Writing as an exploratory act can be enormously beneficial to the growth process.
Any kind of writing can be helpful, but I've seen the greatest impact when people go outside of the usual journaling process (this thing happened, I felt this way about it, my next step is this, I think this is connected to XYZ moment from my childhood, and so forth) and instead let the brain do stranger, more adventurous work. Rather than looking at the writing journal as a way to chart or record experiences, or to dig deep into past traumas or joys, I recommend here using the journal as a playground for your brain.
What does that mean? How do we begin? To help, I offer two free resources designed to kick off exploratory writing:
#StealThisLine is available through Twitter, and offers single phrases that can serve as jumping-off points for no-holds-barred, let-your-brain-go writing. Grab the line, pick up your pen and paper (or laptop or phone), jot it down, and let your brain go from there. Stuck for anything to say? Just write that line over and over again until something else happens. Give yourself permission not to make sense. This isn't about making sense (or great art, for that matter,) it's about giving your brain permission to play. Just follow @martyoutloud and keep an eye out for the postings!
Sign up for The Fierce Voice to receive an exploratory writing prompt every week or two. These are more extensive prompts designed to move you out of the ordinary brainspace, get fierce and free in your creative thinking, and, like #stealthisline, away from a focus on trying to make sense. Use the contact form here to sign up and start playing!
Here's an example to get you started. Answer these questions without overthinking them, and in any order. While these can be answered with one word or phrase, use them as jumping-off points for full sentences or paragraphs or stanzas. Write them into a letter or poem or story or song. Draw a picture if you're moved to do so, especially if you can't draw.
What is something it is currently impossible for you to do? (example: fly)
What would have to change about you in order to do that thing? (example: grow wings)
What would you do if you could do that thing? (example: fly to London)
How would your life change?
Would you want the change to be temporary or permanent?
What would your mother think?
Would you lose your job?
Would you become the only creature like you in the world?
How would it feel to be this new creature?
Would you change your name?
Would you tell anyone what happened?
In the end, would you be grateful or resentful of the change?
What would you give to change back?