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.


“We seldom think of what we have but always of what we lack.”

                                                              Arthur Schopenhauer
                                                              German Philosopher


Arthur Schopenhauer was a 19thcentury German philosopher who is sometimes referred to as the philosopher of pessimism because he believed individual will to be more a motivator for human thought and behavior than reason. The main idea of his philosophy was “The world is my representation” which he used as the basis of his doctoral dissertation which he published in 1813 and then revised and re-published in 1847. The quote above is part of The Art of Controversy, five essays which were published posthumously; it can be found in the essay titled On the Wisdom of Life: Aphorisms.

The full quote:

"Our constant discontent is for the most part rooted in the impulse of self-preservation. This passes into a kind of selfishness, and makes a duty out of the maxim that we should always fix our minds upon what we lack, so that we may endeavour [sic] to procure it. Thus it is that we are always intent on finding out what we want, and on thinking of it; but that maxim allows us to overlook undisturbed the things which we already possess; and so, as soon as we have obtained anything, we give it much less attention than before. We seldom think of what we have, but always of what we lack."



Journal Entry: Is your glass half empty or half full? What about your children -- do you see optimism or pessimism in the comments they make? Describe a conversation you’ve had with your child about these two ways of looking at life.


Karna Converse 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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