Category Archives: Life’s Little Writing Prompts

Why Journal? A Look at the Positive Effects of Journaling

Guest post by Story Circle Member B. Lynn Goodwin


How can a journal help a writer? Journaling allows writers to vent, process, explore, discover, and rejoice. It offers a safe place to explore, express oneself, dig deeper, analyze, and discover truths.

Over the past ten years my journals have been

A record

A place to spew

A place to delve and see where the pen takes me

A place to hone my thoughts

A place to sharpen my craft, and figure out what I really mean to say

A place to make discoveries

A place to find story ideas

A place to find resolution or the next step on my journey

A place to make lists and cross off what I accomplish

A place to look back on what was once important and gain perspective

A place to record my reflections

A place to hone my character’s voices

A place to explore my character’s secret thoughts and private lives

I write my journals in longhand. I like the smooth flow of a pen on paper. I like the progress of moving from left to right, line after line, traveling down one page and on to the next. The rhythm of longhand soothes me.

In addition to the fact that university studies have shown that writing saves lives, here are a few other reasons to journal:

I write to share

I write a pull out secrets locked place in my brain

I write to see what happens if I release my private truths

I write to move to a new level of comprehension or analysis

I write to tweak life and imagine happy endings

I write to tweak life and imagine worst-case scenarios

I write gratitude lists to feel better

Try some of my favorite sentence starts and see what happens:

Today I feel…

Today I believe…

Today I want…

Inside of me…

No one knows I worry about…

I am…

I can barely remember…

I love the smell of…

If I ever talk in my sleep…

What if…

Though it does not always seem like it, my journals have the power to get me out of my head and into action. They are a safe place to heal. Healing does not wipe out old problems or past actions. It washes over them, helping you cope, change your attitude, and move forward.

Heal your spirit and discover the spirits of your characters by writing in a journal.

BlynnPB.Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice, and the author of You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers, which contains encouragement, instructions, and over 200 sentence starts to help you journal any time, even if writer’s block rises up like a granite wall in front of you. She’s also the author of Talent (Eternal Press), which will be out November 1, 2015. 

She teaches through Story Circle Network, welcomes all kinds of editing clients, continues to journal frequently, and is hard at work on a YA novel. Talent Cover

Blackberry Winters, Indian Summers & ???

Blackberry Winters, Indian Summers and ???

It's May and everywhere I look the emphasis is on summer's immenent arrival. Everywhere except in the air where store merchandising schedules mean nothing and Mother Nature has the final word. Here in northeast Tennessee not more than ten days ago we had "Blackberry Winter"—the blackberries are in bloom but the temperatures are more winter-like than late spring-like. Just when I thought it was safe to pack away the winter clothes, I woke to find temperatures in the 30's.

As I sat and contemplated this "Blackberry Winter" phase I realized that there are other fleeting seasons named by … well… by whom?   Indian SummerHarvest MoonBlackberry WinterHalcyon Days… I'm certain that some of you can name more such days in nature.

What names would describe certain phases of your life? What name would tell someone who doesn't know you exactly who you are this month of May? Why not spend some time in the days ahead reflecting on various times in your life—give those phases appropriate names much like the Blackberry Winter we've just had here in Tennessee?

 Are you in a place in your writing life that seems to be a major flood? or perhaps a phase that resembles a drought? Has your writing experience opened you up to rainbows and sunshine or dark clouds and storms? Mother Nature provides us with so many examples of the mix of positive and negative forces coming together… So does the practice of writing life stories.    42445337_blackberrybloomresized