Sometimes we don't know what to write, we just jot down a few facts about our day and close the notebook. Descriptive writing is not easy. But - when you read it later - what a marvelous experience!
Here are a few tips to help you make your journal useful and interesting:
- Careful observation: reality is often different from what we assume or think we know. Look closely around you or dig deeper into yesterday's incidents. Take a chance and let go when you're writing. See what comes out of your own mind and imagination.
- The right details: a few well-chosen details are worth a thousand words. Describe your surroundings, your friends, yourself with just two or three terms born out of your five senses. Remember that our senses are all we have to apprehend the world around us. Use them. Use them a lot. And use them creatively. Don't dwell on the visual; write about what you hear or how an object feels to the touch or the smell of the your childhood home.
- The right words: words have denotations and connotations. Be aware of both when using them in your journaling. If you're stuck, find synonyms. It's easy. Go for the unusual.
And now - let's practice! Here are a few prompts to get you started:
- The street where you live: go out for a 15-minute walk and come back and write.
- The view out the window: describe the colors, the sky, the light and shadows, the trees or their absence, rooftops, what's out there.
- Your house: take each room at a time and go for it.
- The weather: is it windy? is it warm or cold? what do you smell? how do things change?
THE INNER JOURNEY: JOURNALING IN THE MODERN AGE
SATURDAY, JUNE 14 - 1 TO 5 PM
THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY, 60 WEST WALTON, CHICAGO
TO REGISTER: http://www.newberry.org