Posts tagged with: The Artist’s Way

Processing Emotions: Journaling Works For Me

Happy. Sad. Fear. Anger. Love.


I am not one of those writers who can keep writing fiction when my life is falling apart and a whole slew of emotions are bombarding me. Call me unprofessional, undedicated, even a weenie-I’ve called myself all of those names and more.  In the past I used to stop writing and concentrate on getting my life back together-one time it took me almost a decade.

After all, I come from a family of extremes-the one extreme dealt with emotions by screaming. The other side stuffed the emotions to appear calm and in control in the midst of another’s hissy fit. Personally, I thought the calm and in control person looked well…more sane, so that’s the pattern I chose. But by stuffing emotions I never learned to process them. And though I’m no psychotherapist, I figure that’s why I tend to shut down during crises.

After that whole decade-long fiasco of piecing my life back together, I learned a different way to cope.  (Yeah, I can be slow sometimes.) Journaling. It sort of evolved out of The Artists Way and morning pages.

Let me state right now even though I’ve used them in the past and they work, I hate morning pages. I might’ve mentioned this a time or two…or ten. But this journaling is something I do strictly to process my emotions. And I don’t do it daily (like you’re supposed to do with morning pages). I only journal during highly emotional times, sometimes happy times but more often during a stressful situation or a crisis. Those times that have me reaching for those things which start with “ch”. Chocolate. Chips.  Yeah, chocolate chips work, too.

After recording what happened to piss me off  upset me, I then take time to write down how I’m feeling. My emotions, my body’s reactions (like this eye twitch I get when I’m trying hard to be in control) and how I feel about it-yeah, simple enough, right? Not so much when you’ve never allowed yourself to process emotions.

I have found an advantage to using this method which translates to my writing. By making myself experience the emotions and recording what I’m feeling, I’ve been able to use what I’ve learned to help my characters process their emotions, too. It was after I started doing this that my writing seemed to really take off. (By this I mean I started finaling and placing in contests, including the Golden Heart® after 10 years of entering.)

Aha! Not only did I learn how to process emotions in real life, but I also utilized what I learned in my fiction writing. Definitely win-win.

How about you? Are you one who can create through anything? Or do you have to process your emotions first before you turn yourself loose on your fiction? Do you find real life emotional experiences (good and bad) help you with writing your novel?


Just an fyi-I’ll be gone most of the day today-one of those stressful times, I have a son going for his first visit for dyslexia testing. It was scheduled for a week ago but the diagnostician came down with the flu. I didn’t realize the conflict when I rescheduled, and it’s out of town plus it will take up to four hours-so unfortunately I’ll be gone most of the day. I will, however, check in when I get back, and I look forward reading and responding to what you have to say. Thank you!

And one last thing, the normal spiel about me: My indie-pub suspense thriller The Good Daughter is up for the 2012 RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Squee!! To learn more about my books, follow me on social media, subscribe to my newsletter or read past articles I’ve posted, please visit

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