What to Write?

by Judy Stone-Goldman on December 4, 2009

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leaves on groundIf you are new to writing in a reflective manner, you might wonder what to write about. Since this writing is for you, you can write about anything you wish. Is there something buzzing around in your mind that is bothering you? Write about this. Do you feel like you have too many things on your mind and you wish you could relieve yourself of some of them? Write about one or more of those things. Do you have a problem you would like to solve? Write about this. Is someone at work (or in your personal life) really bugging you? Write about him or her (or them).

If you’re not sure where to start, start with a list of ideas. Here’s a list of things on my mind today:

  1. Licensure exam that I have to take next week (starting to feel nervous)
  2. My elderly aunt, who is dying (feeling sad)
  3. The class I taught at the University yesterday (how did it go? how did it feel to teach again?)
  4. The frost and leaves on the grass outside (winter is coming; thoughts of hunkering down)
  5. Food (always a topic for me—I struggle with food and eating)

In fact, I have already done some reflective writing today. Here’s a brief excerpt to show you how I got myself started and then where I went:

It is morning and I am faced with a long list of things to do today. The counseling exam is bearing down on me—less than a week away. I did some studying while on the elliptical yesterday (not the most intense workout, but kind of soothing for studying), and the concepts are swirling around in my mind. So why am I even writing right now? I feel the “should” of the studying, waiting for me. What do I need to get down in this writing before I am ready to proceed?

 I think of Aunt Ruth, wondering how she is this morning. I wonder if her weakness is making her depressed, despairing; I wonder if she even knows she is weak. Does she know it is morning? Does she have any clue about the people around her? And, I must ask, Does she know she is dying? I wish I could tell her what it feels like to be with her at this stage of her life…

Already at this point in the writing I have connected inside myself to feelings that are with me, feelings that will distract me from other tasks if I do not give them a space. That is a big part of reflective writing: by getting our thoughts and feelings down on paper, we free up the part of our mind that has been holding them. Whatever I do today personally or professionally, I do not want to confuse my concerns about my aunt with the concerns of others or have my sad feelings interfere with the focused tasks I must complete.

As my writing continues (as it did this morning), I find myself touching on other topics, then returning to more reflections on my aunt. I do not have to worry about logic or organization; nor do I have to write a required amount of time. I write to free what is inside of me, and then I move on.

Question for Reflection: What is on your mind today? (make a list)

Writing Prompt: I need to write about _______________ because __________. (choose one of the things on your list and keep writing)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

loopygem March 18, 2011 at 4:37 am

I absolutely love the reflective writing idea! For one thing, this is precisely what I have been doing in a blog that I only started less than two weeks ago. However, I had no idea, until now, that that is even what I was doing.
It is terrific that I now have a “name” to what I have been doing. Purging myself of all the things that are floating around in my mind all of the time. I have been an avid journal writer since my early teens. Now that I am much older I find that I don’t take the time to do that even though I spend a lot of that time on the computer doing mundane things.
Thank you so much for your enlightening articles!


Judy Stone-Goldman
March 18, 2011 at 8:55 am

Loopygem (fun name!), Hello and welcome! So happy to have another reflective writer join in! Hope you’ll give yourself the pleasure of returning to the journaling life and that your writing will blossom. -Judy


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