“What I liked immediately about this wonderful book is the author’s fresh, outward-looking approach to writing about the self. It’s not all about what you can get, but about how you can find your role and make fulfilling choices – how you can contribute. This isn’t a way of thinking that we hear much of anymore, but it’s a brave signal to the journal writer that the task ahead is as much about looking to the horizon as it is about navel-gazing.
Juliet likens journaling to keeping the ship’s log on a marvellous sea voyage, an adventure of self-discovery, with her prompts and activities grouped under headings that chart such a journey, from Weighing Anchor to Safe Moorings. She initiates a spirit of exploration and then follows it through a series of chapters that offer a range of activities and writing tasks, all of them productive and enjoyable.
In presenting a sample of entries from other writers’ journals, Juliet opens up the possibilities for the newly embarked writer, showing how we can allow ourselves to delve and play in a journal – and how much can be learned by doing so. She presents a Mood Index, with suggested writing prompts to help us explore a range of moods, and to work through and with them. There’s also a Life Event index, offering similar support for times of change or crisis, and a list of key resources to point the writer onward once they’ve achieved landfall.
Juliet’s Handbook is both wise guide and encouraging companion for anyone beginning – or continuing – the journaling experience. So, buy a beautiful new notebook, pick up a pen, and unfurl the spinnaker!”
“I read The Journal Writer’s Handbook over Christmas. I’m not sure Juliet expected it to be read from beginning to end in a couple of sessions but she says there are no rules to keep to when writing a journal so hopefully she would agree there is not a right or wrong way of using her guide.
I have to admit to prevarication. Despite my intentions to keep a journal I found it very hard to begin, so kept reading instead. My other excuse was if I was to go on a journaling journey I wanted an idea of where I would be going before I began and Juliet’s clear directions along with examples of her own and other people’s writing kept me turning the pages.
Now I’ve started the book again and have begun the exercises. Although I had, rather erratically, kept a journal since attending a workshop Juliet ran in November 2010 I felt I needed more guidance. I immediately recognised that I hadn’t really got past the ‘ranting’ stage so the handbook’s straightforward suggestions on how to get started with more revealing, creative journaling was invaluable. There is a structure to follow but lots of freedom within the structure to go in whatever direction is right for me.
It takes willpower to sit down and write, but once I do it’s astonishing what flows from somewhere in my brain onto the page. It’s apparent there are all sorts of things I didn’t know I felt or knew.
I am quite nervous of the challenges ahead. Perhaps I shouldn’t have looked to see where I might be going after all. But I’m intrigued too, wondering about the journey I’ll go on and where I’ll end up.
If anyone is interested in finding out more about themselves and reflecting on their life I would recommend they start with The Journal Writer’s Handbook.”