Journaling to Spark Your Creativity

The following poem was sparked by one word – origami – which eventually became the title. One morning, I sat down to write in my journal with no great thoughts or troubles on my mind. Instead, I started writing about a special gift I had gotten for my birthday. My very dear friend and fiber artist Lyn McCormick ( had remembered that I once told her my favorite Christmas present in elementary school had been an origami kit. What else did she do but surprise me with one?  So now, following in the instruction book, I have begun practicing the art of origami, developing the skill and precision needed to make each paper sculpture.

Journaling offers many ways to practice being creative at whatever your art form is. In the Journal to the Self workshop I’ll be teaching in November, you’ll learn 18 journaling techniques to help you discover what’s bubbling about in your subconscious mind. You’ll practice seeing things from different perspectives, and make new connections that can serve as the spark for a painting, a fabric design, a photograph, a poem …

More often than not, a successful poem is the result of writing what at first might seem obvious (origami is indeed “all about the folds and creases”) and keeping pen to paper until something a little less obvious appears. A little like origami itself, given you start with a flat sheet of paper and keep folding and creasing until it becomes a crane, a frog, a chrysanthemum. My poem started with the word origami and ended up being a reflection on something else entirely.


It is all about the folds and creases.

Each one carefully chosen and executed,

each one a step

in a set of precise instructions.

The crane: a symbol

of longevity,

the rabbit: fertility, rebirth.

Travelers carry the frog for safety,

while the llama represents

endurance in difficult times.

I too show signs

of where I’ve been

folded and creased.

Though some seem to have been done

too quickly,

a fold

and then another,

right beside it,

as if the first were a mistake.

Here and there are valley folds,

a squash fold,

inside and outside reverse folds.

The overall design

is not yet done,

perhaps not even determined.

There are more folds and creases

to be made.

I symbolize

a work in progress.

This poem may not be copied, reprinted or redistributed without prior written approval from the author.


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