Journaling Corner


MAKE YOUR JOURNAL WORK –Guidelines & Articles





Many people tell me they cannot find enough time to journal daily. To maintain your journaling habit, consider one these ideas for very brief journaling



jouralers corner Hands down, the best therapy journal is a gratitude journal. Even when life hands you a raw deal, there is something to appreciate. Bad day? Remember a good one. Broken heart? Look around for loving friends. Disease, plague, pestilence? It's not easy, but what is not going wrong?

Look to nature for a bright spot. Appreciate the invisible (electricity, plumbing, hot water) and visible (the sun, a flower, a kindness.) Think about your life in contrast to someone who is suffering from disease or poverty. List a few blessings everyday. You will feel better.

Brief Journal #2 - BAD NEWS/ GOOD NEWS

Part A: Before retiring, briefly describe the most frustrating thing that happened today. Get to the to the point quickly. Example: My boss came into staff meeting and announced that our health insurance plan is changing. I will no longer be covered for maternity expenses. How are we going to afford Junior when he finally arrives?

Part B: After doing Part One, briefly describe the best thing that happened today. Example: This was the first time I completed a five-mile run without getting a side-stitch and stopping to rest. I think my fitness plan is beginning to pay off.

It is important to write both Part A and B of this exercise. If you only write negative things in your journal, you will fell stuck in negativity. Always finish with the positive "good news" portion of the day.

Write Path Day Planners available on Writer’s Tools  page. A custom planner can start with any month of the year.

Day Planner I - Weaving through life’s amazing maze is easier if you set aside time to reflect. Did you follow your beliefs and values today? Were you kind to yourself and others? Did you do what you set out to do? Reflect on the eight (8) lines beneath each day's date. Those few lines will make a decided difference in your life.

Day Planner II  - Use your day planner to record your gratitude or the everyday miracles you notice. The Write Path offers day planners (Writer's Tools.)
Your 12-month planner starts with any month you choose.  

We write to discover what we think. – Joan Diddion

A thought vanishes in thin air, but when you write that thought down, it stays. Two days or twenty years later, the thought or memory is still there, just waiting for you. This is why Lewis and Clark kept journals. This is why Thomas Jefferson, Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln, and Madam Curie, to name a few others, kept diaries and journals.

The famous and not-so-famous know a journal will store memories and sort what happened. As Joan Diddion notes in the quote above, writing helps us understand our thoughts and behavior as well as what other people say and do. Writing, like meditation, enlightens us. In fact, writing is a form of meditation. If you want a better life, keep a journal.

Journaling Guidelines

No need to hire analysts and gurus
Solutions lie in the quiet eddies of your mind.

• Dedicate five to twenty quiet minutes each day to your written thoughts
• Forget the school rules. Neatness, grammar, spelling, and margins will not improve your journal and often get in the way.

• Follow the train of your thought. Do not plan what to say. Write the first thing that pops into your head, followed by the second, then the third, and so on.
• Once you begin, write at full speed until your time ends. What you write may not make sense. So what? Keep writing what tumbles off your pen. If you write something you didn't intend, leave it and move on. It may be important.

• Liberate your creative. A journal is the perfect place for successful experiments and creative duds.
• Your First Amendment rights reign. Write what you actually think not what you think you should think. Your journal is private unless you choose to share.

• Your wisdom resides in emotional honesty. Best not to sugarcoat your feelings.
• Be prepared to uncover fundamental and important answers. 


Grief wears clothes of a sturdy fiber
So to weather the many winters of loss.


A Grief Journal will help you walk through the dark hours of sadness

Grief Letters

• Grief Letters provide a structure to help you express your loss.         
• Share your grief letters with compassionate friends.                           
• Write without editing. Keep your hand moving.
• Don't worry about grammar and spelling.
• Quite simply, write from your heart.
• Share Grief Letters with someone to help ease your heartache.

A Sampling Of Grief Letters

1. Write a letter to the deceased or lost loved one. Explain how you feel.
2. Write a letter of protest to death or divorce. Your letter will resemble a poison pen letter. Explain your anger and frustration.
3. Write letters, angry letters or devotional ones, to God or the universe.
4. Write a “mock” letter to the editor proclaiming the virtues of your loved one.

Camera And Collage Grief Project

When a dear friend or loved one leaves or dies, familiar places remind you of your loss. You may avoid places you once loved.
A creative assignment will help develop you a new angle on these places. When you feel ready to reclaim your old haunts, grab your camera. Your mission is to build a collage of the old places with a specific focus. Perhaps you will simply photograph the doors or the sidewalks or the signage of the place.
Experiment with different angles, as you build a new perspective on life.

Belated Thoughts On Memorial Day

Last year on Memorial Day, it occurred to me that we should begin a tradition of honoring survivors as well as the dead. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day; a day set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead. Later the definition of the holiday expanded to honor war dead from other wars. Many people also pay homage to non-military family and friends. I remember placing a miniature flag on the grave of my great-grandfather and a coffee can filled with peonies by the graves of my grandmothers on Decoration Day.

It seems to me, we should also honor the brave people who weather the unexpected and untimely deaths of loved ones . . . those who have lost a brother or husband or sister in Iraq or another war . . . those who have lost a sister, brother, or friend in the battle against cancer, disease, alcoholism, or mental illness. I stand in awe of those who carry on when tragedy strikes.

I want to decorate the doorstep of each grieving soul, with a blank book and a pen.


Everyone has a story - a hundred stories - ten thousand stories. Some of them have bittersweet endings. Others end tragically or joyfully. The stories told by our ancestors continue to enrich our lives. Recording your stories will help you enjoy your own history in years to come and enhance the lives of future generations.

If you happen to be someone who is shy about telling your story, I invite you to join the new wave of the old ways. No need to complete a cumbersome autobiography. Simply collect snapshots and vignettes of your days. Start by keeping your recollections in a journal. Someday you may even decide to publish them or create a family memory book.

What Is Your Story?

It’s not that Marilyn wasn’t devastated when the fire killed three of her prize stallions. She was. For a while she cried at the sight of every horse in every pasture on every farm. She walked with sorrow. Her enthusiasm lost. Still when the sadness began to feel more like a prickly thistle than delicate floss, Marilyn realized she was missing some of the delightful parts of life. She decided to open her heart and her notebook. One day she wrote “Do something different.” The next day, she wrote the words, “Enjoy something.” A few days later she wrote about watching a sunset while stroking the broad neck of her mare. It was then she knew it was time. Even as salty tears rolled down her cheek, she took hold of the reins once again.
~ ~ ~
We tell stories and re-tell them. Sometimes we forget a story. Sometimes we remember one we thought we had lost. Meanwhile we also listen to the stories of other people and often we tell their stories too. When you think about it, our history – and for that matter, the history of mankind­ – is simply a collection of stories.

When a story feels sad or devastating, writing it helps. A psychologist in New York treats war veterans by insisting they write their war-trauma stories. Rather than re-traumatize the soldiers, writing helps liberate them from recurring nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD. Likewise, the more we work with difficult experiences, the more we come to understand what happened. Over time, we begin to tell the story through a different emotional lens. The story of Aunt Pam’s cancer changes from a despairing tale to one that inspires hope and courage.

Through story we learn what matters. We learn that we matter and that our experiences and dreams do too. The lessons we learn matter. When we capture our stories in writing, it becomes impossible to forget. For all these reasons, we tell stories and write stories and then we give them away.

Essays To Help Your Journal

What People Are Saying...

"I began writing with the early morning group in 2000 and for 6 years the support of the group and inspiration from Sue have sustained and guided me in finding my way, my vision for living. I truly believe that writing it down makes it happen for me."
~ Connie C., Traveler