In our last blog, we covered what a “Pandemic Journal” is and why it is a powerful tool for processing experiences and emotions during this time. Now we want to share with you some ideas for getting started.
How does one get started?
How does one get started? Easy! Just three simple steps.
STEP 1: Get the materials. Find a notebook or staple a few pieces of paper together.
STEP 2: Create a Cover: Questions to consider when creating a cover: What will you name your Pandemic Journal? Will your name be serious? Funny? Will there be an illustration or “word cloud” image? Will you print a photo of yourself?
STEP 3: Begin Writing! How often should one write? There are no rules; write daily or weekly or even multiple times in one day if it helps you process “stuff” you are thinking about.
What should I write about?
Here is where the real teaching comes in. It’s possible to write in any genre, and the writing can be serious, formal research, free-verse poetry, complex musings and analysis of feelings, or stories. Below you will find a list to get you started:
- Write about yourself: how old are you? What are your favorite colors and foods and games and school subjects?
- What are the silver linings of this time? What are you most grateful for?
- What are you missing or longing for?
- What do you hope to be able to do when this time is over?
- Who are you spending most of your time with and who do you miss the most?
- Write a poem about your emotions, or list your feelings.
- What have you learned from this experience?
- Keep in mind that you are not “stuck” at home, but “safe” at home and describe the fun things you and your family do to keep busy. Which of those things do you think you would not have been able to do before? Which are the most fun? What are you learning about (cooking, chores, entertaining siblings, creative new games?) What are you watching on TV? Are you researching a topic of special interest that you never had time to think about?
- Take a photo of yourself or your family and write about what you are doing during this time.
- Include some art work you have created during this time.
- Clip some newspaper headlines and write the articles.
Even More Ideas to write about…
- What do you want your future self to remember from this time? (Write yourself a letter to read in 5 or 10 or 20 years.)
- Describe all the fun ways you are staying connected to friends and family and community (i.e. sidewalk chalk greetings, Zoom or other online calls, hearts or teddy bears in windows, etc.)
- Describe what you want history to remember from this time.
- How is home learning different or the same from school learning?
- What do you want your teachers to know about you right now? Your parents? Your friends?
- What are the creative ways you’ve celebrated special occasions (holidays, birthdays, etc.)?
- What books are you reading? What do you think about those books?
- Write a fictional children’s story about a child living through Spring 2020.
- Are you a non-fiction buff? Write down the facts about COVID-19 or the statistics: when was the first case in your state or town?
- Write ANYTHING you want to remember from this time or explore your feelings and ideas.
Everyone Can Benefit!
Pandemic Journals can be a special way to keep learning alive through writing and thinking. Any genre of writing works: personal narrative, fictional narrative, lists, poems, artistic and creative writing, informational writing, reporting, statistics, analysis and critical thinking, opinions, poetry, and just about anything else you can think of.
The list of topics is endless, but the end result is the same. Psychologists, doctors, parents and teachers all know that journal writing helps ease trauma, analyze complex emotions and alleviates stress. Everyone can benefit from Pandemic Journals: all you need is a notebook, a pen, and the motivation to write!
Let us know how it goes for you!