#16: Getting Unstuck is Easier than You Think

#16: Getting Unstuck is Easier than You Think

Do you ever get stuck?

Stuck is staying in a relationship that stopped working long ago. Or eating another pint of Ben & Jerry’s while thinking about how tight your jeans are. Stuck is avoiding that half-completed project begging for attention on your desk.

Stuck is uncomfortable. It makes us feel hopeless, helpless, full of despair.

Paralysis sets in when we don’t know the *real* reason we’re stuck. Not knowing why we’re stuck means we’re unable to take action. But getting unstuck is easier than you think.

I know this because the Page and I share a 300 sq.ft. studio apartment.

I chose this apartment. Granted, it was empty and the warm bamboo floors were awash with golden autumn sunlight when I first saw it. I probably would have signed the lease on a prison cell with that kind of natural light.

So our tiny, fabulously-lit apartment was driving me crazy last week. I didn’t have enough space. The obvious solution? Move.

But just *thinking* about the enormous undertaking of a move left me stricken. The packing, the change of address, the cable installation, all those stairs…

I got stuck.

The Page found me lying on the bed, paralyzed and hyperventilating.

It turns out the solution was much simpler than a change of residence. I just needed some boxes. Boxes to store off-season items, to make room, to clear out the clutter.

The Page left to get boxes, and suddenly I could breathe again. No U-haul necessary!

Discovering your sticking point will propel you into action and toward a solution. Let’s get you energized and inspired again.

Get our your journal and answer the question:

  • Why am I stuck?

The first few answers are predictable. They sound like something your partner, your mother, or your boss might say.

Keep digging. Answer it again. And again. And again.

  • Why am I REALLY stuck?

Write every answer to that question, for as long as you need to, until you hit the one that causes a jolt. A little burst of electricity.

The right answer is the one that motivates you to take action, right now.

And you may find that the solution is easier than you expected.

#15: Plants vs. Zombies, IRL

#15: Plants vs. Zombies, IRL

This is a guest post by my lovely and talented sister, Kelley. She’s going to tell you how to use journaling to keep zombies from eating your brains. I’m not kidding. ~Kristin

A while back, I wrote a guest post for Journaling Saves about Emotional Vampires. Despite all appearances, I’m not personally obsessed with strange monsters of the “B Movie” genre.

However, this week, as I was getting my butt kicked by pole vaulting Zombies in the video game “Plants Vs. Zombies”, I couldn’t help but notice some of the obvious connections to what was happening in my life, and the lives of my friends.

Journaling will do that for you.

When Video Games Resemble Life

For those among you who aren’t aware of the charming characteristics of zombies – zombies want to eat your brains. They aren’t sly. They aren’t subtle. And they don’t move very fast. Mostly they shamble along, careful not to drop too many non-essential body parts, always moving in the same direction. For such mindless beings, they are incredibly single-minded in their focus.

Unlike Emotional Vampires, zombies don’t pretend to be anything other than what they are. In fact, when you first see them, despite their gross appearance (which they can’t really help – having recently exited graves), it’s perfectly obvious that they are monsters.

They move slowly enough so that with any basic level of strategy and organization, you can rid yourself and your lawn of them faster than you can pull up dandelions or head off the Jehovah’s Witnesses marching toward your front door.

So why do we let them in to eat our brains?

This, I think, is the real question. We all can recognize our own personal zombies, and we can see them coming. We have scripts, old dialogues, roles that we know well. We think things are buried, but they keep getting dug up again. Zombies refuse to stay where you’ve left them. You know who they are.

Maybe for you it’s that friend that always succeeds in making you feel guilty and wrong for things that you have no responsibility for and no control over. Her emails show up like clockwork monthly or annually, despite your best intentions to root her out of your life once and forever.

Perhaps it’s a family member who thinks you should buy into his reality – who argues with you until you are unsure if you‘re truly sane. Some are co-workers who should have their own personal horror sound track playing a warning as they advance upon us in our defenseless pre-caffeinated state to make outrageous demands and even more ludicrous claims.

In-laws are frequently zombies, moving in on us, (or in with us) despite our best intentions, and evading our fences and defenses. They show up with way too much baggage. They make it through the front door, and then it’s game over. They eat our brains.

In the game “Plants vs. Zombies”, a player plants various “defense” flowers and weapons such as Pea-Shooters and Wall-nuts. My favorite plant is the sunflower, which beams at you and then gives you extra sun.

If you plant enough sunflowers, you’re almost assured of having enough sunshine to fight the wave attacks of the zombies and their cohorts.

Journaling the Zombies Away

Maybe we’re most vulnerable in our personal lives when we’ve neglected our own needs. Perhaps we haven’t planted enough sunflowers to give us hope and energy when the long shadow of an approaching zombie darkens our door.

  • What are YOUR sunflowers? How can you cultivate them and nourish them, so they give you ammunition for your pea-shooters to stave off that next zombie attack?
  • What do your zombies look like? What kinds of warnings do they give you before they approach?
  • What can you do to provide wall-nuts and tater mines to keep the zombies from even approaching your front porch in the first place?

Psychic defense is everyone’s personal responsibility. You deserve more than to live your life like the walking dead.

Journaling: a Journey Through the Senses

Journaling: a Journey Through the Senses

This is a guest post from Nicole Tilde, who shares her unique take on journaling and love of writers with us. Many thanks to Nicole for contributing to Journaling Saves!

I see a crack in the window pane, bricks the color of fading clay and the green husks of Magnolia leaves bouncing outside. A flashing cursor prompting me to move, go forward and seek.

The muffled sounds of cars moving down the distant highway and my cat snoring beside me are soothing. Sounds I can remember so well that they often blend in, hardly noticed until I cup a proverbial hand to my ear.

Journaling does this for me, it cups my ear and I stand in attention. It brings sound closer and commands me to notice what I notice.


Digital Journaling: Make the Switch

Digital Journaling: Make the Switch

Let’s give a warm welcome to today’s guest poster, the talented journalist Sam Lytle! Read on for his words on today’s journaling technology.

Making the switch to digital journaling? These are the features you should look for.

Technology: A Blessing and a Curse

Depending on who you talk to, it can be almost equally argued that the progression of technology has either a positive or detrimental effect on society. With social media we are able to connect like never before, but at the same time less attention is paid to grammar and punctuation and now much of our communication is in emoticons, LOL’s and quotes credited to people that never existed.

This information revolution has taken a similar toll on journal keeping. Never has it been so easy to write in your personal journal at any time and at any place. Conversely, never has conveying our deepest inner thoughts and feelings been less personal.

I have filled many handwritten journals. They are full of funny and awkward moments, entries that span dozens of pages and hand drawn doodles. In the classic “What would you take if your house was on fire and you could only grab one thing?”, for me, it would be the box that holds these books.


How to Break in a Blank Journal

How to Break in a Blank Journal

This is a guest post from the lovely Melissa Donovan, founder of writingforward.com. We’re not related, but we should be! Melissa has some fabulous tips on how to overcome that blankaphobia that can plague us with a new journal. Thanks so much to Melissa for contributing this helpful post. Read on! ~Kristin

The blank page is legendary among writers. Some of us embrace it and the infinite possibilities that it holds. That blank page is ours for the taking, and we look forward to filling it with our wonderful, magical words.

But there are a lot of us who dread the blank page and even fear it. How can we turn it into something beautiful or worthwhile?

And if a single, blank page is frightening, then a blank journal must be downright terrifying: a whole book full of blank pages! And we’re supposed to fill it up with wit and wonder? It doesn’t seem possible.

But it is.