Book Week Scotland 2020: A Week’s Worth of Joy

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Throughout Book Week Scotland 2020, we have shared daily writing prompts curated by writer and creative, Raheema Sayed, to be used as inspiration to write with joy, hope, and centre well-being. 

In the tumult of 2020, it is more important than ever to create positive space to help write our best futures.

Below you can find all seven of the Book Week Scotland 2020 daily writing prompts. We encourage you to work through them whenever you need a bit of inspiration to write:

Monday Nov 16, 2020:

Day 1 Prompt – Your Place of Peace: This first prompt is one in which you can both write down and practice, or work through without writing, in your own time with yourself. Picture in mind a place that you would love to be right now. A place where your mind and body can relax and feel in a blissful state. Visualise yourself in this space, all senses immersed. Feel it. What do you see? What is around you? Are you touching anything? What can you hear? Are there any scents? Can you taste anything? What in your surroundings is bringing you peace? How do you feel from within your physical body? What are your thoughts saying? How do you feel emotionally? 

Imagine how you might look carrying this radiance and warm energy within you. Allow this warmth to settle deep into your body. This energy will always be with you, no matter what happens, no matter where you go, and how your circumstances may change. Know that it will always have space in your heart and that it will always be there for you to tap into when you need it. Let yourself be held here a little longer. Envision giving love and protection to yourself, and your surroundings, to whatever or whoever may be around you.

Close this practice with a few deep breaths and a thank you to yourself for carving out time for this visualisation.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2020:

Day 2 Prompt – Permission to Play: The word ‘play’ tends to have connotations of children playing. We may think that we, as adults, don’t have time to play or that we are too old for it. However, play is not reserved just for children, and in fact, play helps us to build resiliency to the stresses that life brings us. Play could be any activity that nourishes us and brings us a sense of pleasure and appreciation to be alive. This could be as simple as taking walks in nature, playing basketball with a friend in the park, dancing in your room to your favourite music or reading a book.
 
Are there any activities that naturally bring you more energy and lift your mood? Write down what these are and how else they make you feel. When do you tend to do these things? Perhaps these activities are linked to your values. What, then, may your values be? Do you think you could incorporate more play into your life, as an act of honouring these values? How might you dedicate some extra time for the activities?
 
Use your list of activities as your personal wellspring that you can dip into whenever you need that boost to keep you motivated and feeling fulfilled with your life.
 

Wednesday Nov 18, 2020:

Day 3 Prompt – A Conversation With Your Body: Our bodies are incredible vessels that allow us to experience life and connect with others in remarkable ways. Our bodies have the capacity to endure many of life’s ups and downs. When you think about it, we are quite invincible in many ways. But our bodies are also somewhat like sponges that can absorb and hold onto much pain that may naturally come from these difficult times. Many of us may adapt to survive through this pain and in turn, may neglect the body, often unintentionally. This can create a poor relationship or disconnection with ourselves and our body. A helpful practice to find some kindness and empathy for our bodies is to create a dialogue between the self and body.

Find a comfortable and quiet space where you feel safe enough to write and express any emotions that may come up during this practice. If you find that this exercise is too difficult for you at this time, don’t force it. Allow yourself to come to it another time, and give yourself the time and space needed to move through your emotions gently. 

Try the following as a guide for your dialogue:

  1. Kindly greet your body.
  2. Ask how they are
  3. feeling.
  4. What do they need right now?
  5. What do they want?
  6. Are there any ways you can take better care of your body?
  7. And what might those actionable steps towards care look like?
  8. Can you make a promise to your body that you will do better in taking care of them?
  9. What does your body do or has done that you are grateful for?
  10. Express deep gratitude to your body for staying with you throughout this.

Thursday Nov 19, 2020:

 

Day 4 Prompt – Affirming Yourself: Affirmations can help ground us and guide us, bringing us some peace and calm to our mind and body. Create an affirmation you could use in moments of mindfulness when you take a breather or a short break. This can be an affirmation to rebalance and to reconnect with yourself and your surroundings. Something that will allow you to surrender to trust – trust of your body, and trust in life’s ebbs and flows. To find gratitude for wherever you happen to be in the moment. 

An example of an affirmation could be ‘I have the power to make decisions that benefit me. I am grateful for my ability to handle what comes my way. I am safe, and I am guided. I trust myself.’

 

Friday Nov 20, 2020:

Day 5 – Giving Thanks To Yourself: Make yourself a drink of your choice, grab a pen and paper, and settle into a comfortable seat. You might want to put on some ambient background music while you take part in this practice.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself steadily rooting into the ground below. Take a minute to take some deep breaths. And when you’re ready, open your eyes and begin to write a short thank you note to yourself. This thank you note is an acknowledgement for how far you have come on your journey through life.

When we take the time to be still and think about it, there are many reasons to thank ourselves. What would you like to thank yourself for? Try not to hold yourself back. You have qualities that you bring to the table, so what are those qualities? Perhaps you want to thank yourself for sometimes not having the energy to do anything with your day, but being able to pull through it regardless. That takes commendable energy. Or perhaps you might thank yourself simply for surviving.

Maybe you want to thank yourself for the moments where you prioritised your happiness, your mental health, even when there was pressure to do otherwise. For the efforts you have made to bloom into exactly who you are now. For the sad, angry, frustrating moments and the lessons within each of them. For where you are now and understanding that there is a whole lot more joy to come. Despite anything, thank yourself for your patience and for persevering.

Saturday Nov 21, 2020:

Day 6 – Replenishing Yourself: If there was one new habit, routine or ritual that you could create what would it be? Perhaps it could be something you do in the morning that makes you feel replenished and ready to take on the day. Perhaps it could be something that helps you to welcome in the new season and the peace and pockets of pleasure that can be found in the next few months. 

It is okay if these rituals or habits change over time. Renewing and refining our behaviours often can help us explore what is good for us. How do you think you would feel upon accomplishing this new habit? Maybe you could try it tomorrow. 

While writing it down, know that you deserve this slice of time for yourself and envision how you would prioritise it. You might have more than one thing in mind, and that’s fine too. Whatever you write down may just be small seeds of intention, but these go a long way! 

An example of a ritual I set for myself in the mornings is to make my own cumin, fennel and cardamom tea and sip on it while sitting by my window and getting fresh air. It not only helps to ground me as I start my day, but helps me feel warm, hydrated and content. This too is a great time to observe the richness in the moments we have throughout our days.

Sunday Nov 22, 2020:

Day 7 – The Power of Imagination and Our Future Self: What if we could use our imagination to envision ourselves doing something we love and something that makes us happy. Children play games and create entire worlds using their imagination. They can soar high in the sky way above treetops, they can climb gigantic buildings, and they can swim with the secret underwater world without fear, and with pure bliss and excitement. Just like children, we too can use our imagination to, in a way, alter our reality, to positively influence our frame of mind.

With the essence of a free-spirited child’s imagination in mind, write in the present moment, as if you are already the inspiring future version of yourself. Use these questions to guide you in writing about what this person is like:

  • What do you, as this future self, do daily?
  • What activities do you prioritise?
  • How do you often feel about your life?
  • What do your relationships look like?
  • What creative things do you do?
  • What are your achievements?

I want you to be bold and fearless. Set your imagination free. Understand that by gifting yourself with these aspirations, however far fetched or unrealistic they may seem, you are actively taking a small but powerful step towards them. Naturally, this person you imagine now may change over time. That is okay. Let this practice be that to nourish your imagination, creativity and child self because you are allowed to dream BIG at every stage of your life!

 

About the Curator

Raheema Sayed is a writer and creative, from Edinburgh. Her poetry has been published in YWCA Scotland’s RISE anthology, and she is currently working on creative writing and practices, which explore her roots and experiences.

About Book Week Scotland

Working with a wide range of partners, Scottish Book Trust – the national charity changing lives through reading and writing – will deliver events and activities across the country during Book Week Scotland 2020, which runs from 16 November to 22 November, linked to this year’s theme of Future. Now in its ninth year, Book Week Scotland was initiated by the Scottish Government.

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