Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick provides a great set of prompts, examples, and encouragements for anyone who has wanted to take up a diary or journal. The book is not just "Stephanie's Way" of doing things. It provides a wealth of real life examples from a wide variety of diarists, to help you find your own voice and develop your own style.
Stephanie plows into many of the myths of diaries. Are they only for angst-filled teenagers? Do adults have "far better things" to do with their times than to jot notes in a diary? Hardly! A diary is a creative tool and outlet for men and women of all ages. It is a form of artistic expression which has been proven by studies to reduce stress, enhance your ability to reach goals and to deal calmly with troubles and relatives.
Stephanie calms your concerns. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or complete sentences. Write whatever you feel. There is no right or wrong. Draw little pictures, jot down poetry. The more you let yourself be free, the more you release your inner tensions, make connections, and stretch your mind.
I really enjoy the variety of examples Stephanie provides. We are all unique, and it makes sense that what doesn't make sense to one person could really connect with another. By having so many types of diary examples in her book Stephanie helps ensure that each reader will find something to really connect with. In the same manner, she recommends using a variety of techniques to make your journal your own. Draw with different colored inks. Use a fountain pen. Use crayons. Draw little pictures. Whatever makes sense to you, give it a try.
Stephanie doesn't expect you to do it on your own. She provides a ton of prompts - or "thought provoking blurbs" - that help get your mind started, give you something to write about when you feel stuck. What would your ideal home look like? What is a location you have always wanted to visit? With the variety of prompts she has, there is something for everyone.
I like that Stephanie constantly cautions NOT to criticize what you write. What you write is how you feel, and that is authentic. Don't judge yourself, don't worry about being "right". Just write what you feel, and keep going. Let it out. Write the facts, and write how you feel about them. Focus on what you are doing right now, what you are feeling right now. Learn to feel gratitude for what you have, forgiveness for mistakes of the past. You can make great progress and feel much more content with simple steps.
If I have any complaint with the book, it is that it says early on that "journal writing is not 'useful' any more than any other work of art is simply useful." I understand the basis of her sentiment, but I find it not to be accurate. Many studies show that journal writing IS honestly useful at even its most raw level. The studies show that maintaining a journal helps to lower blood pressure, lower weight, raise self esteem, and perform many other measurable positive health benefits. These all seem to be VERY useful to me!
Highly recommended. I strongly feel that pretty much every human would benefit from journaling, and this book does a great job of helping people down that path!