About the Post

Author Information

Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Journaling Your Way Out of Writer’s Block

coffee rewardDo you keep a writer’s journal for any of these reasons:

  • warm-up before writing something else
  • drain your brain of miscellaneous thoughts that would otherwise interfere with your writing
  • keep track of progress on a particular project
  • practice the craft of writing
  • store great ideas and images for future use
  • give future English majors insights about how you (the future noted writer) worked
  • write your way around blocks and resistance

Regardless of why you journal and even if you aren’t in a regular journaling habit, an appreciative approach to journaling could transform the experience for you.

An appreciative journal is the type most likely to fulfill the last purpose in the list: to write your way around blocks and resistance.

What’s an Appreciative Journal?

An appreciative approach to journaling is based on Appreciative Inquiry (AI), a methodology for finding the best in people and their organizations.

One of the principles of AI is that we will see more of what we focus our attention on. So individuals or organizations that see themselves as problem-solvers get more problems to solve, while individuals or organizations who seem themselves as leveraging their strengths get more strengths to leverage.

An appreciative journal is where you focus on the positive and on what’s working in your writing and your life. Blame, negative self-talk, worries or complaints are not part of this kind of journal.

Unlike Julia Cameron’s morning pages or other brain-drain type journals, you don’t write an appreciative journal in stream-of-consciousness. You consciously focus your attention on the qualities, situations, attitudes and actions you want MORE of.

In your appreciative journal, you write about what you’re doing well, how you’re growing and developing as a writer, what you’re satisfied or pleased with, and what you want to do to move forward.

If you feel completely blocked and always resistant, you may think you’d have nothing to write about in this kind of journal. But the fact that you’re starting an appreciative journal is one positive thing to start writing about.

You’ll write about your writing dreams and the actions you could take to fulfill those dreams. This kind of journaling will change your thinking, which will change your actions, which in turn will change the outcomes. And that will give you more to write appreciatively about.

Here’s an appreciative inquiry to launch your appreciation journal: What’s the best thing I did for myself as a writer this week?

Next post: How to Write an Appreciative Journal

Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. Journaling Your Way Out of Writer’s Block Part 2 | The Bane of Your Resistance - March 26, 2013

    […] previous post introduced the idea of keeping an appreciative journal where you focus on the positive and on […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: