The Power of Journaling: Article 3 of series

By Erica Miner, NABBW’s Journaling Expert

Greetings, Boomers!

What do the following names have in common?

  • Anne Frank…
  • Virginia Woolf…
  • Sylvia Plath…
  • Thérèse of Lisieux…
  • Anaïs Nin…

How are the following popular novels linked?

  • Bridget Jones…
  • The Nanny Diaries…
  • The Princess Diaries…

In this month’s article, I’d like to discuss some of the famous women who kept journals, as well as some best-selling novels that took form as diaries or journals.

I started my first journal at the age of thirteen, when my dad began giving me date books that he brought home from work. A very wise man, my dad evidently thought I’d grab the opportunity to use them as journals. He was right. Excited about starting high school, I wrote in these journals everyday for four years, up until the day I left for college. In them I confided a teenager’s deep, dark secrets of adolescence: agony and ecstasy about my first boyfriend, inciting incidents of high school life, and other issues facing a young girl who was trying to find out who she was. I’m convinced that faithfully chronicling these day-to-day dramas about the angst of adolescence are one compelling reason why I had such a vivid, intense experience in high school, and why I still remember the experience so clearly even now.

Unfortunately, the journals themselves have been lost in the shuffle of countless moves from place to place over my lifetime; but my recall of that period of my life is so lucid that their content has formed the basis for my life’s labor of love, a semi-autobiographical generational saga novel series about four young girls reaching adolescence together in Detroit in the 1960’s. The first volume, FourEver Friends, was published in 2009. I’ve written the following three volumes of this Boomer saga and hope to continue through several more volumes, as the girls mature into adulthood, and eventually take their places as mature Baby Boomer women.

It all started with journaling – as it did with many other authors.

For Anne Frank, Sylvia Plath and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a journal was a medium for expressing their hopes, fears, dreams and whatever else they needed to get out of their heads and onto the page. Their circumstances were difficult, and they all came to tragic ends; but if not for their journals, we would not be able to learn from their insights and experiences.

Of course, not all journals tell tragic stories. The journals of Bridget Jones, of a certain New York City nanny, and of the princess of a fictitious kingdom have made for entertaining reading and film watching for thousands of us. The point is that the experiences and travails of other people, whether real or fictitious, fascinate us. We relate to their dilemmas, and we try to learn from their mistakes.

If you have yet to put pen to paper, or start a journaling file on your computer, why not begin now? Your life may not be as compelling as some of the women I’ve mentioned in this article – and thank goodness for that – but your feelings and experiences are important, and I’m convinced that you will benefit from expressing them in words. And as our friend Barbara Kingsolver has so famously said…

There is no perfect time to write – there is only now.”

Former Metropolitan Opera violinist ERICA MINER has had a multi-faceted career as an award-winning screenwriter, author, lecturer and poet. Her screenplays have won awards in recognized competitions, and her debut novel, Travels With My Lovers, won the Fiction Prize in the Direct from the Author Book Awards. Erica’s 1960s coming-of-age novel, FourEver Friends, published in 2009, was written with Baby Boomer Women in mind. Her highly anticipated suspense thriller, Murder In The Pit, released in June of 2010, has received five-start reviews across the board. Learn more about Erica on her website, EricaMiner.com.

Former Metropolitan Opera violinist ERICA MINER has had a multi-faceted career as an award-winning screenwriter, author, lecturer and poet. Her screenplays have won awards in recognized competitions, and her debut novel, Travels With My Lovers, won the Fiction Prize in the Direct from the Author Book Awards. Erica’s 1960s coming-of-age novel, FourEver Friends, published in 2009, was written with Baby Boomer Women in mind. Her highly anticipated suspense thriller, Murder In The Pit, released in June of 2010, has received five-start reviews across the board.