Art Journaling: Writing from the Heart

I am so excited to share a guest post from my friend Amy with you today! I think you'll find her words very inspiring...  I know I did! :)

Hello! My name is Amy and I blog over at Fate Filled Times

I'm here today to talk about my writing process

My writing process is deeply personal. 

It's deeply personal because it faithfully serves as my practice for purging, coping and healing. 

My writing wasn't always this personal. I used to try really hard to craft my writing in such a way that each entry in my journal was quotable. I was inspired by reading books by author and artist SARK ( Her handwritten words and honest sharing offered me a clear example of journal-style writing that was published as a readable book. At the age of 20-ish, this was a new concept for me. I was fired up and ready to write a book! Looking back, I can see my very early development as a writer, artist, and general sharer of life's struggles and realizations. 

I thought I was digging deep, but looking back I was only scratching the surface. 

Since that book, and probably close to ten books later, I think I've gone deeper beneath the surface, shared more of my raw places and experiences, learned how to share publicly and developed a process of writing that works for me in the every day. You know, the one that exists outside of a full time job, full time relationship and other life daily stuff that takes up the majority of my time. I'm not a person who does art for a living (yet) but I do feel strongly that I live an artistic life.

Writing and art making are most definitely my most personal survival tools in this life. 

So, how do I write from my heart in my art journaling? 

* I use my journal as a space to purge my thoughts and feelings. 

* I write more for the process than I do for the final product. It feels great to purge spinning thoughts. Getting them onto paper can make you feel cleansed and clear. 

* I generally try to identify my emotions & listen to my body. I'm a detective! For example, if my stomach is in a knot, I ask myself what it is holding on to. Am I nervous? Am I sad? What emotion is at the core of this physical signal? I write about it until it starts to unravel on the page. 

* I've learned to avoid judging what I write. Back off, grammar police! I'm not perfect! I'm also not trying to write essays at University standards. Yes, I use spell check, but no, I don't ask for any help with editing. And, yes, I usually type in lower case. I don't know why. If I make "mistakes" I see it as part of my character. It makes the writing that much more genuine. 

* I've learned there's something to be said for leaving what I've written alone and going back to it later on. Events, feelings or observations that don't seem significant at the time I write them usually make sense later on it the bigger context of my life. 

* I remind myself that sharing emotion doesn't mean I have to share the private details of my life. This is especially important in a blog or other public writing context. Try describing your feelings
without sharing why you feel that way. People can connect with the feeling even if they don't know exactly how you got there. 

Feeling Intimidated? Here are Some Ideas On Where to Start:

* At home, or out in the community, I set a scene. I lay my quilt on the floor, make a pot of tea and spread out my materials. At a cafe, I sit by the window with a tea latte. Also, use materials you love. A special journal and pen make writing much more enjoyable. 

* I find that when I write on the go, I come up with unexpected inspiration. It is easy to get inspired by conversations on public transit or views on your commute. If you are stuck waiting in
line or in an office before an appointment, you might find that 5-10 minutes of quiet writing produces great work! Keep a small journal and pen handy in your bag at all times. 

* Try cutting words out of magazines or newspapers. Arrange and re-arrange them. Make a poem. Make several! Glue down the final poem to your journal. 

* Make lists about day-to-day happenings, goals, gratitudes, fears, bills, groceries...anything. 

* Use prompts! Make your own or look them up online. 

Examples of Prompts: 
I would love to...
I'm afraid of failing at... 
My life is full of... 
I feel lost when... 
My safe places are... 

A last bit of advice... 

* Connect with other writers and artists! Be a part of online communities. Travel to attend workshops, connect with local artsy spaces, try the odd online course in writing, photography or crafting. Make expression a priority in your life. You are worth it! You deserve it! 

"I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed,
I am false."


  1. Awesome post! While I do write in my art journals, I'd like to do more and dig deeper like I do in my lined, paper journals. I just want it all in one place!

    Thanks for the writing tips and prompts, too. I'm a member of the Livejournal communities jr__nal and embodiment, and have saved a bunch of prompts from member posts as well. :)

  2. I am so glad you loved this post as much as I did! I struggle with whether or not to put my art and writing journals together sometimes. I like to be able to show my art journals to other people, but keep the writing ones to myself, yet sometimes the lines blur and things get mixed together.

    I hope we can have Amy back again soon to share even more tips and tricks! :)

  3. This is such an inspiring post. Great idea's that make me want to take my quilt out into the yard.

  4. Thank you for visiting and for your comment! I will pass along your kind words to Amy. I hope you had a chance to go out with your quilt today!! :)

  5. Anonymous1:43 PM

    I relate to every last sentence and word of this post!!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I'm so glad you loved Amy's article as much as I did! I hope to have her back soon to share more about her writing process! :)

  7. oh amy.
    you are such a beautiful soul.
    i loved the tip about uncovering what our physical trigger is coming from. <3
    thank you for sharing your process with us.

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