by Cece Roth-Eagle
As part of our new interview series, Writers on Writing, I spoke with Writers in Progress instructor Tzivia Gover about journaling as a tool for creativity. Her course, ‘The Art of Keeping a Journal,’ takes place online on Saturday, February 27.
To start, would you share a memorable entry from your own journal?
At 21 I wrote in my journal: “My dreams give me advice on writing. They say, get the idea out first—then leave it for a day and come back.” That’s good advice for any aspiring writer.
In that same journal, sandwiched between outpourings about friendships and descriptions of conversations about art that took place over games of pool, I wrote: “I feel like my life is a novel and I am an English teacher reading too much symbolism into it.”
A few pages later I worked out a statement about the connection between dreams and writing in my life. I settled on what has become my ars poetica. It read: “I am a dreamer: A writer without words. I am a writer: A woman who wants to share her dreams.”
What does your daily writing process look like?
My writing process looks different every single day. I often write in my journal, usually before bed. (Sometimes in bed!) Depending on the day, I’ll be at my desk writing a blog post, copy for my e-newsletter, or other writing for my dreamwork and writing business. Once or twice a week I like to put aside longer blocks of time, when possible, for writing poems, essays, or books.
Do you have any advice for writers who feel stuck?
Yes, come to one of my journal workshops or my Dreaming on the Page workshops for writers! I say that because I use my journals, especially my dream reports, to jump start my own writing when I’m stuck, and I coach others to do the same.
I saw that in your course description, you wrote that “writing is more than just a path to publishing: it is a way of life.” What does a “writing way of life” mean to you?
As a lifelong dreamer and a writer since about age 10, I’d say that for me, dreaming isn’t just something that happens at the end of the day, and writing isn’t just about putting words on paper. Together, these humble, holy practices open us to inner dimensions that contain creativity, healing, and meaning—and add a little extra sparkle to the everyday. So I take lessons from the practices of dreaming and writing into my days. We’re naturally and prolifically creative storytellers. And when we look at life like a dream, or as a story we are creating and revising all the time, our experience of the mundane becomes somehow extraordinary.