired, creatively, after each one-page response. It was like my brain went "Okay, that's enough today, now do the other non-creative stuff!" and in the meanwhile I have several works that really needed that creative juice.

Originally I had intended the #DailyJournal experiment to help me branch out with new ideas, and indeed, some new concepts came from the prompts that I will be using in future short stories or explore in my WIPs. However, weighing out what I wanted to grow from the practice versus how I feel after over three months of the practice shows that I am not happy with what I am gaining from it.

Some things I will do, instead of writing daily responses to prompts, is to do weekly reflections/explorations. It is a good practice that helps me find new ideas; I just can't do it every day. A handful of prompts I found really fun were, for instance, crafting a scene from a line taken from a random poem; writing the same scene from different perspectives to develop voice (I start with omniscient 3rd person, then from one character, and again from a second character); crafting a scene or story with a random photo or word. I will reuse these over the rest of the year, and maybe dig for a few more.

Do you do daily creative journaling?

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