Here's How! A Journal Writing Blog

Welcome to “Here’s How!” a blog created to help you get the most out of journal writing – whether you write every day, every week, every month – or if you are a reluctant writer who’d like some encouragement to begin.

I have been journaling since 1955 and have written several books about the process of journal writing. I’ve offered workshops all over the country for people who are interested in improving their health and having more fun living. That’s what I’m going to blog about: using journal writing to get the most out of life!  

Whether or not you are going to participate in this activity depends entirely on your answer to this key question: Are you worth 5, 10 or 20 minutes a day? That’s what it takes to get started with an activity that can have a profound influence on the way you look at the world, your relationships, yourself. Reducing the stress of your daily routine, opening the door to new possibilities, exploring alternatives different from the “same ol’ same-ol’.” All this and more are available to you once you can answer yes to that question. With almost 60 years of personal experience and years of helping others to engage in this, I will be exploring what others – both famous and anonymous – have discovered in the process of journal writing.   

I invite you to read the book I’ve written called Write For Life: Healing Body, Mind and Spirit Through Journal Writing (Kaplan Publications, rev. ed., N.Y., 2010), that contains fifteen different journeys along with five “windows” through which to explore conditions and attitudes that have some influence on the adventure of journal writing. These windows, which I will open to everyone who follows this blog, will expand the perspective through which you observe and appreciate the impressions you receive.

I am also a poet who has written poetry since I was eleven. Many of the poems in my new book, Portal Poems: Perspectives on Aging (Good Sheppard Press, 2013), have the seeds of their creation in my journal entries, so I will be including them, from time to time, as well. Journal writing is the starting point for many different kinds of creative thinking and we can explore how to make this work for you. For me, the journal is a private place in which I can explore the process of healing; and the blog is a public place where I can publish what might inform and be useful to others. 

And both are about having FUN! That, by the way, is the first thing people want to know when they come to any workshop – including mine. I have made a practice of asking people what it takes for each of them to have fun and I’ve gotten answers that have an enormous range: dancing, good food, booze, stimulating conversation, a change of scenery, jokes, getting all dressed up, singing, watching a baseball game, listening in on other people’s conversations, finding new ways to make money and the list goes on and on. But the key factor in each of these is essential: you cannot have fun unless you show up! Unless you show up for your journal or your blog you won’t have fun! And that’s just how it is.  If your journal writing is putting you to sleep, stop; go to sleep. Your journal will wait for you to wake up.

This is as good a moment as any to write about the tablet or book on which you are going to write. It is important that whatever you are going to write on be comfortable and accessible for you, as well as being easy to put away. And that is an important consideration. Do not leave your journal lying around for anyone else to read it. It is private and requires your attention as to where you keep it. Too many people have had the unfortunate experience of others reading what they thought would be for their own eyes only, and the results were disastrous. It is also important that even if found, it is not to be read. That is the only way you can be honest about what you write. If you know someone else is going to read it, you censor yourself and lose the benefit of expressing your feelings. The facts and figures you write do not heal you; how you feel about the facts and figures makes and enormous difference to your health.

This is what the research has proven.  I will be blogging about the research that has been done on the effects of journal writing in a future blog, but for this one, let me just say that if you have even the slightest interest in the process of change, it is essential that you include your feelings in whatever it is you are writing about.

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