Journaling Tips

Finding Yourself in Time…

Taylor as Writer

In the following posts, I share ideas on developing your creativity through the journaling process.  As a journaler for over 25 years, I’ll offer advice, quotes, best and worst practices and any ideas on how you can begin exploring the inner space that is you.  A video link is provided below. As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome.

 Helen Was a Poet – Perhaps I never will be. 

(this is a revised repost)

I’ve been working on several blog posts – none of which seemed to be working.  I looked for some notes on Emily Dickinson for one of the posts from a pile of  saved notes and papers where  I stumbled upon Helen’s handwritten words on a note card.  I was caught off guard by her beautiful, readable handwriting.   Helen was a dear friend and poet who died recently.   I was also struck by her use of em dashes, a signature trademark of Emily.

And where did Helen learn to make her ampersands?  I wondered.   A lazy spiral form is how they appear–an overused slinky, all coiled out.  “And” in ampersand mode dangles, falls away from the rest of her orderly script.

Thoughts begin to take shape and I take the following notes:

Her handwriting clings to page

Neat rows like precisely hung laundry,

perfectly pinned

Except those penned ampersand “and’s”

Hung between thoughts,

a stunning array of spiraling, loopy figure eights

As if tossed by an unseen wind—a shift—

perhaps this momentary pause—

With a dash she punctuates each line

And knows that everything dries in the sun

absorbs into a secret language—

I can see her as she puts her finger to lips

Shhhhh – she whispers

“It was fun & exciting & scary & all the rest!!”

She ends with hope — that all is well—

And I can see the pen has fallen—fallen away.

This is the draft that came to me as I held the note card from Helen, read her words, penned in her own now-stilled hand.   Of course, like most writing at this stage, I don’t even know what I’m writing about.  I really have sparse clues as to what anything means or what it may become.

My job as writer in this particular moment is to write down what thoughts arrive – the thoughts that seem to want to be a poem.  The metaphor seems to be clothes drying on a line as it relates to the drying up and falling away of a life.  But who knows where this will lead.  Who knows where any writing will lead?  Who knows what I will discover along the remaining journey that will enhance and intensify these initial findings that want to be poetry?

And I think this helps explain the writing process.  You’re writing about one thing or several things & get distracted by looking for something else & in a moment of reflection (when you’re not even expecting it) something starts to develop & you write it down.  I guess this is why I’ve always felt that I’m a note-taker more than a writer.  Over the past 25 years or so, I’ve gotten good at writing things down that come to me.  My problem was, and still is and always will be, how to finish something into a publishable form.  To get to the end of being led – that is my ultimate goal.

So for now – other posts in draft form await.  This came to me today in this moment and I thought I’d share.  At the moment I’m finishing a post about entering a poetry contest competely inspired by Emily Dickinson – well – Emily and a certain friend who inspires many things.

I’d love to hear about what inspires you and your experiences at capturing the light.  We can all learn from each other so any insight you have to offer is welcome.

PS – Hope you get a chance to check my Etsy shop for the art part of my life.  My hand-signed poems are available there as well.  I am also available for workshops, panels, speaking or individual consultations on finding yourself through journaling.

Some initial thoughts on my journaling process are available here.  I retreived Helen’s card from a stack of other cards and thought I’d share the process with you.  You just never know what will trigger your thoughts.  Just be prepared to write them down when they arrive.  Happy journaling.


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