s a teenager, I discovered that I could figure things out better if I wrote them down. A pale yellow spiral notebook that I stashed on a shelf near my bed held the swoon of my secret crushes, the angst of battles with my unreasonable mother and some celebratory moments, too, like when I had finally saved enough babysitting money to score the 10-speed bike I coveted.
My journal has always carried me, and I don’t think I’ve ever made a major life decision without it. Should I quit the basketball team? Go back to college? Get married a second time? Jump into a new career? — it’s all in my archives.
As a high school English teacher for 23 years, I passed on the benefits of journaling by regularly allotting time for students to reflect on their thoughts in writing. Over the years, several have reminded me of the value of that time with treasured handwritten notes and gifts of journals they thoughtfully inscribed.
More than two years ago, I was lucky to be embraced as a volunteer by the SOS Recovery Community Organization in Dover, NH, a drug and alcohol recovery center where I began running a Journal Writing Group.
One day when I was Googling for journal prompts, synchronicity intervened and I discovered The Therapeutic Writing Institute in Denver, CO. I soon enrolled and have become a certified instructor for the renowned Journal-to-the-Self (JTTS) workshop founded by Kathleen Adams. I continue to take courses at TWI and its extensive and exhilarating curriculum fuels my instruction.
While using some of the 18 journaling techniques practiced in the JTTS class, I was inspired to look honestly at my life and make some positive changes. As an instructor, I have witnessed how the material plants seeds for thought in others. It’s a way to gain direct access to your own mind, and what you find there in the quiet moments may surprise you.
Here’s what some of the participants have said:
“The experience was so worth it,” said Casey R. “During the time I was taking this course I journaled almost every day and I am trying to keep up with that because I saw such improvement.”
Cheryle P. had not journaled before and only enrolled in a class because a friend was teaching it. “The exercises we did opened up my eyes to some important realities in my life,” she said. “At first, it was challenging to write honestly about my thoughts and feelings, but the payoff was definitely there.”
Michael D., had written in a journal sporadically before joining a class and found it enjoyable to connect with others who wanted to explore their lives through writing.
“The class was really fun,” he said. “I met some great people and we really connected over the six weeks.” Read more kind words here.
The class is offered online via Zoom and course materials are mailed to participants the week of the class. Go to Journal Classes to enroll. If you are interested in a private class with friends, family members or colleagues with a minimum of six participants, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to subscribe to my monthly journal column and find out about our latest classes, please add your contact information here.
Thank you for visiting. I hope to meet you in a class.
With love and gratitude,