Wreck This Journal: Be Unpredictable

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One of the reasons I went to London was to shake things up a bit.  I needed to break out of my routine and give my creativity a jolt.  New surroundings along with a temporary shift in my every day life seemed like the perfect way to see things from a new perspective and possibly find new inspiration.  The muse is more likely to sing when she’s given something unexpected to ponder.

I expected my muse to get the same jolt with a Wreck This Journal page that literally gives instructions to make an unpredictable move.  I was wrong on so many levels, but ultimately for the best.  When I first encountered this page, I hesitated and started to do what I always do when given a task . . . I made plans.  About two seconds and three plans later, I realized that I was not following directions.  Nor could I even argue I was interpreting them in my own way, for there’s no such thing as planning an unpredictable move.  So, I closed the journal and put it aside.

A few days later, a random moment struck and I picked up my journal.  Without thinking, I flung it into the kitchen and watched it crash against a wall and ricochet off the laundry room door.  The movement was violent and incredibly irresponsible as I could have broken a couple glasses that were sitting on the counter.  Regardless, I found the whole process exhilarating even though it disrupted my peaceful home and self.  I may have been looking to shake up my muse, but the moment rattled something else entirely.  That flying book made me wonder what kind of writer was hiding underneath the fear created by my inner critic.

Too often, I let my inner critic decide the strength of a piece or whether I will allow anyone to read my work.  The choice should really be my own and I should be making that decision with more confidence. Perhaps, I need to stop over thinking and just start believing.  Who knew flinging a book across the room could lead to such an epiphany?

I documented the event by drawing my journal’s trajectory through the air as it flew into the kitchen. The book took a few hits, but doesn’t that always happen during a brave and bold move?  I’m bound to sustain a few bruises after deciding my novel deserves to do more than just collect dust on my desk.  New readers are on the horizon and the search for an agent is about to begin.

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Previous Wreck This Journal Posts:

Igniting the Spark

Keep Reaching

Letting Go

c.b. 2011

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50 thoughts on “Wreck This Journal: Be Unpredictable

  1. I love this post. Just to hear about you deciding to “toss aside” your inner critic and go for it, test the possibilities, see what could happen, makes me want to stand up and cheer for you! I know I struggle with this too, so it’s always a bit liberating when I see someone else begin to triumph. May it bring you many good things!

  2. Here’s to (literally) throwing that inner critic aside! Best of luck as you search for an agent! I can’t wait to hear about your publishing adventures. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing such an interesting project. I look forward to starting my own “Wreck This Journal”. Another book, I have found helpful to calm that inner critic is “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It is a working program involving writing, creative dates with oneself, reflection….lots of activities.

  4. Good luck with your search! I think you’re a terrific writer, if this blog is anything to go by (which I believe it is) and I’m sending you all the positive agent-finding thoughts I can. This is another exciting step on your adventure, and I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Leila

    Oh yes, the inner critic. It and I go round and round. Sometimes it wins, then I go and sulk in the corner. Then I suck it up and face it again. It often feels as though I’m a pro-wrestler of writing, trying for the title belt.

    I wear down the annoying voice in my head by continuing to write and create. Perseverance will always win the day. :)

    • One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that writers are a pretty tough bunch. Knock us down and we’ll just get back up again. :-)

      Sometimes it feels like I walk away from my inner critic with a black eye, but it never seems to stop me. I know I’m always going to pick up a pen again.

      Keep writing!

    • Thanks – hopefully an agent will feel the same way. :-)

      When I bought Wreck This Journal I had no idea it would have such an impact on my life, both creatively and as a whole. Overall it’s been a great experience.

  6. What an amazing and thought-provoking post. It always amazes me how you think deeply about things I wouldn’t pay any attention to. Thanks for sharing that part of yourself.

  7. Yay! This post is super fantastic! I can only imagine how wonderful it was to be able to give yourself permission to be so liberal with how you approach sharing your writing. Kuddos to you!

    For the record, I would love to read your novel. Judging by your posts I think it would be brimming with potential. I’m seriously jealous of your journal! I want one so I can fling it around too!

    • Thanks! It amazes me still how flinging a journal across the room loosened so many things inside of me. :-)

      I can’t tell you how exciting it is to hear someone say they want to read me novel. It’s been happening more and more lately and it’s very encouraging. Thanks for sending a little more excitement my way.

      I hope you get a journal soon, or just follow along each week with a plain spiral notebook. Go ahead throw it across the room and document how it felt! :-)

  8. You nailed it on this one. :-) When we give ourselves time to think, overthink and plan out our thoughts, words and actions, we damn the flood of wonder, and divert the river from its desired course. It’s like making a flow chart on how to be spontaneous. :-) I loved this moment, just do, just throw, just write. Let others read or react to our words and acts, it’s up to us to write and do, without forethought or critique. Leave the editing of our lives and words to others, build the city, then let go, others can paint it as they desire, but it’s still your city.

    • Thanks! :-)

      You’ve summed it up so well. We must “do.” Without that simple act, there is nothing.

      As always, I love your pearls of wisdom. May we stay inspired, create, and be brave enough to let go. :-)

  9. i love kerri smith! it’s terrible that i’ve bought two of her books and haven’t done much more than read through them. READ them, haven’t DONE anything, ahh terrible! i need to break out of that inner critic/control thing as well, desperately.

    i’m excited to read about your further adventures with this journal!
    and your posts in general of course :)

  10. B

    You know 3 weeks ago I saw the “Wreck this Journal” at Paper Source, for about a week I wondered what it was about and 2 weeks ago I purchased it and started using it. I’ve maybe done a couple of the pages and I find it interesting, its been a challenge to go against the norm. Albeit fun, I liked what you did with yours and hopefully I continue with it.

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