Writing the Chapters of Your Life: Surprising Insights Using This Special Journaling Technique


List-making is a favorite journaling technique and is often used to quickly jot down a numbered record on topics like "my beliefs," "my pet peeves," "the things I hate about myself," or "my strengths." However, there's a special type of list technique that moves beyond a simple itemization and into the realm of significant self-awareness.

This special technijque has several names, including table-of-contents, life chapters, and stepping-stones, the latter term used by journaling expert, Ira Progoff. Using this technique the writer lists their most important life events, as though they were chapter headings in an autobiography. Progoff and other suggest keeping the number of items to around a dozen, to ensure the inclusion of only major events.

One writer's listed these items:

1. Brother died when I was three years old.

2. Mom went into the hospital when I was five, and I didn't know why or when she would come home.

3. Grandma died when I was ten, and because of my age they wouldn't let me go to the hospital and see her.

4. Dad died of a sudden heart attack when I was 15. I was with him but couldn't save his life.

5. I fell in love but we lived in different cities and things just never seemed to work out.

6. My step-father died-how could this happen?

7. My long-distance love affair ended.

8. I fell in love again and thought it was for a lifetime.

9. I got married and was happy, at least for a long time.

10. I got divorced. It wasn't for a lifetime.

Is there any doubt that this journal-writer has major issues concerning death and other ending issues? And, do you notice the lack of happy events? After this diarist created the stepping stones, she then wrote about each, realizing how many unresolved issues she carried with her-and how they impacted her ability to be happy.

As you do this exercise several times over months or years, you'll find your choice of events changing. Sometimes your first love affair is the most important thing on the list, and other times it won't make the top 10 or 12 at all. Why? Because the list reflects the issues that cry out for attention.

When you're comfortable with this technique, try using it for specific topics, like the stepping stones of your weight issues, or relationships, or spiritual growth. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Good writing!

Copyright 2004 Patti Testerman
Journal Genie, The Website That Talks Back
http://www.journalgenie.com

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included and the resource box is left unchanged. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

About The Author

Patti Testerman is content manager at JournalGenie.com, the only online site that analyzes your writing and then gives you instant feedback. Discover self-defeating patterns, find better ways to communicate in relationships. Contact her at mailto:patti@journalgenie.com


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
The Power of Punctuation
Punctuation, when used creatively, is powerful. Note, however, that when I say 'when used creatively', I don't mean that you can make up the rules.
Learning How To Write
As a student of Spanish, my goal was to think in Spanish. Skipthe word-by-word translation so I'd have the necessary speed tospeak and listen.
8 Tell-Tale Signs That Forecast Writing Success!
'Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
Fight The Fluff!
The first and final rule of quality writing is this: what doesn't strengthen your writing, weakens it.There are no neutral words when you're trying to be persuasive - every word must be doing real work and every sentence must be necessary.
Writing Query Letters
A QUERY LETTER is written to an editor or agent to describe a piece of writing to ask if they'd like to see it. It is sent in lieu of an unsolicited (unasked for) manuscript.
Editorial Freelancing: 5 Must-Know Tips to Getting Your Foot in the Door
So, you want to freelance as an editor, writer, copy editor, copywriter, graphic designer, proofreader, etc.? But, how do you go about it?My mother was fond of saying, "If you want to know something, go directly to the source.
How to Catch the Writing Bug
----------------------------------------------------------Permission is granted for the below article to forward,reprint, distribute, use for ezine, newsletter, website,offer as free bonus or part of a product for sale as longas no changes are made and the byline, copyright, and theresource box below is included. ---------------------------------------------------------- How to Catch the Writing Bug By Stephen Bucaro If you earn income as a writer, or use writing as amarketing tool, you know how difficult it can be at timesto write.
Getting Looked Over, Without Getting Overlooked: Writing for Scanners and Skimmers
* Scanning and Skimming Practices *Whether you're writing e-mail messages or Web site sales letters, you need to know how to hold the attention of different types of readers. Even the readers that don't actually "read.
Tips For Better Writing
It is certainly true that we don't get a second chance to make a first impression. As the impression we make on the Internet is almost always with the written word, is it unfortunate that there is so much poor writing bouncing around in cyberspace.
Put a Spin on Your Idea!
Eight or nine times out of ten, picking up and leafing through a magazine's or book's table of contents, you will find at least one or more articles or chapters that will catch your attention immediately. Never mind that that article or chapter's subject had been written about many times before.
Writing Requires Self-Control
The only way to become a writer is to write. That requires a great deal of self-control and dedication, not only writing when the urge is upon you, but even when it is not.
Write For Yourself First
It would be very selfless or noble of me to tell you that I have created my web site only to help you and the rest of humanity. The reason for me spending so much time and energy into my writing and this site is selfish.
Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters - Good Ideas for Stories
The principle for writing good screenplays begins with good idea generation and then the use of structure to extrapolate that idea into a coherent story.Sources of Good Ideas a) Ideas that push cultural boundaries work well.
Publisher Ethics For Reprint-able Articles
Let's Discuss Publisher Ethics:If you are an ezine publisher or webmaster that likes to use supplemental content from the many free articles available for free reprints on the Internet, this article may save you from a very expensive copyright infringement lawsuit. Stealing articles by violating the posted reprint rights is copyright infringement theft.
The Myths Of Writing: Have You Bought Into These?
There is an image most people carry of the artist (think Van Gough's self-portrait, the one with his ear bandaged), working in solitude in a barren garret in a dark corner of the city. Everyday is a struggle.
Writing Made Them Rich #3: Richard Bach
One day in the mid-1970's a young man stumbled into adiner somewhere in the United Sates.Slung over his shoulder was a kit-bag that containedeverything he owned.
How You Can Take Advantage of the Increasing Demand for Freelance Online Writers
The freelance writing market is a growing market to be in. There are many jobs available, but sometimes, it can be hard to find the work that you want, and available at the time you want it to be.
Write Your Way To A Better Brain
Boost Brain Power Through WritingHave you ever noticed what happens to an idea once you express it? Just talking about it or writing it down causes you to clarify it in your own mind. How can you use this to increase your brain power? Start writing.
Are You a Freelance Writer? - Then You Need a Website
As a freelance writer, it is important to present yourself to your clients in a highly effective way. One of the most effective methods that freelancers use is a website.
Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters - Writing a Screenplay Using Structure
Effective screenwriting relies on the good understanding and use of structure.Inexperienced screenwriters may believe that structure inhibits creativity, but experienced writers know that following a template helps them to problem identify, generate ideas, select good ideas and develop them to reach that all important words-on-paper first draft - structure is not a hindrance but an enhancer of creative output.

Home | Articles Site Map