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I, like most travelers, keep a journal or at least a log of where I’ve been. For some strange reason I started keeping track of the time of sun rise and sunset, the outside temperature, and the campground location, name and site number. Is there really a purpose for this? Probably not in this moment. What are the odds I’ll be huntin’ down what the temperature was in Colorado City, Texas on December something in 2020? 

Late last summer I dug up journals from the first winter I left Michigan to spend time in a warmer climate. The in-depth details filled in the intentional gabs left unexpressed in the general blog post content and transferred to the Scrivener document. 

It was fun to read the adventures and excruciatingly heartbreaking to revisit the trauma drama grievin’ momma emotions I poured onto the tear stained pages. On a few rare occasions I came across a ring embossed from where a hot mug of tea was set to cool while scrolling through social media when the intent was to scribble thoughts and experiences into the notebook.

Looking back at several events from this summer, I cannot help but realize what a twist of fate it was to help several clients with their writing projects. One in particular thrust me into facing my own insecurities of being an author. The subject of her memoir is deeply emotional and often times when I shared pearls of wisdom with her they reflected back at me like scary fun-house mirrors. “Dig a little deeper into the emotion,” I’d write in an email to her. “Show me how you felt about XYZ when ABC happened.” My voice echoed that of a college professor from a far away classroom, “Don’t tell me; show me.” In a phone call, I told her, “I want to sit across the dining room table as you tell me what he did. I want to feel your anger coming at me.”

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There’s a natural, protective desire to hold back the vulnerability of the heartbreak we’ve experienced. Truly, who wants to continuously read over and over and over the crushing event during the editing process and fine tuning those particular chapters? I can tell you, I don’t want to. I cry every time I read the opening chapter of the memoir where I share what I was doing, who I was with when my phone rang, and heard my late ex-husband say telepathically, “It’s suicide,” before I answered the call.

We, the authors baring our scarred souls, endured the situation once and reviewing it brings up all the emotions we’d rather bury or keep it at a topical surface level so it doesn’t shred the healing heart again. And yet, for the authors who are natural healers, this is our undeniable calling. One could say it’s our destiny. It’s an opportunity for us to reach back, grab the hand of the person going through a similar situation that’s two steps behind, and lift them up. There is an innate desire to guide others whose heart is aching, let them know they are not alone and we care.

It’s your story. It does matter. There’s a book within beckoning you to write it. You can feel it. It’s time. Write the book as if it’s to one person who needs your guidance to get them through their moment of emotional hell. And, all those little odd notes and bits of information resting in your journal just could be the treasure chest you need to take your story to the next level.

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Are you ready to dedicate time, energy, and creative imagination to completing that written project you’ve been hoping to finish one day?

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For authors, bloggers, copywriters, freelancers, those who love to journal and anyone who has a deep passion to write. 

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    1. Writing to one person was a tip I received years ago from a writing coach. One of the attendees had a hard time with how she should convey her message to a wide audience. The coach (who quickly became a dear friend) said something like, “Imagine sitting across the table from the one person you want to read your story. Write to her.”

  1. My journal has been my safe harbor and recently has even given me inspiration, not for a memoir, but for a novel, or two, or three. We don’t realize how rich in lessons our lives have been until we write them down and then go back and visit them.

    1. I, too, worked out a lot of character interactions and events in my journal for the (unpublished) novels I’ve penned. Isn’t it amazing how we discover own solutions between the lines of the journal? Write on, Barb! Write on.

  2. I like your point that it’s important to let others know that they’re not alone. And that others care. That’s what we’re all attracted to anyway — other people’s stories. I keep a gratitude journal which helps me make my story one of positivity, and it’s training me to look for the good in people and situations.

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