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Mapping your Life

I don’t recommend endlessly circling around a subject.  If you find that the same subject crops up again and again, this is your opportunity to write your way out and past that subject.

If you are looking for a way into your journal, timelines and maps are an easy and yes, fun way to track your history.   Timelines accomplish two things: 1.  Look at my wonderful life!  I accomplished so much already!

2. What clues here will help with future decisions? 

There is no single timeline, you can create as many or as few as you’d like:

Some ideas  

• Events – graduation, holidays, the first day of school

• Physical moments – Like your body changes (easier for women than men) 

Spiritual and emotional – First communion, Bar Mitzvah,  Weddings

From the timeline, create your own personal map.  I am a traveler and create travel journals so I am drawn to the idea of a map. But you may have other ways to explain and describe your path, road, journey and ultimate destination (which, for some, may simply be death which is either terribly morbid or a reminder that it really is the Journey that matters).

 When you draw up a map of your life: 

Add details and descriptions of each stop on your map, on your road.

What kind of details?

  Have a dialogue with someone who gave you directions.

 Write about the good directions (for instance, a friend told me flat out, don’t spend seven years earning a PhD.  Go play with your husband.  He later sent her flowers).

Record the really bad directions and why you did or didn’t follow them.

 How did your body feel at each stop, at each detour?

 How did your body react to the emotional stops and starts on the map?

Make your own maps.

Used colored pens, used magazine pictures, illustrate like the wonderful maps you find on placemats at morning cafés.  

  • You are right here.  
  • What stretched behind?  
  • What lies ahead?
  • Start mapping it out.

Indulge in the whole class  on how to Journal


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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