writing

How is a writing prompt like a wood stork?

There’s something about the silhouette of the wood stork– a large black and white shorebird–which always reminds me of a stocky old man hunched over, hands behind his back, shuffling along a city street. Is it the angle of the neck? The heaviness of his body? Or, maybe it’s the…

Writing and Healing: Expressive Writing Helps in Multiple Ways

It all started in the 1980s when the professor Dr. James Pennebaker found in his landmark social psychology study that college students who wrote about emotional upheaval in their lives for 15 minutes during each of four consecutive days, visited the health service half as often as their counterparts who…

Best Tip for Weight Loss: Write to Lose Weight

One recent study published in Psychological Science showed that those who wrote for just 15 minutes about something that they personally valued lost more weight during the next several months than those who wrote for 15 minutes about something without direct personal meaning. The study included 45 woman undergrads.  Each…

Improve Your Listening Skills with Journal Writing

In this past Sunday’s NY Times, the name of an article caught my eye, “The Art of Listening” by Swedish author Henning Mankell. To be honest, the art of listening is one that I’ve not mastered as fully as I’d like. I confess that in many conversations, I’m often quietly thinking one…

Transitions: A Rich Time for Journal Writing

In my earlier career I conducted studies of the richly productive area where sea meets shore. The coast is a dynamic place, where tides swish in and out; where barnacles and mussels cling to rock or shell; where seagrasses abound attracting small fish which attract bigger fish, which of course…

Pulitzer Prize Winner, Jennifer Egan, Started with a Journal

Jennifer Egan is the 2011 Pulitzer prize winner for fiction, for her book A Visit From the Goon Squad.  There’s a fascinating interview with her, where she describes how she became a writer.  The way she talks about her early years of learning to write and even how she selected…

Journaling and Centering

Many people start with a calming or centering ritual before they write.  However, I’ve noticed  that at times—most recently when I awoke at about 3 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep—that the process went in the other direction. I awoke for no particular reason that I was aware, but…

Journal Writing: A Remedy for Muddling Through Life

We all muddle through at times. In fact muddling is an inescapable place to be when you are finding your way in a new environment.  When you are working on a new job, learning new subject matter, or starting a new role in life, the way to begin is often…

Never too late to start keeping a journal

When I’m responding to the usual introductory small talk of “what do you do?” I open the floodgates of guilt and regret. I’m not trying to. It’s not my fault; it just happens. Here’s how the conversation usually goes: So, Ruth, what do you do? My standard response,” I own…