Character sketch of you in the moment of past success

Bring to mind an image of yourself in that moment of success. Notice first how you look, what you are wearing, your facial expression, the aura you project. Then turn inside and explore the feelings. What does it mean to be having this experience of success? Which of your core values does it reflect? What does it represent to you? What is the meaning of this success? How does it shape what you perceive as possible for yourself? Hold the image for at least 20 seconds, using your scent cue if you wish. Then write about yourself in the third person (the “s/he” voice), as if you are a compassionate narrator. Again, write for 7 or 8 minutes by the timer.

Kathleen Adams, “Your Brain on Ink”, p. 105

Captured moment of inside-out success

Bring to mind a time when you had an experience of inside-out success – a time you wanted something and set your intention, focused your attention, and went into action to make it happen (even though the articulation or recognition of these steps might not have been conscious). Be sure that it is an experience that you wanted, independent of what others wanted for you, or what you thought you should want but actually didn’t care about all that much.

When you have the experience, bring it to mind and focus on it for 20 seconds. If you are using a scent cue, inhale deeply. Then write a captured moment of that time in the present tense as if it were happening right now, focusing on sensory details. Write for 7 or 8 minutes by the timer.


Kathleen Adams “Your Brain on Ink”, 104-105

Series of three (Kathleen Adams)

“The series of three uses sequential writes, either using the same technique or using three different techniques. Each write builds on, deepens or extends the one before it. The layering fosters installation because you are focusing on the same material from multiple angles in a short span of time, and the choice of the material will be personally meaningful in a positive way”.

Kathleen Adams, “Your Brain on Ink”, p. 102-103

Leave one side blank

“When I am in simultaneous process and observation mode, I like to leave the left page of my journal or notebook blank and write only on the right side. Switch it up if you are left-handed. Thus I have a “parking lot” for notes on process that I might come back to for the reflection – or I may just leave them as jottings, field notes that accompany the experiment.”

Kathleen Adams, “Your Brain on Ink”, p.102

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”

5-minute sprints: Kathleen Adams

You’ll likely be surprised at how much coherent writing emerges in a spare five minutes. Precede it with a minute of closed-eye deep breathing and follow with a read and reflection write, and you’ve got an oasis of clarity or relief in about eight minutes—a time unit most people agree is manageable even (especially!) on the busiest days.

(p. 53). from “Your Brain on Ink”

Kathleen Adams’ reflective writing prompts

As I read this, I am ∘ aware of. . . . ∘ curious about. . . . ∘ noticing. . . . ∘ surprised by. . . . ■The integrative somatic experience ∘ What happened in my body as I wrote? Where did this write “land” in my body? ∘ Did my handwriting or keyboarding change? ∘ What did I notice emotionally? ∘ Any “aha” moments? Where did I feel them? ■Action orientation ∘ Is there action to take? If so, what? ∘ What is my next step? ∘ How does this learning inform my current reality? ∘ Where can I best place my intention? My attention? My action? ∘ What is one thing I can do today?

(p. 48).

from “Your Brain on Ink”