Most people remember their first day at school, or at least something about it… especially if it was particularly emotional. The ends of the continuum from traumatic to ecstatic are always where extreme emotions lie and thus these leave stronger impressions.
Consider your 1st day of school and place it somewhere on the following continuum:
What value would you score your first experience in the classroom?
Now, write a sentence that focusses on the reason you chose this rating. Was it a happy day or a difficult day?
Jot down any memories that pop into your head…
To access, clarify or expand your memories of this significant life experience, ask yourself some, or all, of the following questions:
What comments were made in the family about school and my approaching attendance?
What did I wear?
How did I get there?
Who took me?
What instructions was I given from home?
Was I anxious, excited, boisterous, quiet…?
What were my first impressions?
How did these change during the day?
What was the room like?
Who was my teacher? Did I like him/her?
How many children were there?
Did I connect with anyone?
What did I do in class?
How did I get home at the end of the day?
Was my experience discussed over dinner that night?
What was said?
Add any further questions stimulated by this list…
Combine the answers to these questions with your original jottings of memories of the day.
Use these notes to shape the tale of your first school experience, written from the heart… so it tells not just what happened that day, but also how you felt about it and perhaps even the effect it had on you going forward.
You will find my musings about my first day of school Here
This exercise is a quick way to take stock of your writing goals. It is useful any time you wish to review your progress, reassess your goals and/or refocus on your writing. It is also a perfect exercise to find new direction after you’ve been derailed by some taxing and emotional event such as a bushfire like those that ravage our country this summer.
Take the following questions one by one and answer them as fully as you can:
What were my writing hopes for this period (the last year, 3 months, month etc)?
What did I achieve?
What is the difference between my hopes and achievements?
What are my next steps?
What else will I do as I move forward?
Your answer to the third question will either confirm that you have achieved all you had hoped or highlight what steps you need to take to fulfil your outstanding goals. Identifying these steps will leave you free to consider the direction your writing will take as you move into the next month, quarter or year. This, then, is the foundation for your next set of writing goals.
In order to get into the zone for writing, it is useful to clear our minds of ‘head-chatter’. This is mind activity made up of the remnants of whatever day to day activities we’ve been involved in prior to moving into our writing time.
Thoughts continually come and go, and vie for top position in our minds. Attached to these thoughts are emotions, which distract us from our task unless we still them. Willing them away is often not enough to dislodge them, so we need to clear them out – at least for the duration of our writing session.
There are various mind-clearing techniques, but for now the following simple exercise will give you a starting point to work with until my next post.
Sit quietly and consider your day so far. What have you been doing? Has it been a pleasant morning/day? Have you had issues to deal with? Have you been feeling overloaded? Have you been relaxing?
Move backwards to yesterday and ask yourself similar questions and any others that come to mind. Now, the day before yesterday, the last week… and so on, until you start to pass from what is close to the surface of your mind to what you have to dredge up. (At this point you’re going into memories and not thoughts or images currently bouncing around your mind.)
Write a list of as many of the thoughts, feelings, images, conversations and issues that rush from you in light of your most recent experiences.
When you think the list is exhaustive, close your eyes and allow more thoughts or feelings to surface. Add these to your list.
Repeat this last step until your mind is clear of current/recent events. These have now been set aside for another time or have lost their immediate importance.
At this point you’re ready to move into your writing zone. Connect with your computer or notebook and delve into your writing session.
This exercise is similar to one I use when I can’t sleep at night because all the tasks I have for the following day invade my mind and push to be remembered. In this case, I write a list of everything I can think of that needs to be done. Then I prioritise them and put the list where I’ll see it in the morning.
This process takes the thoughts/worry about the tasks out of my brain and onto the paper. It also underlines the fact that I can’t do anything more towards them until morning – thus freeing me to sleep.
What else can you do? Find ways to reinforce your commitment. One such
way is to make a collage. The energy you give to this task, and therefore your
writing goals, will multiply the possibility of creating the desired outcome.
Clarify and list your writing goals for 2019.
Write about a page that summarises the outcomes you want to achieve. This may be prose or poetry – whatever comes at the time. Just let your creative juices flow…
Identify key words, phrases, pictures/photographs, objects, or anything else that will symbolise the essence of each of your goals.
Gather these items – take your time with this part of the exercise and make sure you have the most meaningful representation for each goal. For example, a goal might be ‘freedom to write’ – which could have many different meanings, depending on the circumstances. While one person may choose a deserted bush scene to indicate ‘freedom’, another may select a photograph of themselves flying a glider… because they remember the sensation that they were souring on the back of a huge bird with no sound other than the hiss of the wind… and someone else, may simply find a feather for their project.
Check that your items are specific and personal. Replace them if necessary.
Arrange your items on a sheet of cardboard – or two, or three, or four. I once made a huge collage to represent life goals, using four sheets of coloured cardboard taped together, and it continues to bring rewards twenty years later!
Take a break, then come back to your collage with fresh eyes. Do this for as short or as long as feels comfortable – but don’t take so long that you give up!
Secure your treasures to the cardboard.
Hang your masterpiece where your eyes will naturally rest on it several times each day – to reinforce the power of manifestation.
Trust the universe to bring you the opportunities to meet your goals.