Tag Archives: creative non-fiction

Book Review: Heal Yourself with Journaling Power by Mari L. McCarthy

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In Mari L. McCarthy’s latest book Heal Yourself with Journaling Power, she outlines the many personal benefits of starting or continuing to journal.  Heal Yourself with Journaling Power offers writers and non-writers a concise overview of how journaling can be used to help resolve all kinds of personal issues through daily journaling.  The book itself serves as a roadmap and call to action for anyone desiring change or left wanting more out of life.  I expect nothing less from the author/creator behind CreateWriteNow.

Mari begins by describing the true power behind journaling:  daily habit.  It did not surprise me that she begins by mentioning morning pages.  The same concept fuels one of my favorite websites:  750words.  Deceptively simple, the humble act of writing daily drives later change.  Once journaling becomes a daily habit, the real work begins.  However, all true healing through journaling hinges on writing consistently.

In the book, Mari provides readers with an outline on how to use this power to heal their own lives.  She includes different aspects of her personal story and anecdotes of others who have had similar experiences to drive her points home.  In addition, she provides readers with journal prompts in each chapter.  As a result, it can easily be viewed as a textbook by anyone wanting to use journaling to fundamentally change his or her life.  Part memoir, part writing manual, and part self-help book, I would recommend Heal Yourself with Journaling Power to anyone remotely interested in self-improvement, journaling, or writing generally.

In fact, a few simple tools will put anyone on the path to healing through journaling.  Personally, I would recommend using 750words or another online journal to get started journaling daily.  Add in the community and resources over at CreateWriteNow along with a copy of Heal Yourself with Journaling Power to keep motivated and moving forward.  I don’t see the need for much else when it comes to journaling, although different prompts are always fun and often provide insight that moves the process along.

As a writer, I found myself largely agreeing with Mari throughout the book.  While I haven’t experienced some of the more dramatic physical changes she attributes to journaling, I have journaled consistently enough during various stages of my life to attest to its power.  I particularly agree with Mari that journaling provides a clarity that is difficult to find anywhere else.  The clarity that comes from journaling consistently can help writers overcome a myriad of obstacles that may be in their way, no matter what they might be.

While I would recommend Heal Yourself with Journaling Power to any writer, non-writers may benefit from it message to a greater degree.  The techniques outlined in the book can be used by anyone to help identify roadblocks and move forward on any goal, dream, or ambition.  Using the journaling process to help organize one’s thoughts and formulate a plan of action may not be obvious to non-writers.  The power of journaling needs to be experienced to fully understand just how lifechanging it can be.

Stay tuned!  Next week I will be interviewing Mari L. McCarthy.

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About the Author, Mari L. McCarthy

Mari L. McCarthy is the Self-Transformation Guide and Founder/Chief Inspiration Officer of CreateWriteNow.com. She is also author of the international-bestselling, award-winning book Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live.

Mari began journaling to relieve the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) over 20 years ago. Through journaling, Mari was able to ditch her prescription drugs and mitigate most of her MS symptoms. Now she teaches people throughout the world how to heal, grow, and transform their lives through the holistic power of therapeutic journaling.

She lives in a gorgeous beachfront home in Boston, where she has the freedom, flexibility, and physical ability to indulge in all her passions, which include singing and recording her own albums.

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Creative Non-Fiction: Real Life, Only Better

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This past semester, I spent the last three weeks of my creative writing class studying creative non-fiction.  I looked forward to this part of the course from the beginning.  Even though I didn’t necessarily know the term per se prior to my class, the idea and technique long fascinated me.  It is one of many reasons why I am so intrigued with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work.  As an adult, I learned that many scenes and even characters in the Little House on the Prairie series were compiled from various people and events from Wilder’s childhood.  For example, Nellie Oleson is actually a compilation of three of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classmates.  Combining traits to create a more threatening character and condensing the chronology of events just makes for a better story.  This is largely what we do with the stories we tell ourselves anyway.

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I view creative non-fiction as simply getting those stories, the stories we tell ourselves about our past and our world, in writing.  Both of my parents are wonderful storytellers and have this process down, but they rarely commit their stories to writing.  Without adding fictional elements, a straight non-fiction approach to family and personal stories would not have the same impact.  It is an art to get it just right.  The true story cannot be lost in the fiction; at the same time, there are people, places, and events that may need to be stressed or rearranged to make a compelling story.

One of the most surprising ideas that came out of three weeks of studying creative non-fiction is the sheer variety of writing that can fall under the creative non-fiction umbrella.  It can include works addressing personal memories; essays on people, places, and ideas that inspire or fascinate the writer; or exploration of a real event through creative writing.  That is just the beginning.  A writer can take a real event from his or her personal history and explore it through the eyes of someone else.  I’ve also taken a piece of fiction I wrote earlier and expanded on it, explaining what really happened and what inspired the story in the first place.

I now have a home – a label as a writer.  I could never fully say that I write fiction or non-fiction.  Neither label fit.  I now have a name for what I’ve long known:  In order to write about real life well, writing must contain all or most of the elements of fiction.  It is as simple and as complicated as that.  I am ready to explore it all.

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