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By B. Lynn Goodwin.

Your feedback inspires me. I love it when readers write to one of my prompts. Some of you have done exactly that, and sent it to me privately. I invite you to do that today, if you like. My e-mail address is in the last paragraph.

Journaling Erin KohlenbergYou can always write about whatever you like, but if nothing comes to you, try one of these sentence-starts and see where it takes you:

  • Next time…
  • I have to protect…
  • When I first started…
  • If only…
  • I love…

Why do I love your writing?

You give me a private window into your world. You become the director of it as well as one holding the camera. You let me see your life through your unique lens. And I know that as you’re sharing your life, you’re also examining and evaluating it. It happens without your noticing, and you come away feeling refreshed.

Here are some reasons that your journaling inspires me:

  • Venting gives power to your writing.
  • Venting relieves stress and I see you opening up.
  • Specific descriptions help me see, hear, taste, smell, and feel your world.
  • Your insights help me see my own life differently.
  • I often feel the same relief you do once you’ve written.

The process of writing, of putting pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard, somehow turns the twisting thoughts in the brain into something tangible. Words stare back from the screen.

When I reread, I often discover that’s not exactly what I meant. If I simply begin by writing “What I mean to say is….” I go deeper. I start restating and pretty soon I’m editing, revising, and smoothing my churning thoughts into a smooth, flowing river.

Since I’m inviting you to write on one of the topics, I’m going to follow the practices I learned at Temescal Writers and write with you.

So you have two options this time.

  • You can do your own writing and share it either here or in e-mail.
  • Or you can tell me something you like about my writing, just as I do when you send your writing to me.

Make sense? Here we go…

Next time I’ll stay by the stove, I told myself as I mopped up the white mess that boiled over when I left the kitchen. I was cooking rice again. Mikko McPuppers loves it. So do I.

He’s a great excuse for making a cup of white rice. He prefers that over brown. Seriously. He’s left the brown in his dish. Of course he’s left the white too, but maybe that’s because it blends in with the white surface of the dish.

Now why am I writing about food? I can’t eat today. I’m prepping for a medical procedure, but that’s only part of the reason. It’s because I CAN’T. The “can’t” is huge, as you can see. It rises up and takes me over.

I don’t like being told what to do. I pride myself on my independence. I don’t care if it’s for my own good. I don’t care if it’s necessary.

Those words stare back at me.

They look selfish.

I don’t mean to be selfish. I’m doing the medical test for my own good, but I’m also doing it for my husband. He cares what happens to me. That’s new in my life. He’s new in my life, and I love the way he sees the world. He’s a good influence.

Well, my writing is all over the place this morning. That happens. I’m told it means I haven’t found what I truly want to say. I completely believe that. One of the biggest pleasures of journaling is the journey. Journaling. Journey. Isn’t “jour” French for “day”? Our daily bread. That just popped into my head.

Our daily bread for the soul may be our journaling. I never thought of it exactly that way before.

Mr. Haggerty and Mr. Pfister would both tell me that what I’ve written has organization problems. They were two of my high school English teachers, and they would be right.

But I’m not writing this for a good grade that will get me into college. And you aren’t journaling for that either. So start with conjunctions, if you like. Let your thoughts ramble and roam. That means you’re digging deeper. The gold will emerge.

Journaling daily is food for the soul. Feed yourself, and let your words feed others.

If you’d like to send me something from your journal or write using one of the sentence starts above, I’d love to read it. Either post it below, or maintain your privacy by e-mailing it to [email protected]. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Photo Credit: Erin Kohlenberg

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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;, 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.

For more information, please visit

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