Practice: Two-Line Journal

 In Creativity, Writing

As I update my new website, I have been re-reading past posts on my previous blog. One creative practice in particular has stayed with me over the years and I feel to share it with you now.

This practice is based on a writing prompt from writer and coach Mari Messer: the two-line journal. It’s so simple and delightful to do. I wrote the following post in 2011. As I reread the diary entries I can recall some of the memories, the moments. I saw Dolphins at my local beach. I remember waking in bed, yawning into the day. With most of the entries I can’t remember all the details but the words paint a sense, a feeling, touching a distant, soft-focus knowing. They awaken my curiosity, little tales with hidden truths, drawing the reader in.

If you’re looking for a simple way of bringing creative writing into your day, I recommend this practice. Enjoy.


First published on May 31st, 2011:

May: a month. A busy month for me. This has called for curtailing, pruning or, rather, selective choosing: just two lines a day.

This idea comes from Mari Messer’s book Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit. Here’s Mari on The Two-Line Journal:

This is my favourite. I’ve been keeping one for over seven years […] While it takes just a few minutes to write your thought, you search all day long for that one thing that deserves saving in your journal. It keeps your creative antennae tuned […]  You can use the two-line journal to hold:

  • brilliant ideas you’d otherwise forget
  • short quotes and observations
  • thumbnail sketches
  • happenings of the day
  • a short rhyme […]
  • a crisp descriptive phrase or two
[…] Knowing you’ll need a line or two at the end of the day makes you more observant. Limited space makes you more succinct.*

This project has been a lot of fun. Very simple. Here’s my month of May, two lines at a time:


I travel back to shiny times and wish upon the stars there,

pick up the path, and from the heart, I ask the stars: Where?


Centre, better. Sea, re-see.


Arms reach up, break the surface of the day

How strange it is to move between two worlds


I called up Love today.

And love made all the difference.


Each day a journey to the end that is the start

Without within begins.


Concrete. Walk among daisies.


Coming home to yoga

Sleep sleep sleep


Bitter ginger on the tongue

Overheard: And I shall say to Mary, ‘Why dunt she talk t’us?’



The power of Creation is in the act of creating.


Sellotape, Sellotape, Sellotape,

Are these really my last words?


Cakes for mistake

After, empty case, all I have is my word.


Dealing out smiles

And we all play Snap!


Mermaid tale: tin foil scales

siren singing to chip-fingers


Cough cough cardigan time,

Throat is more honest than mouth.


Bathtime reminds: embryonic state

global yolk: universal union


Green Bug, Eight Legs,

so small with much to do.

Thank you for taking time to come and visit me.


Candles throw shadows

but I would ride my Story Horse


Dolphins! Amazing!


The Dance of Drowsy Woozyness,

Loose-limbed we spin and flop.


Spellingis thair to be plaid wiθ



Hard to encapsulate.


Grateful: I am not comatose and

I can feel my toes.


All bedecked, a ribboned room

alive with what will come.


Light plays on the ceiling,

inviting imagination to join in.



I forgot last night, but it remembered

to turn into today

Silliness is best shared





The metaphorical overflows into simile like wine at a wedding



Eye of pine

all-seeing tree,

we squirrel away

our memories.


Dolphin Boy – the human spirit:

delicately indestructible.


This time, next month, yesterday.

*Messer, Mari, pp. 29-30, Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit, Walking Stick Press: 2001.

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