Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guest Post: I Smell a Great Journal Topic

by Mari L. McCarthy

I recommend that all writers should keep a personal journal, for the self-knowledge, understanding, and creative riches that journaling offers. While my work is mainly in the area of Journaling for the Health of It ™, I also consider myself a writer and artist. I definitely use journaling to inform my artistic creations.

Here are a few ways I've found that journal writing supports other kinds of writing, even though the two disciplines are very different.

1. Clear out mental clutter
The more clear your mind, the more easily your writing flows, isn't it true? A clear mind lends to success in any endeavor. Journaling lets you do a regular 'data dump,' clearing out your mental cobwebs so that your alertness and concentration can increase.

2. Become more observant
The more you journal, the more skilled you become at remembering and arranging the details. As you write about your experiences, they become more specific in your mind. Moreover, when going about your life you begin to collect details that you want to write about: morning bird songs, shadow patterns on the floor, that strawberry you ate this afternoon, the way your shoes are pinching your feet, the intoxicating smell of fresh dark chocolate.

3. Realize the bottomless depth of your creativity
The more you journal, the more you realize that you have an endless supply of ideas, thoughts, impressions. You realize that you never run out of ideas, even if sometimes you may lack the will to access them. You see that writer's block is about your willingness, and not about an actual dearth of ideas.

4. Practice storytelling

The more you journal, the better you become at telling stories. The ability develops without much trying on your part. That is, you don't necessarily concentrate on telling a good story in your journal; your aim is just to get your body-mind responses to things on paper as fast as possible. But, over time, you'll naturally improve. You can prove this to yourself by reading over entries from six months or a year ago, and comparing them to newer posts. Does your ability to articulate clearly improve over time?

5. Practice free expression
Usually when you write, you expect that one or more other people will read it. Not so with journaling. Your journal is where you are allowed completely free expression. Journaling is where you can write for many pages about the rapture that overcomes you when you smell dark chocolate.

In sum, journaling is an essential tool for sharpening and enhancing your creative instincts for any purpose.

By Mari L. McCarthy - The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™. Please visit Mari's blog at In 27 Days of Journaling to Health and Happiness (, Mari walks you through an easy process for accessing your natural inner strengths. Mari's latest publication is titled Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life. See for details.


  1. Hi Sara,

    Thank you for hosting me. My workbook is now Kindle-ready and an audio(MP3)version is coming in June. WriteON!

  2. Great Guest Post, Mari!
    Sara, way to host such a great journaling coach!