The Creative Diary in Quarantine 11

The Blackout Poetry

Austin Kleon is an American author who wrote a book “Newspaper Blackout” full of such “poems”. He started by reading his newspaper every morning with a black marker in his hand and crossing out all the words except a few. That is how he came to make poems based on the words that did not disappear under his black line. 

Writing and drawing

  1. Find a page in a magazine full of text (or an old book if you dare to rip out a page).
  2. Take a thick black marker or other color.
  3. Read the text while crossing the text with the marker but leave a few words. Make sure those words form new sentences. Short sentences. They also don’t have to be grammatically correct.
  4. If necessary, decorate the pieces that you crossed out. Or copy your found text / poem again somewhere (I wrote the sentences around my text).

“If you read your newspaper every day, draw lines and filter poems out of it, you make 365 poems a year. Some draw nothing, others are good … but out of 365 poems, there are always some good ones. And 365 poems… that’s a book! ”- Austin Kleon

What if … you feel like this is a difficult exercise? It’s a bit of a thinker, but important in this exercise is that you shouldn’t be thinking too much about what you should or should not leave. Try to let it grow a bit spontaneously. Otherwise, what Austin Kleon says: try again, and again and again … until you get it right. Practice makes perfect!


TIP: This is originally called a “Newspaper Blackout Poem”. You find Austin Kleon and his book “Show your work” and “Steal like an artist” on the internet (and on Instagram also). His book are easy, funny and a must-read!

Would you like to get in touch with others? In Facebook you find a page where participants connect.


Important to know:

Working in a Creative Diary is NOT about results, it’s about expressing you inner self. It is NOT about techniques, techniques only help you to express yourself in more different ways. The exercises I give are an INVITATION, not an obligation. You can do the exercise, or not, you can do it differently, it’s at your choosing. The most important thing to remember is that you’re putting yourself and your (inner) world on paper, you are NOT making art. So feel inspired by images, but don’t compare yourself ! Fun and self-expression come first.

What do you need?

  • markers
  • coloured pencils
  • writing materials
  • scissors
  • glue
  • watercolour
  • soft pastels
  • oil pastels
  • some magazines

And of course: a journal/diary. I recommend an 8,3 inches x 11,7 inches notebook (A4 format) with blank paper, but take whatever you find in your house. Blank papier is good too.

More information:

The exercises used in this Creative Diary are based on a method described by Lucia Capacchione, American art-therapist and author of the book The Creative Journal, by Anne-Marie Jobin, Canadian art-therapist and author of the soon to be coming book The New Creative Journal, and myself, Sarah Timmermans, Belgian art-therapist and psychologist (Dutch book: Het Creatieve Dagboek). The method blends knowledge from writing therapy, art-therapy, psychology and basic creativity. It’s a simple method that doesn’t requires any artistic skills and has been used with many ages, many individuals and many groups of people. More questions? Please write me.

Who am I?

I’m Sarah Timmermans, Belgian art-therapist, naturopath and psychologist. I’m trained by Jungian art-therapist/psychologist Csilla Kemenzcei. I work with individuals and with groups. I’m specialised in using diaries, tarot (archetypes) and dreams.