Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Resources and Recommendations (For Journaling Enthusiasts)

The New Diary, by Tristine Rainer
After many years, and countless journal entries, after checking out a dozen other resources, this is the one to which I return for inspiration.  It is the book that got me started.
The New Diary is a resource for the veteran journal writer as well as the neophyte.  It offers several possibilities for using a journal for your own purposes.  The sub-title, “How to use a journal for self-guidance and expanded creativity” captures the essence of this excellent resource.  Written in l978, it is still in print.  Check it out.

Creative Journal Writing, by Stephanie Dowrick
Another excellent resource for journal writers, whether you use a bound book and/or the computer is this 2009 edition.  Beside offering key principles, practical suggestions and helpful hints, Dowrick provides 125 starter topics to spur writing and several anecdotes of how people have used journal writing to transform their lives.  This is a fine addition to your writing library.

Harvesting Your Journals, by Rosalie Deer Hunt and Allison Strickland
          I have just started this book, so my recommendation here is merely for reviewing it to see if it could be of value to you.  I added it to my library because I was attracted to the chapter headings.  The authors have decades of combined journal writing and their book contains excerpts from their personal entries, as well as numerous strategies and exercises that the reader can use with one journal or a series of journals.  I most likely will refer to this book again in the future as I play with some of their suggestions.

At Last!

For months I’ve intended to start a blog. Sure that this would be a worthwhile endeavor, something to provide direction and purpose now that I am “retired”, well, semi-retired. Certain that I still have something to contribute. Yet, for months, stuck in a web of considerations – should I focus on a particular topic or theme? What   should I call it? Who comprises my potential audience? What if I throw a party and nobody comes? I’ve felt as though I were standing in front of the cereal section of the supermarket, overwhelmed by the sea of choices.

I bought books on the subject (my usual first line of attack), perused other blogs, and discussed the possibility with friends. I read The Happiness Project and saw Julie and Julia again for inspiration.  I debated topics, only to dismiss them – too heavy, too ponderous, too light, and too frivolous.  I created titles, only to discover my clever ideas weren’t available.  I even wrote a few articles, only to end up dissatisfied with the results.   Disconcerting to say the least. Definitely frustrating.

Then, after all the consideration and deliberation, over-thinking and false starts, the “aha” occurred ~ at an unexpected moment in a most unlikely location. Standing in front of another section of shelves, these in our garage, looking at boxes and crates of journals, accumulated over 35 years of writing.  Promising my husband, and myself, that I would reread them, glean what I most wanted to retain and then shred.  Thinking, aha, this could be the project to provide focus for my blog and the blog impetus to complete this overwhelming project.

So, I’ve brought in the first box of journals, chosen at random, and a book I’ve owned for years, Harvesting Your Journals (I’ve had this idea before!). I’ve created a special corner in my office to do this work.  And finally; FINALLY, I started this blog.

In the months ahead, I’ll open the boxes, dust away the cobwebs, and examine how looking into the past can help to look forward more creatively.  To see what patterns are revealed, what new possibilities will naturally emerge. To develop alternatives I’m not currently entertaining.  And by sharing this venture, to invite others to share and learn with me.