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So today I tuned into the Journaling Expo 2014 and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. For three hours I, along with approximately 80 other people, listened to three thoughtful and well-spoken experts discuss their journaling challenges and triumphs, strategies for dealing with said challenges, and the benefits enjoyed by all who journal.

This year’s Journal Expo was sponsored by Mari McCarthy, the force behind createwritenow. She introduced today’s forum and talked a bit about the presenters. She is currently offering an online course called 27 Days of Journaling to Health and Happiness.

First up was Hannah Braime, the founder of Becoming Who You Are, the guide to authentic living. The title of her presentation was A Friend When We Most Need It: How to Overcome Resistance to Journaling. I really enjoyed her presentation, even though I do not seem to be resistant to journaling, at least not these days. She gave us her thoughts on the reasons resistance develops, how to identify it, and how to overcome it. The big reason for most resistance is fear; fear of what will come out in our writing, fear of what others might think of our authentic selves, fear of rejection. She also has an online course this month, starting on Jan 20, called Journaling with Heart. She introduced me to 750words.com, an online resource for recording “morning pages” which are traditionally three pages written in the morning to think things through and tackle any problems coming up in the day (at 250 words on average per page, 3 x 250 = 750, hence the title of the site). The great thing about this is it is completely private, so it maintains the personal and private nature of a hand written journal. And to motivate you there is a point system assigned to different tasks on the site. Each month you are awarded so many point based on your activity level. And they send out daily reminders. Kinda cool no?

Then we heard from Nathan Ohren, whom I first mentioned in this post, and is the host of a bi-weekly podcast called JournalTalk. His website is Write4Life. His presentation moved us from the personal to the professional: Journaling for Business and Career Development: Living with Passion, Clarity and Purpose through Journaling. Basically he showed us how journal writing in the workplace can affect our skills and confidence level in positive ways, and could even accelerate our career. His message was to take charge of your professional development instead of relying on your boss to suggest/pay for courses for you. He outlined all the ways journaling can enhance the skills most needed in the workplace: Communicating, Negotiating, Leading and Being Productive. If you are dealing with any stress at work, there are three possible coping mechanisms that involve writing: vent to your heart’s content in an unsent email; list what you are grateful for and what you accomplished that day; and work through a decision you have to make in as many paragraphs as it takes. I really enjoyed his talk and he is also hosting an upcoming 6 week workshop called Journaling for Passion, Clarity and Workshop starting on Jan 26.

And finally we heard from the lovely Lynda Monk, the force behind Creative Wellness Works, who teaches the transformative and healing power of writing. Her talk, Pen to Paper: Journaling for Self-Care and Well-Being, was a real eye opener. She told us her story and introduced the concept of therapeutic journaling, and then she actually included a real time journaling exercise. Through guided meditation she asked us to choose from four journaling prompts and write what we felt. Then we were to pause and reflect on what we wrote, and then write how we felt about what we had just written. And finally we were to affirm our exercise and offer gratitude for the writing just completed. I loved what she said about this part: “Think of this step as a gentle bow to your writing.” She recommended a couple of books I will definitely check out: Write It Down, Make It Happen and Writing Begins with the Breath. Check out her website for courses and and other resources she offers.

There is a Spanish proverb which says: ‘There is no road, we make the road as we walk.’ It is the same with journal writing; we make the path as we write.

In addition to all this writing goodness they offered door prizes and free downloads to participants. I will definitely be signing up next year.