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What is Transformative Journaling?

And why is it different from regular journaling?

You’ve heard all about journaling.  You recognize Julia Cameron’s name. You’ve heard of morning pages as well as Natalie Goldberg’s now ubiquitous ten-minute write.  Both of which are based on automatic writing – the idea of writing straight from your sub conscious, circumventing the conscious, editorial section of your brain can uncover and express greater truths and insights.   Truth and insights are exactly what you are going for in your journal, but it’s not necessarily ready for the greater reading public.  Contrary to popular myth, even though Jack Kerouac (under the influence of both Alan Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, oh, and alcohol) wrote On The Road more or less spontaneously,   he heavily edited before publication.  Contrast that effort against Gertrude Stein who believed every word that poured from her conscious was publication worthy.  Who are we still reading?  Yeah.  Write your truth, be spontaneous  but don’t think it is ready to drop into your blog. It’s not. And that is more than okay.  Journaling can be a wonderful self improvement program that is easier than exercise and more fun than crosswords.   

  If you’ve been journaling forever, switch up your writing from just griping and complaining to exploring how you can make the situation better or how you can think about your situation differently.  If this is all new, you may benefit from bitching a bit, and working through issues.   

The transformative part comes when you start expressing what you want to happen.    This is the key.   There is benefit  to bitching, there are more benefits to moving your brain and your consciousness to a more positive place.

Since thoughts create our reality it makes sense that the more often you think and interpret the world in one way, the world will increasingly appear to you in that same way.  Think sad thoughts all day, and pretty soon you’ll cry every time you see a daisy. 

  If you want to stop crying in flower gardens, you can change how you see them.

  How to do it?  Fortunately it’s not about willpower or just “change your mind” Or “flip the switch.”  It’s about writing.  

Rise in the morning and set a time limit to your writing. Drink a hot beverage and scrawl whatever pops into your head –  as you write, consider what you are writing –  is it all bad?  All unicorns and rainbows?  Great.  Write those unicorns out of your system.

Now look at what you wrote.  Let’s say  you wrote how frustrating the holidays are.  You list who you hate, who you resent, what happened last year.  What you despised about last year.  How you cry when you pass the cranberry sauce.  The cranberry sauce is never the right kind.  Just saying.

All great stuff.

Now transform those gripes and bitches into a positive action plan.  Crazy right?  Under that brand new raw section of what you hate about the holidays, now write – What I really want to feel.  What I really want to happen. What I really want to do.  Maybe it’s take a trip instead of giving gifts. Maybe it’s not seeing a certain relative.  Describe the perfect holiday.  Now spend a few minutes fantasizing about how to make that perfect holiday happen.  What would it take?  What would you do?  Could you offer to bring the cranberries?

Just by writing  down what you really want, what would be lovely to experience and what would make you happy, you change your focus.  Writing actually trains  your subconscious so that after a few weeks instead of recording what sucks, you’ll will find you record a better solution.   Trite, I know, but it actually works.  But only if you want your life to improve. 

I like to say that changing your story can change your life. And transformative journaling is one of the best ways to do it.

What to learn more?

How telling your Story Today can Change Your Tomorrow.

Sign up for the  8 class course now.

Contact me to participate in the 8 week interactive class via email starting  February 2019.


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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