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The Personal Story

We are writers.  We write.  Good, bad, ugly and sometimes completely indifferent work and words all scribbled down in the dark of night, or dawn.  We often can’t help but write.  And we often wonder if we are just wasting time.Turns out we aren’t. Journaling, even if the work doesn’t lead to the next great novel, will,  at the very least, promote better health and clearer thinking.

Journaling is good for us. Like coffee.  Like red wine. It’s enough to make you believe in a benevolent god.

The science on the health benefits of journaling is not conclusive because reports of well being, reports on shared and private writing are self-reported as well as difficult to definitively measure.

But according to programs like Journal on Line, consistent journaling can:

  • Boost  thinking ability
  • Increase  working memory
  • Reduce pain, tension, and fatigue
  • Enhance  mood and sleep quality
  • Positively influence  immune system function
  • Help  wounds heal more quickly

Sign me up!  But what exactly is journaling and how does a writer approach it?

Journaling is  Julia Cameron’s famous morning pages, which are similar to Natalie Goldberg’s ten minute writes, which is the same as unconscious or spontaneous writing, which is the same as bitching on the page to avoid bitching to loved ones.   

But it doesn’t always need to be just about spilling out all your frustrations and angst until the pen runs out of ink. –   journaling can help with your creative projects. 

Do you want to get better at an activity? You can journal about how that will feel, why you want to do it, what you will do today to achieve your goals. 

Want your muse to show up on time?  Sit down and start writing in your journal.

You know journaling works so I’m not telling you anything new. But I do encourage you to take another look at the activity and possibilities of journaling.

Start with a notebook and a pen.  Write for ten minutes a day.

Let me know how it goes!


Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author. She has published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles in publications like Modern Maturity (AARP), SF Chronicle and Santa Rosa Magazine. She was a contributor to two Chicken Soup Books and has published anthologies of her work, non-fiction works and novels. Her work has also appeared in a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. She has experimented with the self-publishing world since 2001. She has published and self-published seven books through companies like Author House, author assist companies like 3L Publishing and through traditional publishers like Write Life. Her poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise, will be released in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press and her mystery novel, In Good Faith will be released by Write Life in 2011. Catharine holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in English from Sonoma State University. She is a 25 year member of California Writer’s Club. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix. She works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction to make their dream of producing a book come true. For more information on that, visit her at Catharine has lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and considers wine a food group. She is married to an adorable and very patient man who complains he’s never featured in any of her books. Her grown children who are featured in a few of her books have fled the county.

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