Journaling Empowers

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  • By B. Lynn Goodwin.

    Journaling empowers the world’s number one nurturers: mothers. As a mom and family caregiver, you are a multi-tasking advisor. You give to others and juggle your time. Are you a woman who does not have time to take care of herself? Journaling is an excellent way to get past the problem. If you’re a man who found this site, you likely have many traits in common with women who nurture.

    The blank page awaits your words.

    Writing gives perspective. According to university studies, writing saves lives as it restores sanity and balance. Do not underestimate its power.

    Journaling helps you explore and process. It gives you “me time.” It validates your worth. When you journal you uncover motives, and explore obstacles. As you do it, you’ll discover strategies to overcome them.

    Journaling releases mental toxins, which I’ve personified into Negativity Gremlins. I often invite my Negativity Gremlins to visit the patio, explore the creek, or play on the Interstate. Sometimes I can’t get them to go, but journaling almost always can. It lets me analyze thoughts and celebrate discoveries. As I do it, my Negativity Gremlins slip away.

    Not sure how to start? One way is to look around the room for a sensory detail—the way the sun makes a path on the carpet, the way steam rises off a cup of coffee, carrying the aroma of morning with it. Listen to the high-pitched whirring of an omnipresent machine. Start there and see where the sensory image takes you.

    If that feels a bit overwhelming, there is an even easier way to do this. Use sentence starts. You can find over 200 of them in my book, You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers. They will trigger all kinds of memories, plans, and ideas.

    Still not sure? Try it right now. The results will be empowering. Simply pick one of the sentence starts listed here, finish it, and keep going. Let one idea lead to another. Try writing for about ten minutes.

    • Let go of…
    • When I am tired…
    • This week…
    • I hope for…
    • Sometimes it really upsets me…

    These are some of the sentence starts I used in my freewriting group today. We share what’s happening in our lives, and no two lives are the same, so it’s not surprising that our stories went in separate directions. Yours will too. No two of you will write about the same thing.

    Try journaling for ten minutes on one of those topics. As you wrote, did you find ideas rising up? Do you have more you want to say?

    Read what you wrote and underline the phrases and sentences that have energy for you. Go back and explore them further any time you want.

    Write scenes. Record snippets of dialogue. Make lists. Draft letters, even if you never send them. Write poetry. Tell stories. Dig deeper. There is no wrong way to keep a journal. Let writing become your newest passion.

    • If you love what you wrote, please share it here!
    • If you hate what you wrote, please send it to me, and I promise to find what’s already working!
    • If a journaling experience has inspired you, please share it here too.

    Too shy to do any of these? Send your writing to me at Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net. I want to read about all the ways that journaling inspires and empowers women. Men too!

    B. Lynn Goodwin

    B. Lynn Goodwin is the author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, available on Amazon. Her stories and articles have been published in Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; the Oakland Tribune; the Contra Costa Times; the Danville Weekly; Staying Sane When You’re Dieting; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; Career; We Care; Thickjam.com, Friction Literary Journal, and The Sun. A former teacher, she conducts workshops and writes reviews for Story Circle Network and InspireMeToday. She’s working on a YA novel and brainstorming a memoir. She’s the owner and editor of Writer Advice. Writer Advice recently celebrated its 16th year and runs contests for aspiring and published writers as well as sharing useful tips from experienced writers.

    View all posts by B. Lynn Goodwin.

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    15 replies
    1. charlene potterbaum
      charlene potterbaum says:

      Since I doubt that you are known as just “B”–I will call you Lynn. And, the “Goodwin” must have something to do with Gail…or, it could just be that Life to you is a–Good Win. I do thank you for your article, as it recalled to me, how much journaling meant to me when raising my children and I have to ask myself…”why did I quit?”
      You may have just inspired me to begin again. Thank you so much…Charlene Potterbaum

      Reply
      • B. Lynn Goodwin
        B. Lynn Goodwin says:

        Hi Charlene,

        By all means start up again. Anywhere, anytime. I’m writing at a coffee shop in Guerneville right now. My husband and I are camping with his (our) church group near here.

        The Goodwin that I share with Gail is a coincidence, unless you believe there are no accidents. I found Gail’s site when she invited me to be a luminary, but that probably happened after I found her and noted the similarity between our names.

        Technically I’m B. Lynn Goodwin-Brown these days. I was married last February, and you’re right, I call myself Lynn

        Every day brings something new to write about. What’s new in your life today?

        Lynn
        http://www.writeradvice.com
        Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

        Reply
    2. Carolina Castro
      Carolina Castro says:

      Dear Lynn, I’m half amazed, half touched by your article. I’m just 22 but writing to me is my life and I’ve been doing what you suggest my whole life or at least since I was 10 or 11. I was having a hard time at school, it was hard for me to talk about it and the psychologist told me: “if you can talk then write”. Best advice ever, that’s what got me here. Writing to me is a personal exercise, my self-therapy but is also my main tool at work: I’m a journalist (intern), so seriously, writing is my life. Your article touched me cause journaling for me is so natural that I never stopped to consider there were writers talking on this subject telling people the benefits of it and suggesting them how to do it (giving advices). I felt like the super-smart student of a class who already knows what the teacher is explaining, I mean I didn’t knew you could read to learn how to journaling, and is really cool and pleasant to find articles like this one. Since March of this year my journaling process is being complemented by sessions with a psychologist that I already knew… Can’t tell you how great and fruitful it has been… I see him every Saturday….

      Reply
      • B. Lynn Goodwin
        B. Lynn Goodwin says:

        Thanks for your enthusiastic reply, Carolina. Journaling is a matter of doing it and letting your style emerge. I’m so glad you have the confidence to keep writing. Has your psychologist told you that every time you write on the same subject, it’s because you have more to say? Keep writing. Keep digging. Most of all, keep sharing.

        Reply
    3. B. Lynn Goodwin
      B. Lynn Goodwin says:

      Carolina, my dog, Mikko McPuppers, has his own column (on Petfinder.com), so I think you should go for it. If you google Silver Rescue + Nashville, TN, you should be able to find out how to sign up for their newsletter, if you want to see samples of his work. He’s very proud of the fact that he survived an editorial change with his column intact, and he’s asked me to tell you that he’s the idea man and I do the actual typing. I’d love to see it here, but you can send it to me privately if you prefer at Lgood67334 AT comcast DOT net.

      Reply

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