How Journaling Can Help Writers

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I’ve written in a journal off and on over the years, but have never been consistent about it. I envy people who are disciplined enough to journal as a daily practice. Many years ago, I embarked upon Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” program and took on the process of writing morning pages each day. I noticed that the majority of what I wrote about (I was newly married with no kids) centered on my job in public relations. I vented a lot about projects I was working on, daily little things that aggravated me in the office, etc. But I did notice that venting each day through those pages helped me be more focused on my work, and less irritable on the job because I had gotten my frustrations out of the way early in the day.

A few months ago I was frustrated with the weight I had gained and decided to work through Mari L. McCarthy’s workbook, 28 Days Weight Control Journaling Challenge. It was very helpful in helping me get past some of my issues with self-image and discuss in the pages of my journal why I gravitated towards the type of foods I crave. The challenge also helped me set some clear and concise goals for myself, which I met within a few weeks of ending the challenge.

While helping Mari put together the upcoming blog tour for her self-help/memoir Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live, I found myself once again realizing the power of journaling. I’ve been blocked when it comes to revising a few of my fiction projects (well, I say blocked but what that really means is that I refuse to even open the documents up) and reading the testimonials and proven physical and emotional benefits to journaling made my fingers itch to pick up my journal again. In her book, Mari spends time discussing the concept of our Inner Critic, and that little voice inside our head prevents us from working on, and reaching, our hopes, dreams, and goals. Through therapeutic writing, you can work on taming this critic by confronting the voice and standing up to it. This is similar to what I did in the weight control challenge, as I wrote down hang-ups I had with my body and then countered them with all the positive things I saw when I looked into the mirror. With my writing, I find myself saying things like “I’m not organized enough to get this manuscript ready to send to an agent. It could be so much better. Why bother? My stories aren’t going to interest anyone else, anyway.”

Reading Mari’s story of how she tackled her MS symptoms through therapeutic writing and build a successful business where she can be creative every day inspired me. I’ve pulled my journal back out and am getting ready to work through her e-book Journal Magic for Writers in the hopes that I can finally tame that ugly beast that is my own Inner Critic once and for all.

Photo by Jeanette Charlet Photography.
Mari’s blog tour for Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live kicks off on Monday, Oct. 3. If you are interested in reviewing the book or interviewing Mari, e-mail me at

Do you journal? If so, how does it work for you and what types of things do you put in it? What do you think the benefits of journal writing are? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I used to journal when I was active in Overeaters Anonymous but obviously did not keep up with it. When I have had journaling phases of my life, they helped me examine my life and issues.

Self-reflection is always good, right?

Angela Mackintosh said...

I don't journal every day, but I love Mari's challenges! I'm thinking about doing her Peace of Mind & Body one again or the Life Transitions one since I moved into a new house and need to refresh. I also purchased a copy of Journaling Power for a friend who just found out she has MS. I think she'll find it inspirational and help her work through all the new things she's feeling.

Margo Dill said...

I think I am using my new blog as a kind of journal! Sometimes I journal by hand if something is really bothering me.

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