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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Journal with Impact: Personal Reflection “Who Am I?”

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began.” Mary Oliver

“Who Am I” (b)

As we all know, time is elusive. Regardless of our age, we reach points where we stop to ask ourselves who am I, and what am I doing, and why? There are some major markers such as changes in relationships, or education, or jobs, that clearly require a deeper than normal evaluation. But sometimes even the chosen daily patterns can create situations where we need to stop and evaluate our goals and priorities and passions.

Just as we schedule maintenance checkups for our cars and our health, it’s good to examine whether we are en route personally, or if somehow time has swallowed us up in its own snowstorm.

In her book Just As I Am, author Virginia Hearn suggests three different approaches to the time questions and the possibilities that journey with us through all the threads in our lives.

What Time

1.     “What time is it in my life?” Write a paragraph or two in response to this question.

What Season

Another variation on time would be “what season of life am I in?”

2.     Make four lists—each on a separate piece of paper with these titles:
a.     It is too late to….
b.     It is too soon to…
c.      The time is right to…
d.     I need time to…..

What Priorities

3.     Another three-question list.
a. What do I want to accomplish in my life?     
b. What do I want to accomplish in the next three years?
c. What would I do if I had only six months to live?

Or for those of you who are visual observers, map out a set of clusters using any of the starting points above. Follow it as far as it goes, then pick out different ‘branches’ to write about. If you are not familiar with the cluster brainstorm, below is an example from a fiction workshop as an example. The center word begins the topic. Then draw lines to each main category. Then within a category connect sub-categories. Follow the threads for one or more until you run out. Then examine where you have the most material and where you have questions.

  Photography                   Dance                  Painting

                                                                 Art                                                     Collage

Music                              Sculptor                             
                                                                                                 Novelist                Literary    
                                               High fantasy             Urban         Paranormal

Action Steps:

1.     Over a three-week period set aside a block of time to process each of the exercise questions above. Begin with whichever one draws you immediately.

2.     After you complete all three approaches, note where you were comfortable in your reactions and where you struggled.

3.     Take the one that was the most difficult to consider and write down the reasons why. Then after another week tackle it again.

4.     Did anything change for you? Process why, yes or no?

Share: Which question did you instinctively relate to first?

                                                            Read deep, marcy

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Journal with Impact: Personal Reflection Journal Idea File

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“What were the events that altered and illuminated my time?” Ronald Klug

Journal Idea Files

Write down the dates. In the beginning keep your journals private. However, down the road these ideas and nuggets might develop into source material for writing essays, memoirs, or family sagas. And blogs. If you see that you frequently wrestle with a particular topic and you begin to read about it, you may find that others have the same questions as you.

If you prefer more structured organization, then consider keeping several notebooks for different purposes, not to write in daily or even weekly, but for example to keep all your reading journal entries in one notebook, all your family concerns in another, work related in third. Personally I managed to keep only two: a reading journal and my study journal. When I do need to do a short-term project, I pick up a small moleskin to do the journal stretch until I reach the clarity I need.

There are various approaches to strategize your files or do a mix and match. This first example is the most familiar form for both journals and diaries. Again, choose whichever style flows the easiest for you.

Daily Record (a)

1. What happened today and what sensory details did it bring?
2. Why did I react to that comment? Or did not react?
3. What about that conversation left me feeling …..?
4. Other categories might include questions, prayers, reading, joys, sense of accomplishment, and world events.

It is often easier to let some things go, but if we bring them out into the light and see them for what influence they may hold, we can keep from hiding under pretense to ourselves.

For example, one Christmas dinner I shocked myself when I snapped at a peripheral family member over an apparently innocuous remark. All heads turned. It was only mildly embarrassing in the situation, but strong enough that I had to take a few journal days to discover why I had overreacted to something so minor.

Action Steps:

1.     Keep a daily record for at least three days this next week. If you feel pressed for time, set a timer for fifteen minutes and write as much as you can without stopping, then set aside.

2.     The next day, review what you wrote and see if you have any other thoughts to add that you found yourself thinking about. Again set aside.

3.     Next day, review and then write any notes or thoughts. Then note whether this style of journal was helpful or frustrating.

Share: Did anything surprise you? Did you notice any details from your week that otherwise you might have forgotten about or dismissed?

                                                            Read deep, marcy

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Journal with Impact: Personal Reflection

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“The very process of journaling, of finding my way through emotions and language, is as much about the 'truth' as the finished poem.” Steve Scott

Like memoir writing, Reflection is extremely personal even when you are not preparing to share it publicly. Whether you have mountains of material already at hand and are trying to sort it out, or tumbling about in your heart and soul with no clear direction, it takes time and energy to understand, shape, and mold. Sometimes a seemingly simple exercise will knock you over emotionally for no apparent reason.

So over these next weeks, be kind to yourself, take a break whenever you need to and don’t worry about deadlines or output. The purpose of this workshop is to assist in uncovering and engaging heart, soul, and mind stories that you need to connect with. Then begin the shaping process as an application to your personal journey.

Five-Minute Pulse 

1. If you had to choose what color best describes you today, what would it be?

2. Make a brief list or do a quick free write on the reasons you chose that color; i.e. the facts leading to that decision—at least the ones you are aware of.

3. Now go back again and do a commentary for yourself. What are your feelings toward being that color? Is that positive or negative or neutral? Do you like the color but didn’t want to be "orange" today?

This is one example of doing a reflective exercise in your journal. It’s so easy to go on automatic pilot and react to our day and never experience what’s going on around us. The pause helps us to connect to our feelings. It can be simply by identifying why we’re grouchy, anxious, happy, or irritable. Then it can travel deep down to emotional mental health.

Perhaps color isn’t the spark for you. Then choose a metaphor or symbol from your own life. Musical instruments, or cooking spices, or flowers. Whatever you choose for your pulse meter make it simple and familiar. It needs to be an immediate intuitional spark.

Journal Stretch 

Here’s where you approach a wide range of journal uses with more time to explore, whether for daily reflection, decision-making, transition times, or crisis. Sometimes you will need to come at the same issue at different times, especially if it’s too painful the first time. Don’t stop to analyze but write your thoughts down. Then walk away.

At your next writing, pause and write another stretch. Then review the first one you wrote. Do you see anything new that you hadn’t noticed before? Write down your observations. Keep up the process until you feel you have the insight you need to move ahead with decisions or actions. Come back to the journal for clarity whenever you need more connection.

If, for example, you choose to write a decision stretch, you might consider these questions.

Action Steps:

1. Write down everything you already know about the decision before you.

2. Is there a time frame connected to it, and if so, how is that affecting your answer pressure wise? How might you neutralize that stress?

3. In what ways is this potential choice affecting you emotionally in your relationship with others?

4. Do you know someone, or some resource, that might help you focus your concerns?

Share: How long did you walk away before revisiting the process? Did it give you some clarity?

Read deep, marcy

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Creating a Great Setting Interview

Build Your Story: What questions do you want answered for your specific setting?

My FIRST podcast interview! The visual part of the video is a little out of sync-haha-like me, but the audio works well on both. Hope you find it interesting.
Listen to this episode Play / pause 1x 1.5x 2x 0:00 0:00 0:00 volume 008I – Creating a Great Setting: An Interview with Marcy Weydemuller Marcy Weydemuller is an…

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Journal with Impact: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Journaling from the events of daily life does not mean simply keeping a log or diary of who we saw and what we did each day. It means, rather, writing down the experiences that have affected our soul in a particular way.” Anne Broyles

New Workshop Introduction

Welcome to Journal with Impact. In this new blog workshop we are going to look at key exercises that can create space for personal reflection and creative potential in several categories that most often influence our lives. If a category you are interested in isn’t listed, just substitute your choice and apply the exercise that fits. You can use the material for your own pursuit, or as an author, use them to develop your fictional characters.

When we begin any creative action, there is a basic three-step process: create—prepare—share. For writers it might look more like write—audience—read. Journaling takes that first step and fills the create space with possibilities. Often we do not even see them at the time but discover them later when we reflect back after some emotional or time distance. Yet at the same time the journals can be a lifeline to keep us connected to our souls when life swirls around us in busyness and sometimes chaos.

How we journal, when we journal, and what we journal are all part of the creative decisions, but the heart question is why? Why here—why now? Is it a season we need to mark as a changing point in our lives? Do we need quiet time to develop reading skills, for spiritual reflection, to contemplate relationship issues in private, or to recover ourselves?

The journal is meant to be nurturing and healing, even when we go through grief and pain. We set up a time and place and use methods that enable us to engage, rather than the journal becoming a taskmaster. While we journal, we begin to discover what feeds our personal creative process, how to generate fresh material for our own lives (or characters’ lives), discover direction, learn to see shape and structure, and focus coherence within.

At first glance it may appear overwhelming, but the beauty of the journal is that it seeds through snippets. We track whatever appeals to our senses: quotes, lines from a poem or a book, descriptions, overheard conversations, or a special memory. We begin to draw closer to the exercises and material that work for us and let the rest go. The key is impact.

Even in the busiest day we can find a few minutes to pause.

Journal With Impact Outline

Conversation One                        Reflection

Conversation Two                        Vocation

Conversation Three                     Family

Conversation Four                       Travel

Conversation Five                        Nature

Conversation Six                         Memoir

Action Steps:

1. In what ways are you hesitant to keep a journal? Write the ideas and words down in a list.

2. Next to each way listed write a negative reason word and then write a positive reason word to challenge yourself to journal through your hesitations.

3.Which topic are you most curious to explore? Why?

Share: Is there a subject or topic not on this list that you’d like to explore from a journal perspective? Let me know in the comments so I can incorporate some examples.

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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