Creatives, I want to take time today to give you a written reference to accompany some of the early advice I give almost every client that comes through my door: to keep a creative journal, aka sketchbook journaling. With rare exceptions I recommend this to everyone, then launch into my explanation of what I mean- so here it is, for your reference: the creative journaling exercise.
Might you, Dear Creative, keep a daily creative journal? To do this you need three key elements:
And so, if you have successfully arranged your elements, here is the process I recommend to you:
Engage in the process of free response process work. In other words, we are going to have no particular goal or outcome in mind and are interested in tapping into the current of what is flowing freely through our brains. The process can include flowing freely back and forth between drawing and writing, or be focused on one or the other. It should have either a time or page limit- not to exceed 2 pages or 15 minutes- whichever is shorter, more or less.
If you are writing, you begin by writing anything- something- maybe “blah blah blah” until you have tapped into the flow of thoughts- then continue to write with them- sloppy script, incomplete sentences and words, free flow of thoughts just to release into content, until you run out of content or choose to stop. If the content is short you can return to your repeat word “blah blah” or whatever word you chose, until you tap into the next current, or you can choose to be done or change to drawing.
If you are drawing, you begin by drawing anything- try to stay away from forms that are too informative and directional like icons (hearts, stars etc) as they can keep you rutted rather than flowing- scribble or doodling are pretty good- until you are into a flow of drawing. If you are a 2D artist you might go back to some of your sketching/drawing techniques like hatching, contour with continuous line drawing, stippling, and so on.
Ok so let’s say you do this. You spend 2 pages or 15 minutes drawing/writing in your sketchbook journal, organically recording images and thoughts, every day. Why do I tell you to do this? The frustrating answer is the more you do it the more you will answer this question for yourself. The more immediate and satisfying answer is both a creative and wellness one: creatively you are generating creative energy by regular creative output and a daily creative journal is an important part of this, and from a wellness perspective you are downloading thought clutter from your brain (scientific terms) which will aid you in being more mindful and decrease symptoms fed by thinking problems like depression and anxiety.
So, Creative, will you give creative journaling a try?
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.