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Writing Your Way to What You Want

Writing

“All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.” ~M. C. Richards

There is an art to living, to creating your life on your terms based on your desires, talents, values, and dreams. In a culture where we must attend thirteen years of school, we’re rarely taught to look within and name what it is we want from life.

We’re rarely taught that we have the power within to live the lives we want, not what other people expect of us.

While we can’t control what happens to us, we can control how we respond to what happens based on what we want.

Five years ago I resigned from teaching in the public schools after giving birth to my son. A year and a half later, awaiting the birth of my daughter, I struggled. I missed teaching. I missed connecting with kids in a classroom.

I missed having something in my life that was my own. While I felt blessed and lucky to be home, I also wanted to teach. But I didn’t know how to join these two desires that felt mutually exclusive.

Having written in a journal throughout my twenties and into my thirties, I understood the power of pinning down thoughts into words. So within the swell of this profound transformation into motherhood, I began to write about the things I knew I wanted:“I want to teach. I want to be home with my children.”

The more I wrote about what I wanted, the more specific I became:

“I want to teach at-risk kids about writing in a journal. I want to teach them about the power of their words. I want to have flexibility. I want to inspire kids.”

I didn’t know how to get what I wanted. I just kept writing about what I wanted. And as I continued to write, I became clearer and more specific about the life I wanted to create.

One bright summer day a few months later, I was sitting on the front step of my house when a friend walked up with her neighbor.

After learning that he worked with kids through the Minneapolis police department, I told him about my desire to teach kids the practice of journaling, but that I had no idea where I would teach or how I would find the kids to come to a class.

As I spoke, his eyes widened and a smile grew across his face.

“I’ll get you the kids if you can find a space to teach them,” he said.

That week I met a retired English teacher who owned an art studio a few blocks away. I shared my ideas with him and asked if I could use his space once a week to teach. He was enthusiastic. The next week, a large van pulled up in front of the art studio and out spilled ten or so kids. Together, week after week, we wrote about our lives.

This journey began with seeds I planted within the blank pages of my journal. Three years later, they continue to bloom. 

I have since written a master’s thesis on the power of journaling and continue to teach kids in schools throughout Minneapolis, including an ongoing class for urban teenage mothers.

The practice of writing in a journal is a powerful tool for cultivating what you want from life.

We are artists, creating our lives out of the materials of our experiences, thoughts, and dreams. When we write, we empower ourselves and breathe life into what we want and how we want to live.

You can’t always know exactly how your desires will materialize into reality. This is where faith comes in.

If you show up, listen to and speak from your heart, and then let go of the need to know how, you can let the universe or God or quantum physics or whatever that thing is that helps our dreams become a reality do its magic.

If you could create your life to be exactly how you want, what would it look like? Dare to imagine the perfect life for you. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of people do you want to spend time with? How do you want to feel? How do you want to make the people around you feel?

Where do you want to live? What do you want to do for your work? What do you want your home to look and feel like? How do you want to live—do you want freedom, stability, love, acceptance? Do you want adventure, wisdom, and laughter?

Writing Exercise: What Do You Want?

To begin, simply sit down and open your journal to a blank page. Beginning with the words, “I want,” write everything that comes into your mind. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar. If you get stuck, begin again with the words “I want.”

As you write, be as specific and courageous as possible. Don’t let your fears and insecurities step in and block what you want. Don’t listen to that critical, mean voice within that says, “This is not possible for you.”

Like you are flicking at a piece of lint, flick away negative thoughts that only bring you down. These thoughts are not real; they come from our shadow side. And nothing shrinks a shadow better than a beam of light. Shine light on all that you are and all that you want.

Remember always, you are the ultimate artist creating your life.

Photo by John O’Nolan

About Janna Krawczyk

Janna Brayman Krawczyk lives in Minneapolis with her two children & husband. She’s written in a journal for over half of her life and has finally accepted that life is not easy, yet our struggles and obstacles are what inspire insight and wisdom. She shares the art & practice of journaling through her classes, workshops, and website, www.ourlivesourstories.com.

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  • Starting a journal saved me. Almost four years ago I lost my much loved husband suddenly to a massive heart attack, he was only 46 years old at the time. Family and friends rushed to my side and supported me through the days. But the nights were unbearable.

    I started to write letters to my husband and to tell him about what was going on. Having an outlet to still share with him, released a lot of the tension and pain.

    I have learned how to carry on without his physical presence, but I still write, actually now more than ever.

    I write about where I moved to a year after he passed. I write about all the wonderful little things in my life and I still write to him…but now mostly I write for me.

    My journal of choice is my blog ‘Life & Writing on Roatan’
    at my website – Roatan Vortex.

  • Starting a journal saved me. Almost four years ago I lost my much loved husband suddenly to a massive heart attack, he was only 46 years old at the time. Family and friends rushed to my side and supported me through the days. But the nights were unbearable.

    I started to write letters to my husband and to tell him about what was going on. Having an outlet to still share with him, released a lot of the tension and pain.

    I have learned how to carry on without his physical presence, but I still write, actually now more than ever.

    I write about where I moved to a year after he passed. I write about all the wonderful little things in my life and I still write to him…but now mostly I write for me.

    My journal of choice is my blog ‘Life & Writing on Roatan’
    at my website – Roatan Vortex.

  • Thanks so much for this Janna. Just sat and wrote a huge list. It's amazing how putting them down has already made me feel more positive towards my dreams.

    My journal (when I keep it) has usually been a place where I vent and get angry. I don't think I'll restart my journal right now – don't want to slip into old habits – but I'll definitely put aside a small notebook and fill it with all the things I want, along with ways to start getting them.

    Kudos!

    Sam

  • Starting a journal saved me. Almost four years ago I lost my much loved husband suddenly to a massive heart attack, he was only 46 years old at the time. Family and friends rushed to my side and supported me through the days. But the nights were unbearable.

    I started to write letters to my husband and to tell him about what was going on. Having an outlet to still share with him, released a lot of the tension and pain.

    I have learned how to carry on without his physical presence, but I still write, actually now more than ever.

    I write about where I moved to a year after he passed. I write about all the wonderful little things in my life and I still write to him…but now mostly I write for me.

    My journal of choice is my blog 'Life & Writing on Roatan'
    at my website http://roatanvortex.com

  • Anna Riccio

    This is a great post! I look back at a few things that I have been writing on my journal for a few years, and ALL of them became reality. The way I see it, we have to know + want + believe + act to get it.

  • Clau

    …thank you for sharing this amazing insight!
    I made note of the exercise for myself…

    Hope this is ok…
    🙂
    Thanks so much!

  • Thank you for using my photo to complement your lovely words. As a decades-long journal keeper myself, I can vouch for the fact that it is a worthy practice. Mae West once said, “Keep a diary and someday it'll keep you.”

    Indeed. 🙂

  • touchyourdream

    Thanks for sharing your valuable experience.

  • anitaea

    What a fabulous article. What a fabulous truth!

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  • sophia

    Thank you. I’ve just written down all of my wants and it’s a big list! I guess I know exactly what I want after all. And who I want to be.

    I haven’t kept a diary/journal in nearly seven years…. I’ve been wanting to start up again for some time but have so much and yet so little to talk about, where do I begin? But I think it would really help me find my self, I guess I just need to sit down and let the words flow…. thank you.

  • Robert_22

    madagascar is in africa, you moron

  • DannySCR

    Thank you for this post! My life has been somewhat stressfull recently and there have been a lot of changes. Im glad I was introduced to this new technique in which I know for sure I will use! Cheers

  • hannah

    this is a pile of shit

  • teste

    este

  • madethatway

    From personal experience, I can say that writing out what you want – with the sheer force of passion behind it – actually works. At least, for me.

    In my own case, there are three instances that brought me results within days – and one, within 6 weeks.

    When I say, ‘with the sheer force of passion behind it’, I mean that in my own case, there were three life situations that had become intolerable to me – and writing what I wanted to occur in my private journal was done with a feeling of fiery rage against the current status quo at the time. It was a raging desire that what was, MUST be destroyed and ‘flushed’ away and be replaced with what was needed/desired.

    Although I had no idea what I was doing back then and thought I was just ‘letting off steam’ in my journal, it was a few years later that I recalled those journal entries and how startlingly quickly and accurately things had changed as a result. I now have a much better understanding of what I was actually doing.

    It’s potent, and it’s effective, but for me personally, there must be genuine passion/fire/rage to back it up, or I might as well be pi**ing against the wind.