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Tanja is crazy about lists: 5 fun exercises to try in your diary

14/01/2016 Tanja Vaillancourt

I have been writing in my diary since elementary school. My first diary was light blue with little pink hearts on it. It had a lock of course because I didn’t want my mother to read it. I talked about the cute boy at school, my day-to-day life and my so-called problems. A very simple text that felt good to write every time.

My love for writing goes way back! I love paper and fountain pens. I love the sensation of ink touching the paper. All these years, my journal has been a great confidant. I have always written about my life: my plans, my dreams, my worries, my plans at work, my good ideas, my wounds.

For years, I wrote on lined paper until the day I took a wonderful one-year workshop on creative journalling. Then, EVERYTHING changed. I changed the lined paper for blank paper that allows more fun. I learned that I could doodle, scribble, that I could use colour to represent my emotions, make collages and even write secrets that I could make disappear with special techniques! Why had I not thought about these cool ideas before ?

Here are 5 of my favorite techniques:

  1. Make a collage. First of all, why a collage? Because images speak to us in a different way than words. They allow expressing what is inside but often hidden. Here’s one technique: Take out two or three magazines and rip out all the pictures and words that inspire you. Rip out the pages, do not cut them out. Be spontaneous. Don’t worry too much about why you chose such or such a picture. When you are done (let’s say after 10 minutes), go through the pictures again and choose the most compelling ones and glue them on a big sheet of paper. It’s not about scrapbooking so it does not have to be perfect. Think trash collage!

    Once all your words and images are glued, try to give your piece of art a title. Finish by answering these questions in writing: What message does the collage have? What surprises you about it? What themes emerge?
  2. Doodle and scribble! Take out those coloured crayons or markers and have fun. You feel upset, take out the red and let it out. You feel calm, choose pink, or beige, or green, or brown, or any colour that expresses that. Do not underestimate the power of colours (see my other post “More Colour”). Now add to this experience by playing different kinds of music and let your hand be guided by it: straight and deep lines for one tempo and curvy soft lines for another. Most important: have fun!
  3. Write positive mantras. This technique might be a bit difficult the first time you try it since it may feel a bit freaky but it can really help in moments of stress. Find words that will do you good. You want examples ?
    You can do it / Don’t worry/ Everything happens for a reason/ You are beautiful/ The universe is abundant/ It’s gonna work out.
    I write these quotes (or others depending on what I need to tell myself) in big letters and sometimes many times and even many days in a row.

    Will you try it?

  4. Tear, burn, write over or staple the secret. Once in a while, there are things that I don’t really want to discuss with anybody except for myself and then, I am afraid of writing them (I sometimes think: if someone found this page today, they would think I am crazy). I have to make sure that what I write down disappears. I can decide to tear it of course and put it in the garbage bin, burn the page (ok, I admit, I don’t do this often), write over it (which makes the initial message disappear) or I simply fold the page a few times and then staple it!
  5. Write lists. It clears the head. Some of my favorites are: stuff I have to do, recipes I want to try, clothes I would like to have, restaurants I want to go to…

    If you feel that you are crazy about lists like me, go back to read the first post:  Tanja Is Crazy About Lists!

There are many other techniques that you can integrate in your creative journal. I will share them in upcoming posts.

Send me pictures of your new diary!

#journal #creativity #lists #collage