Breathe. Write. Breathe. - 18 Energizing practices to spark your writing and free your voice by Lisa Tener

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18 Energizing Practices to Spark Your Writing & Free Your Voice

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Day 21: October Journaling Adventure with The Joy of Writing Journal

After my husband joked about getting screwed out of inner peace, I looked for a place to use that brilliant phrase somewhere. In today’s prompt I finally found it.

Today, after listing 10 ways we try to improve ourselves, we pick one to explore.

In my journal, I wrote about my first meaningful conversation with my future husband Tom. He told me about an extraordinary book he was reading, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill by Jeremy Taylor. This is a book about dreams and how to explore the layers of meaning and healing contained within them.

explore the layers of meaning in a dream

Tom described his fishing dreams to me, so much more evocative than the dreams that woke me in a panic where I ran through hallways searching for a class I signed up for but never attended, to take a test I wasn’t prepared for.

My journaling results in a ho hum delivery of how we explored our dreams together, starting a dream group.

Looking back on it, I’m surprised I took a subject I found fascinating and potent, and wrote something so bland and uninteresting!

But here is one of the many beauties of journaling: Even when you’re committed to blogging about the experience, you don’t actually have to share your journal entries!

Believe me, I’m doing you a favor!

Your Turn to Share

The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day

I hope someone out there has an excerpt more compelling than mine. If so, please share.

When you write about a way you try to improve yourself, do you discover anything new about yourself?

Or just share about the experience of journaling as I did.

If you’re judging yourself or your writing, can you remind yourself that this is all an experiment? There’s no right / wrong / good / bad or anything when it comes to journaling. Let it be.

Note: Spend time on the Week 3 summary page: Note things that happened this past week that you can write about; make note of things that inspired you; schedule your writing times.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Deborah Louth says

    Day 21 – How I got screwed of Inner Peace – Prompt – Self Reflection

    I am hitting a wall with this exercise. I am staring blankly at my 10 prompts with bits and pieces of my life flitting through my mind aligning with the various prompts. I promptly reject each story thread as not good enough. What I notice is every prompt is related to an unstoppable desire to learn how to create optimum health in the mind/body/emotions/spirit complex. I was a physically weak child, which spurned me to seek ways to improve myself. Some of the fields I studied and personally explored became part of my career. I have a voracious appetite to research, study, read and understand the effects of cutting edge alternative ways to keep the body fit as a fiddle, in order to pursue higher states of conscious – our bodies being the Temple for our souls. It is important that all I learn, I pass on to others in their quest for being the best they can be. Self Refection is my indispensable tool for achieving balance between my inner and outer worlds.
    I once asked a revered teacher of mine, “What is the secret of good health”? The reply was Being Happy! A simple answer in all it’s complexity.

  2. Mary Ann L says

    Deborah- I love your honesty and clarity of reflection. And your dedication to this challenge!

    Taking the 30 day writing challenge was way beyond my wheelhouse as writing as I’ve said is new to me. Only recently I joined an online memoir group hosted by the Jamestown Senior Center last winter during the Covid pandemic with a very small circle of ladies. I am not a writer and never have had a writing habit, but I was intrigued to see what might happen.
    I was delighted to find myself in groups of welcoming, warm people who are disposed to nurture novice attempts to write rather than slice and dice with an angry red pen. It is daunting to say the least to write to a prompt and share your simple thoughts, often with people whose skills, life experience and vocabulary far surpass your own or to share with people you don’t know or cannot see.
    Initially, there is a feeling of wow- we are in this together, taking risks and giving support. When someone appreciates a turn of phrase or even your effort, it is like manna from heaven. Just as I was starting to settle into a kind of groove, life shifted and interrupted my flow. I didn’t like that. I wanted to stay in the game so to speak and keep up with the writers I am enjoying and learning from. Anxiety started its tug and I could feel resentment that others needs were pre-empting my efforts. Some days I was not writing. I was not giving encouraging feedback. I was feeling left behind. Not to say that these feelings are rational or that I will not dust myself off and get back to the plan. But I did not see the angst or perceived failure on my radar or how much I would begin to love this thing-writing.

    • Lisa Tener says

      Mary Ann, you sure sound like a writer to me! 🙂 Welcome back! I have so enjoyed your excerpts, insights and ponderings.

    • Deborah Louth says

      Mary Ann – Sometimes it’s all about timing, when an innate ability shows itself. I, too never had a writing habit. A few years ago, I took a small class with a group Lisa gathered, but I did not continue writing because life interrupted me. This past winter/spring, I took three 4 week zoom, memoir classes online with Cynthia Davidson, which sparked my interest. Now, with Lisa’s new program Joy of Journaling, I have discovered a creative part of myself I was unfamiliar with because of the playfulness within her structure. Your post today was authentic and from the heart – I feel the depth of your feelings. You love this writing thing because it’s in your blood! PS – Love the slice and dice image.

  3. 7167465025 says

    Hi Lisa:

    I love the honesty of your post. My inner critic can be very loud at times. I think it comes from years of graduate school and criticism from faculty members. On day 21, I wrote about being more positive and present, among other personal growth goals. I’m not sure I captured all of my goals for growth, but I’m going to just let it be and tell my inner critic to go on vacation :-).

    • Lisa Tener says

      Simon, I love imagining the inner critic on vacation – sitting by the pool with a fruity cocktail or lying in a hammock by the sea.

  4. Maureen says

    I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. Must count, keep track, strive, do better, do every day. If I don’t get my 10K steps in, I’m clomping about the house at 11:45pm trying desperately to get them in before midnight.
    I tend to go on streaks, which is fine, I guess. Push, push, push. Do it every day. Keep track. Be proud. “I’ve got a streak going” — with steps, with mindfulness, with writing. But then I feel like a failure when the streak is broken. And I don’t want to do something half-heartedly, either, just to “check the box,” rather than really immersing myself.
    Sometimes I think I should miss a day or do a crummy job on PURPOSE, now and again, to help me get over feeling like a failure for anything less than perfection.
    Talk about your inner critic…we all have overactive ones. I think we should send them all on sabbatical!

    • Mary Ann L says


      Lisa’s very wise. Be gentle with your tender soul. For Simon, too! I think there is intention in Lisa’s design of a 3 minute brainstorm and an 5 minute journal. Who creates perfection in 8 minutes? I’m kind of thinking of it as testing the waters and getting into a flow. But I am not as brave as I sound. Full transparency- I did not write in Lisa’s journal. I put post it notes in. I was afraid of ruining the book- unlike you jumping right in! I decided to save it for my next round when I have more experience. Writing these words make me sound pretty darn silly, I know! In case you need a reminder- your best (at any given time) is good enough! Your best, my best will change from day to day. Lisa encourages us to stay the course when our muse isn’t ready to come out and play. In your case, your mama muse 🙂

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