Life Journal Workshop – Your Relationship with Words
Welcome back to the life journal workshop, so glad you are here today. If this is your first visit, welcome. The goal of this series is to encourage you to get to know yourself better, to take care of yourself and to remember how to be creative. We all need a quiet, safe and sacred place to talk about our dreams, goals, tragedies, losses and successes. Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a writer or as an artist or you have always said that you want to write or be more creative but haven’t done anything about it. You are in the right place.
The life journal series is for women who want to know themselves better and are willing to carve out a little time each week for self-discovery and creative play time. Your life journal is for you, it is your safe place. If you feel like sharing your creations and your thoughts, you can join us on Facebook.
I recently joined a writer’s group. We are a diverse bunch and still feeling our way into the process of sharing our writing and giving constructive feedback. It takes a lot of courage to share your work in public, even for someone like me who has been writing professionally most of my life. Our ego gets in the way, we want to explain, retreat, run away! The organizer of the group noticed that a couple of people tended to put virtual quotes around the word “writer” when they were speaking, as if they are not real writers, but pretend writers. He asked us all to go around the circle and say with conviction, “I am a writer.” It was an enlightening experience.
This led me to think about my relationship to writing in general and to words in particular. I LOVE words, I collect words like other people collect matchbooks or porcelain figurines. Yes, I am a little odd that way and I am okay with this aspect of myself. I have a PhD in poetry, I was a teacher for years, a magazine publisher and an author – all of which require a deep love of words.
I understand that not everyone else enjoys this same sense of ease with words. Perhaps you find them torturous, too personal, complicated or downright boring. Maybe you prefer images to words, great! I am not here to judge you or expect you to share my fascination for a well-turned phrase. I am here to ask you to stretch a, to grow your vocabulary and your explore your relationship to words.
My husband and I were hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park one summer. It was a glorious, sunny day. As we were making our way down the mountain (much easier than going up) we got downright giddy with words. We were exhausted by using the same old adjectives: beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, green. We started to look for more creative adjectives to describe the scenery around us. It wasn’t easy but we enjoyed the process. We used words like verdant, sumptuous, redolent, and made up words like pine-full (the forest was full of pine trees).
In your life journal this week, I want you to think about words.
Here are 5 activities for exploring your relationship with words.
1. Pay attention to the words to your favorite song on the radio right now. Write the lyrics in your journal or print them out and paste them in. Add an image of the band or artist and a few words to describe why you like to song.
2. Make a bullet list of words that you would use to describe yourself. Write as many as you can. Be honest and be creative!
3. Take an old magazine. First, select an image of a person. Then cut out interesting headlines or words that jump off the page. Make a collage out of what you find. You can see my example above.
4. Get out your dictionary. Randomly flip through the pages. Find 5 words that you don’t know what they mean. Write them in your journal. You might find a use for them sometime.
5. Describe a favorite place. Try not to use regular adjectives like beautiful, pretty, sunny. Get creative. Use a dictionary or Thesaurus.
We are all creative beings. Most of us have just forgotten how to exercise our creative muscles! This week’s life journal lesson is about having fun with words, improving our vocabulary and paying attention to the words that are around us.