So we’re winding down with this series. Month 11 already. How has daily journaling with prompts been working for you? Has it helped your other writing projects? Has it helped in any other ways? I’d love to hear more so feel free to share your comments. I always respond.

Before we get to the prompts, here’s an interesting article from the New York Times (paywall) on how journaling helps with self-care.

Labeling emotions and acknowledging traumatic events — both natural outcomes of journaling — have a known positive effect on people . . . At the same time, writing is fundamentally an organizational system. Keeping a journal, according to Dr. Pennebaker, helps to organize an event in our mind, and make sense of trauma. When we do that, our working memory improves, since our brains are freed from the enormously taxing job of processing that experience, and we sleep better. This in turn improves our immune system and our moods; we go to work feeling refreshed, perform better and socialize more.

It’s certainly worked for me since I was a teenager. That said, I’ve also learned there’s a right way and a wrong way to write a journal. The wrong way involves writing about the same old things, especially hurts and wounds, which makes them fester more. The right way is to use it as a way to record thoughts, events, and ideas. Which is why I like the idea of journal prompts. Whenever I get into an unproductive cycle of journal-writing, I switch to a prompt and it makes all the difference. For the most part, I use a daily quote these days for my prompts. So, for November’s prompts, I’d like to guide you to do just that.

Over on Instagram, I’ve been doing a daily quote from a woman writer since the start of the year. I’ve missed the odd few days now and then due to travel. Still, there are well over 300 quotes collected there now and I will, most likely, continue the project into next year as well. Why women writers? Because, if you search for quotes on google, you’re going to find a whole lot more by male writers than by female writers. It bothered me enough that I thought I’d just make an entire year-long project of it. Generally, the themes of these quotes are: life, communication, creativity, literature, reading, relationships, travel, and so on. And I try to get them from a diverse group of women writers.

For these 30 days of November, take your time to pick out the quotes that most jump out to you and then write/riff on those. See what comes up for you. Each quote includes the source so you might even write about the writer or the book it’s from. Just flex those writerly muscles of yours to write a flash essay or a short story or even just a personal vignette of your own related to the theme.

Enjoy. Oh, and follow me on Instagram if you want more.

Here are a few of my own favorite quotes from the year.

1/ Jane Kenyon on being a good steward of your own gifts

2/ Shonda Rhimes on saying she doesn’t want to be called lucky for her accomplishments, but a badass

3/ Susan Sontag on how it’s all about paying attention

4/ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on not accepting your gender as a reason for doing or not doing something

5/ Wislawa Szymborska on the need to learn your the craft of your art as completely as possible

Till next month then.


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