LifeJournal™ Newsletter – July 2009


Last month was so hectic that I didn’t send a newsletter. Both my 20-something children were home.  My daughter was studying for Part I of the National Medical Boards (she passed!) and my son was preparing for a year of independent study in Greece between undergraduate and graduate school.  So I am sorry that I skipped a month!

Moreover, last month Linda Janoff, the editor of the LifeJournal newsletter, lost her battle with melanoma. I miss her–her strong opinions, her wise counsel, her incisive wit accompanied by a hearty laugh, and her rock-steady friendship.

You may miss her, too—although, as newsletter readers, I hope you don’t! Please forgive me if commas and colons are not used perfectly, or if a sentence isn’t as clear as it should be.  I’ll be hearing Linda’s words of advice whenever I write newsletters, doing the best to recreate her editing guidance.

In honor of my very good friend and also one of the best high school teachers my children had, I’m including an article she wrote seven years ago, “Notes on Journaling from a High School English Teacher.”  Even if you aren’t a teacher, I recommend you read the article as it has insightful fodder for your own journal writing.

The other article in this newsletter offers a bird’s eye view of the journaling process with a “Journaling Cycle” model.  See how the ideal matches up with your journaling experience and then identify where there are bumps and breaks in your own journaling cycle.

During the last six weeks I have been working on a new project that I think you’ll really enjoy. I’ve been in correspondence with dozens of world class journaling experts – and we’re working on getting materials together for you that will “juice up” your journaling. Stay tuned–I’ll be announcing specifics in the next month or so.
I hope you are enjoying your summer and finding the time to relax, reflect, and write.

Warm regards,
Ruth Folit

Notes on Journaling from a High School English Teacher

By Linda Janoff
written July, 2002

When I started teaching writing in high school, my challenge was to overcome students’ tendencies–whether innate or programmed–to strive merely to meet the expectations of their teachers. For students, writing was an exercise in figuring out “what the teacher wants.”

I wanted my students to get in touch with themselves, to write for themselves. I believe that a teenager who is aware of his/her inner voice, gains self-respect, and that an awareness of his/her own dignity leads a student to respect others. My ultimate goal, you might have perceived, is world peace.

But back to the reality of the English classroom–how to help students contact their inner voices and learn to feel worthy of, have confidence in, and enjoy expressing themselves.


The Journaling Cycle: A Key to Enhancing your Journaling Experience

By Ruth Folit
July, 2009

Here’s a bird’s eye perspective to view the full sequence of the journal writing process.  Reduced to its basics, this model shows a journaling cycle that consists of two big arcs: writing and harvesting. 

Although models don’t perfectly portray the messy, human real world, this cycle offers a simple framework for understanding the elements of journal writing. While you read below the more detailed description of this model, think about what your own journaling strengths and weaknesses are.  You’ll be able to identify where you can inject a little journal “juice” to enrich and deepen your journaling and insure that you stay in the cycle.

End Quotes

“I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”

–Frances Willard


“Learn as much by writing as by reading.”

–Lord Acton

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