Tag Archives: stories

The Art of Journaling

I’ve just read Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. It’s typical of Allende’s writing: rich, erotic and inventive. Towards the end of the novel, Eva Luna, explains her intent in writing, ‘I try to open a path through that maze, to put a little order in that chaos, to make life more bearable. When I write, I describe life as I would like it to be.’

This statement really resonated with me because I often ask myself, and other writers that I know, why write? This got me thinking about journaling.

This is me in the 70s, always jotting, drawing or reading. Haven’t changed much!

Journaling is a great way to put a little order in the chaos that might be happening around us. It doesn’t have to be the makings of a written piece for anyone else’s eyes but it can help the writer find ways to articulate what they want to say. My own experience with this is that I find kernels of good material that can be used in my writing that will be put in front of readers.

The idea of journaling is to dump ideas, thoughts and feelings onto the page. I suggest that these pages are hand written because you will be more in tune with what you are doing. It’s also great to get away from the computer. This is NOT the time to censor yourself or to worry about the state of the writing. If you start doing this, you won’t free flow. Remember this is not literary mastery but a way to get to the core of who you are and where you are. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or complete sentences.

If you write in a free way for five to ten minutes, you’ll be amazed what comes out. It’ll be choppy to start with and you may feel a little stumped. If this happens, write about the mundane things that happened during the day and you’ll find that it becomes easier in a few minutes.

If you really can’t think of anything to write about, record what you are grateful for. Describe these things in as much detail as you can. In my journal there are little things like the joy of slipping between freshly laundered sheets or a description of our puppy chewing on a toy. Another way to get into the flow is to write about events from your childhood. They can be happy or sad. Be sure to use all the senses when describing the events. This task will unearth thoughts and feelings that you haven’t considered for many years.

Don’t be frightened by dark things that might come up. By writing through it you will find light to shine onto the darkness. These are the times when you can explore the darkness in a safe environment.

Showing up to the page every day will create good writing habits. Journaling can be a great segue into better emotional wellbeing as well as unearthing some great insights that can be transferred into other writing projects.


Funding Your Art

1622117_10203588843912759_2232670102899058624_nIf you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t know about the cuts to Arts funding in the latest budget. If you aren’t making art, then maybe you don’t care. But you should because even if you aren’t making art, you are enjoying it. All art forms are important for the soul of this beautiful country.

My writer brain doesn’t need too much help with the mathematics of the latest cuts and what they will mean for writers, artists and performers. Not only will it mean that many of the usual grants will not be offered (bad for the artist), it means that the community won’t have the pleasure of seeing new projects come to life (bad for you).

Take a look at the latest cuts to Australia Council grants:


If artists can’t fund their projects, how will they grow and improve on their craft? Imagine the books, paintings, performances that might never see the light of day. We need to realise how important this is for the future of our society in cultural terms.

You might think, So what?

Why is art so important? We need cures for cancer, world poverty and global warming. Yes, we do. But artists tell stories and stories help us to make sense of the world, help us broaden our experience and understanding and allow us to think more creatively, which in turn helps us to discover solutions to problems that need this creative thinking.

The biographer and journalist, Walter Isaacson, said that science can give us empirical facts and try to tie them together with theories, but it’s the humanists and the artists who turn them into narratives with moral, emotional and spiritual meanings: art gives meaning to the theories of science.

Art is also escapism, pleasure and connection with each other.

So what can we do about it? Politics has a lot to do with it, so don’t vote for the wrong people. But it’s also about the community supporting the arts in different ways: buy books (real ones), go to galleries and buy artwork, go to the movies (don’t buy pirate movies in Bali), go to a live theatre performance.

Crowd funding is becoming a fantastic way for people to get their project off the ground. Maybe this is the arts funding of the future?

The community needs to be aware of the importance of making art for the future of our cultural existence. Without it we are dull, non-dimensional beings. We might cure cancer but our world will be colourless.