Writing Therapy: Using A Pen and Paper to Enhance Personal Growth



Inviting novelty to journal-writing

“Give your novelty-loving brain something to engage it; it will help your brain to learn something new or deepen an existing positive memory. Write with a purple gel pen (Kay’s favourite) or illustrate your writing with a crayon border. Go to a coffee shop you have never been to before or write in the park. You can take novelty even further by identifying the personal relevance: How does this novelty choice relate to me? Why is this important? How does this feed my soul?”

Deborah Ross, Kathleen Adams, “Your Brain on Ink”, p. 94

How much writing is enough for establishing a regular writing practice?

Kathleen Adams: “my anecdotal evidence suggested that a new journal writer could establish an ongoing writing habit if s/he wrote about three times a week, for about twenty minutes at a time, with pause for reading and reflection, over at least six weeks’ time. […]

I have long been a proponent of not writing every day unless it is in the service of a specific practice, such as a prayer journal, a medication/side effect log, or the first thirty (sixty, ninety) days of abstinence abstinence from drugs, alcohol, or other substances. The reason I discourage the idea of writing every day is two-fold: first, it sets up an unrealistic expectation; a “miss” of a day or two is considered a failure. Second, I don’t think daily writing is necessarily more effective. A minimum of three times a week, accompanied by regular reflection

(pp. 71-72).

I still think twenty minutes three times a week is great if you can do it, but I no longer consider it the gold standard. If you can commit as few as five to fifteen minutes per write, several times a week, it will likely get you attuned.

(p. 72).

from “Your Brain on Ink”

A beginner’s guide to keeping a journal