What is Journaling for Creativity?

A Guest Post by Andrew Shackcloth

SONY DSCWhat is Journaling for Creativity and who would benefit from including it in their lives?

Journaling for creativity is not a single journaling practice. It is a concept that uses a collection of many different journaling practices along with a heady mix of mindfulness, awareness, science, active use of the senses, curiosity development and constant review. All of these combine into a synergy which forms a journaling method focused on feeding and developing the creative energies and abilities of the journaler.

Individuals who may benefit from journaling for creativity are those who need to draw on their creative ability, either as part of their daily work or in order to perform a creative activity for personal reasons. When being creative, all artists draw from a personal pool of creative ideas, and as in the physical world, if a pool is being constantly drawn from, it will eventually dry up, becoming arid and empty of new ideas.

Journaling for creativity provides you with new eyes that allow you to view the world and its events with a curiosity and an awareness that is unusual in today’s world. This awareness allows the discovery of a hidden world, one that becomes the source for a torrent of imaginative thoughts to fill your creative pool.

Journaling for creativity is mainly practiced out in the field; some may be done quietly at home. However, it is mostly performed wherever items or events of interest are encountered. This in turn means that the creative journaler always has their journal about them, and because they use many forms of media, they may be carrying a notebook, sketch pad, camera, video recorder, sound recorder, digital journal, bag or any combination of these.

Nevertheless it is the awareness that they carry in their minds, and the ability to use senses actively, that forms the heart of journaling for creativity. For example, think of a park bench that you know well and consider what things you might record about your bench. When we make an entry in a creativity journal, we spread our awareness and would consider the following, with any entry including the most evocative observations;

  • What are the textures of the bench and the area around it?
  • What tales are told by the wear on its surfaces and in the area around it?
  • Does it enjoy the sun or the shade, and at what time of day/year?
  • What can be seen when sitting there?
  • What can be heard when sitting there?
  • What are the smells when sitting there?
  • The people who use it, are they young or old?
  • Who uses it now, in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and during the night?
  • Who used to use it, might someone have proposed there?
  • It’s importance to those people.
  • How is it constructed, fixed to the ground, maintained?
  • And more…

I hope you can see that, to the creative journaler, the bench is just the centre of a series of interactions that it causes in its world. Interactions that move away from the bench much like ripples on water, passing through and affecting the present world, and the people there, as well as the world of the past and the future.

It is this awareness that allows you to find wonder and inspiration where others only see a simple bench.

Learning to actively sense the world is not difficult to master, and in the Journaling for Creativity section on my blog there are many enjoyable journal based games designed to assist the journaler in seeing beyond self-imposed sensory filters.

There is much more to say but we will finish on one other major difference between most journaling practices and journaling for creativity, which is the regular review of your past entries.

Entries are made deliberately emotive. They are filled with strong sensory imagery, thoughts, feelings, visual imagery, emotions and insights from an event. In this way they are like memory capsules, brimming with recollections of a moment now past. Then, when an entry is reviewed, the memories, feelings, sounds, scents, sights and emotions of that distant moment rush forth and are with us once again.

In this way, by browsing past entries whilst reviewing, there is a constant feeding of the creative mind, and a constant filling of your creative pool.


Andrew ShackclothAndy Shackcloth stumbled upon journaling after writing tutors insisted that it would be a good thing for him to do. Practicing journaling and his subsequent research into journaling, lead to a personal epiphany that changed his view of the world and the direction of his writingHe promotes journaling for creativity via his personal blog, Shack’s Comings and Goings, a dedicated Facebook page, and Twitter feeds.

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