Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Welcome Mari L. McCarthy and a Guest Post on Descriptive Journaling!

It’s an exciting first here on All Things Audry: a guest post!

Welcome Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author who owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari publishes many ebooks and e-workbooks to help journalers accomplish amazing things. She also conducts online Challenges, and you won't want to miss her upcoming Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge, June 4-10.

This challenge is based off Mari’s workbook with the same name, Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days.  For each of the seven days, Mari assigns a task to get those creative juices flowing.  But here’s the kicker:  you don’t have to feel like the world’s greatest writer to start journaling.  As I read through the notebook, it was very refreshing to see days of the week assigned to combating negative voices and blank page anxiety.  If you have an interest in journaling or in using writing as a therapeutic tool, Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days certainly lives up to its name!

But enough of my jabbering!  Onto our guest post: 

Descriptive Journaling
by Mari L. McCarthy

Often, you want to keep a journal just for the purpose of documenting what's going on around you. This could be a journey, a project, or simply daily life. Let's consider some approaches to this kind of journaling.

The classic idea of journaling is a picture of someone pouring their heart out in strict privacy, even locking the notebook away to keep it from prying eyes. On the other hand, keeping a journal as a more objective documentary is also a classic practice, and one with multiple benefits.

Even if you are not a regular journal writer, you've probably had experiences during which you kept a journal, or at least wish you had. Some parts of normal life cry out to be documented. Having a child, for example, or going on a trip, learning a new skill, undertaking a special project, retiring, or other portions of your life naturally beg to be preserved and reflected upon via journaling.

The urge to journal your experience is strong at these times for several reasons. Here are a few:
·        Your awareness and attention are heightened
·        You are challenged, and the act of writing calms you
·        You are highly motivated to remember details about what's going on
·        You want a record that you can refer back to in future years
·        You know that building-in a time for reflection every day will improve your understanding and lead to more skillful actions.

When journaling a project or certain period in your life, you'll be more successful if you're dedicated to daily journal entries. Once-a-week journaling won't do much for you. That said, you need not spend a long time when you write. A few minutes, a short report can be as effective as longer, more detailed entries.

There's another kind of descriptive journaling, besides event-based writings, and that is to use description as your tool in regular journaling. So it's not so much that you are documenting a certain time or event; rather, you are noticing and recording the details of your world as it appears each day.

This kind of writing is objective and refrains from judgment. But it's still a marvelous way to know yourself.

Try 'routine' descriptive journaling:
Pick a time of day when you are likely to be more alert, less introspective. Maybe when you are riding the bus to work, or on your lunch break. Select a pocket-sized notebook for the purpose.

Notice what you are seeing, hearing, or otherwise sensing from your environment. Write out a verbal picture of it in your notebook.

Be careful not to comment or offer any opinions. Concentrate on being factually accurate.

Once a week, read over the previous week's entries. At this sitting, write your thoughts and reactions to those prior posts. What do your descriptions reveal? How does your descriptive writing make you feel?

Over time, you will probably see significant improvement in both your power of observation and your ability to describe your experiences in writing.

Whether to document an event or to sharpen your own skills, descriptive journaling can be indispensable!

About the Author:
When Multiple Sclerosis robbed her right side of strength Mari decided to teach herself to write with her left hand. She gained more than strength, she found herself-buried talents, hidden baggage, and a way to heal herself from the inside out.    

Now a certified Journal Therapist, Mari shares her knowledge and experience with others by teaching them how to find their own strengths and talents and use them to solve problems and achieve goals.

Thank you, Mari, for your guest post.   I'm ready to head outside and give descriptive jounaling a try!

Find out more about Mari by visiting her online:
Author's website: 


  1. Hi Audry,
    I'm honored to be your first guest blogger! Anytime you'd like to guest blog about your journaling journeys,we'd love to have you. WriteON!

    1. Thanks! I'd love to do a guest blog. I may be in touch in the future with ideas!


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