The joys of journal writing

Journal writing is both a cathartic release and great way to explore your own creative process. Best of all, it just feels good to write. Though journal writing seems like an easy thing, it can be both daunting and frustrating. Fortunately, there are professionals such as certified journal facilitator Linda Barnes who can offer techniques to jump-start a journal writing habit and use that journal to express ourselves and explore our creativity.

Barnes, an educator and writer is facilitating a Journal to the Self® group Mondays, 6-8 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ashland September 8-Sept. 29. The group, based on the work of psychologist and author Kathleen Adams and her book “Journal to the Self,” is designed to give participants techniques to help them get started journaling or to use their journal writing for deeper exploration or creativity. “There are so many benefits to journal writing, whether it’s stress relief, working through a personal issue, or exploring a creative process. You learn to speak to yourself, trust yourself and listen,” said Barnes. “It’s quite empowering,” she added.

With journaling, there is no end-product, the participants are not required to complete a memoir or write a short story, says Barnes. “Our focus is on the process, not the end result. I’ll help guide the group and offer techniques, but the rest is up to each individual. There’s no wrong way to do this,” she said. Barnes emphasizes that no one will be required to share their writing with the group if they do not wish to. “It’s a confidential place,” she said. “It’s not a therapy group, but writing is therapeutic. My role as facilitator is to create a safe and respectful environment,” she added.

I like the idea of journaling, and I have lots of lovely journals that I write in loyally for about a week, then I forget about them or feel resentful that I have nothing fascinating to put in them. Barnes says I’m not alone. “A lot of people think keeping a journal is sitting down and writing off the top of your head, but that’s the hardest way to do it,” she said. The Journal to the Self group will offer writing prompts and guidance to ease the frustration that can come with journaling. “Once you get started, it’s amazing how versatile and fun journal writing can be. With this kind of writing, you’re the audience, you have all the power,” said Barnes.

For more information and to register, contact Barnes at (541) 941-3979. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is located at 87 4th Street, Ashland.

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    Angela Decker

    Angela Decker's poems have appeared in African Voices, Comstock Review, Hip Mama, The Wisconsin Review, Jefferson Monthly, and others. She occasionally teaches poetry writing at Southern Oregon University and shares the arts & literature column ... Read Full
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