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Gwen Tuinman

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creativity

How Gratitude Journaling Enhances A Writing Life

Writing is a lot like running long distances. If we think we can, we can. Our minds and emotions are called upon, and sometimes cajoled, to jettison us across real and self-imposed deadlines. Even when we give it our all, the road can stretch long before us.

Between start and finish lines are magical effortless days anchored by disappointing ones when getting the story down feels like bench-pressing a Buick. And there are mediocre days, at the end of which, we forget the progress made in a manuscript. That’s the nature of art and creativity—knowing it’s so should silence the nattering critic in our heads. Well, at least it should.

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The Writer’s Quandry: Immersion vs Seclusion

A writer’s life involves a delicate balance between immersion and seclusion. We must be of the world to discover events and locales for exploration, to stimulate curiosity, to develop observations and empathy. In the chaos and trauma of everyday life, we learn what it is to be human. Our writing is not restricted to solely the inspiration of our own lives. Otherwise, we’d each write one or two books, perhaps a handful of poems, and be spent. The experiences of loved ones and complete strangers also inform our creations.

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Dream Life, Creativity, Self-knowledge

Twelfth century philosopher, Ibn Khaldun wrote that, “God created man in such a way that the veil of the senses could be lifted through sleep, which is a natural function of man. When that veil is lifted, the soul is ready to learn the things it desires to know in the world of Truth.” What a beautiful and comforting thought.

His idea couples well with the commonly held wisdom of sleeping on it when faced with a critical dilemma. Instead of making an on-the-spot decision, we use the period of sleep to separate our emotion from the issue. Sleeping on it is more than allowing ourselves an overnight cooldown period. Science shows that during slumber, instead of powering down like a computer, our minds work to synthesize the information and scenarios we’re wrestling with.

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