Keeping a journal is easy. Keeping a life-altering, soul-enlightening journal, however, is not. At its best, journaling can be among the most transformative of experiences, but you can only get there by learning how to express yourself fully and openly. Enter Samara O'Shea.
O'Shea charmed readers with her elegant and witty For the Love of Letters. Now, in Note to Self, she's back to guide us through the fun, effective, and revelatory process of journaling. Along the way, selections from O'Shea's own journals demonstrate what a journal should be: a tool to access inner strengths, uncover unknown passions, face uncertain realities, and get to the center of self. To help create an effective journal, O'Shea provides multiple suggestions and exercises, including:
Write in a stream of consciousness: Forget everything you ever learned about writing and just write. Let it all out: the good, bad, mad, angry, boring, and ugly.
Ask yourself questions: What do I want to change about myself? What would I never change about myself?
Copy quotes: Other people's words can help you figure out where you are in life, or where you'd like to be.
It takes time: Don't lose faith if you don't immediately feel better after writing in your journal. Think of each entry as part of a collection that will eventually reveal its meaning to you.
O'Shea's own journal entries reveal alternately moving, edgy, and hilarious stories from throughout her life, as she hits the party scene in New York, poses naked as an aspiring model, stands by as her boyfriend discovers an infidelity by (you guessed it) reading her journal, and more. There are also fascinating journal entries of notorious diarists, such as John Wilkes Booth, Anaïs Nin, and Sylvia Plath.
A tribute to the healing and reflective power of the written word, Note to Self demonstrates that sometimes being completely honest with yourself is the most dangerous and rewarding pursuit of all.
About the Author
Samara O'Shea is the author of For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing as well as a blogger for The Huffington Post.