Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.

I have three spiral-bound journals on the top shelf of my desk and one in the drawer of my nightstand. I don't write in each of them every day--or even every week--yet each serves a purpose.

In one, I make notes about the books I've read and in another, I reflect on a Bible passage or Sunday sermon. I use the third to unwind, to process and work through my feelings about a specific comment, event or activity that's been weighing on my mind. The journal in my nightstand, though, has become my favorite -- and the most useful.

This journal is my One Sentence (or Gratitude) journal. The concept is simple and has been popularized by many, including Sarah Ban Breathnach and Gretchin Rubin.

Before I turn the light off, I jot down a sentence or two about the day. Sometimes, it's simply a comment about an activity I participated in or how the weather affected my plans. But sometimes, the entry relives a conversation with my husband or one of our children and after I close the notebook, I know the words will be the basis of something more, something I'll write in the future.

Last summer, I added a six-word requirement to this journal, following SMITH Magazine's Six Word Memoirs storytelling project as a guideline. Telling a story in six words wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be, but the process made each of the 12 moments I captured more memorable -- and I'm pretty sure I've laid the foundation for five or six short essays.

Journal Entry: Describe a moment from your day in six words. Repeat five times during the upcoming week so that by the end of the week, you've captured five separate moments.

Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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