Journaling Conversations

Many of my journal entries take the form of conversations, similar to a discussion, debate, or interview between two parties. Most often I use the interview approach.

I play one role, usually as myself. I assign the other role to a different perspective, such as my future self, the universe, or the spirit of a departed friend. Then I switch back and forth between these roles, journaling the conversation.

When I’m writing as myself, I write just like I’m speaking to someone.

When I write as the other party, I imagine tuning in to their perspective, and then I write from that perspective, as if I’m talking directly to my original self.

I’ve practiced this enough that I find it easy to switch back and forth between the two roles without having to pause much. Sometimes it feels like one part of my brain handles one side and another part handles the other side.

Lately I’ve been using reality for the second role. I’ve been having a lot of interesting conversations that give me useful insights this way.

You could say it’s similar to writing a dialog scene from a movie or play, but in this case one role is personal, and the other role is impersonal.

That separation between the roles is key. When I write from my own perspective, I’m inside the sphere of my character, including my personality, goals, desires, concerns, and so on. When I write from a second, impersonal perspective, I free myself from those limitations, so I can consider issues from a dispassionate distance.

When I write as myself, I may feel attached to what answers come back. But when I write from the other perspective, I’m not concerned about how the answers land. I’m just thinking about sharing the truth as it flow through.

This is super helpful for understanding some situations better and coming up with practical solutions. It’s led to some interesting insights and ideas. I opted to try batch blogging earlier this month as a result of one of these journaling sessions that helped me gain some extra clarity about the idea.

These journaling conversations often feel more open and exploratory than other modes of journaling, and I think the reason is the addition of that impersonal perspective. Note that if you converse with your future self, it’s not as impersonal as conversing with reality, so the insights that come through can be different each way.

If you’re into journaling, I encourage you to try this simple method. Have a conversation with reality. Have a conversation with life. Have a conversation with a figure you admire. See if it gives you any useful insights about your goals, projects, or challenges.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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