* This blog entry is introductory to next one about journal writing. Read it at https://fieliesdekock.com/2014/03/17/article-on-writing-journal-writing/
To be a good writer, one must have a ‘writer’s voice’. To have a ‘writer’s voice’ it is important to have opinions about lots of things in life. To have opinions one must spend a great deal of time thinking about various subjects and issues.
We are Spirit within a Body
A human being is not only a piece of meat filled with bones and blood and water. Man consists of body, mind and spirit and soul. We are complicated beings. We must understand that we don’t just have a body to look after, but also a spirit/soul/mind. Not only needs our body to be fed with food, but our spirits also need food. Most people are religious and believe in some or other god. I for instance, believe in the Living God of the Bible. So for me to become a whole human being, I need more that only food for my body. I need to learn of and communicate with God in order to feed my soul/ spirit. We are spiritual beings in fleshly bodies.
Making Sense out of Life
Sometimes things happen that don’t make any sense to us and true to our human nature, we want to make sense of it. Sometimes we talk to a trusted friend about it and sometimes we keep it to ourselves. It happens to every person at some stage. It is good to talk to someone about our problems and worries and concerns. But sometimes there isn’t anyone to talk to. Or we don’t want to talk to anyone about certain things. What to do then?
Dreams and Goals
Apart from experiencing things and having fears and problems, we all have dreams and goals in life too. Those dreams and goals will not just happen without us doing something to make it happen. Therefore it is good to think about the things we want from life and write it down – because when we write things down, they start to become real in our minds.
If you don’t think about life and what it is that you want to do, then you will probably end up doing whatever comes along and not what you are supposed to do with your life.
We all have different dreams, talents and passions. Unfortunately, there are many people today who don’t know what their life’s dream is, because they never take the time to think about life and to learn to know themselves. Don’t let that happen to you.
It is therefore important that we learn to know ourselves – our dreams, talents, passions, short falls and behavioural patterns. Just as a sportsman have to practice every day to become fit and to master every bit of skill there is to master in his sport, so we have to ‘practice’ every day to become the best we can be.
Only you can be you, so be the best you you can be.
(Yes, I know it sounds cheesy and I don’t know if someone else had said it before.)
How do we go about Becoming the Best we can be?
By thinking – thinking about ourselves, our behaviour, the way we handle things and the way we don’t. By thinking about things that are important to us, things we don’t like or things that we do like. By thinking about what we want to do for others and for ourselves. And by thinking about our points of view on different issues we hear about on the news, such as global warming, abortion, human rights, world politics etc.
Make Time to Think
These days we seem to be too busy to think. We have school or work, sports, chess practice, piano or violin lessons, extra maths classes and then we still have to watch TV and DVDs, listen to music, go to the movies, keep up with our Facebook and Twitter friends and do homework. It’s exhausting!
We don’t have time to become quiet and listen to ourselves. That way we get used to other people thinking for us and making decisions on our behalves. Teenagers wear what Hannah Montana wears and listen to Justin Bieber because they are told to listen to him.
Children make their parents buy them toys they can’t afford, because the TV ads say that everyone must have them. But do all girls really like to look like Hannah or like to listen to Justin or do children really need those expensive toys?
Most children today don’t know the answer to these questions. They just do as they are told because they don’t know what they really like, because they don’t think for themselves.
The same applies to adults.
Introduce Yourself to Yourself
I want you to make a stand and change all that today. I want to encourage you to start thinking for yourselves.
Make time every day to spend thinking. It can be early in the morning (if you are an early bird) or in evening before going to bed. Or somewhere in between. Go to your room and switch off everything so that you can hear the quietness. (And leave your cell phone in another room.) Or go outside and sit or lie on the grass or sit on the porch. (And leave your cell phone inside.) Just be quiet and allow your thoughts to flow naturally. Eventually you will start thinking about the things that are important to you. Keep a notebook or your journal close and write done things that you don’t want to forget.
A Few Exercises to get you Started
- Make a list of the people you love most.
- Make a list of the people you don’t like hanging out with.
- Make a list of the things you like doing most.
- Make a list of the things you really don’t like doing.
- Make a list of your favourite subjects at school/favourite tasks at work.
- Make a list of your least favourite school subjects/least favourite tasks at work.
- Make a list of five things you want to do in life (like climbing Mount Everest or run the Comrades Marathon, writing a book etc.)
- Make a list of ten places in the world you want to visit.
- Make a list of your five best character traits.
- Make a list of your five less attractive character traits.
- Make a list of five things you think you should become better at.
- Write down five nice things about every person in your immediate family. (Yes, everyone.)
- Write down five jobs you think you should like to do/ had done.
- Write down five things you like about your best friend.
- Write down five things that you would want your friends and family to say about you.
Creative Writing Exercise
By doing a few of these exercises you will be ready for the following blog entry on journal writing. Read it at https://fieliesdekock.com/2014/03/17/article-on-writing-journal-writing/
- Take a 20-minute thinking session on your bed or outside in the garden. Take a notebook with you.
- Do at least two exercises on the list above in your writing club journal.
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©2007 Riëtte de Kock