Journaling – one of the greatest investments of my life

Dawn Herring, creator of the #JournalChat Live Facebook Group, and my journaling mentor, has started off 2016 with a #JournalChat Live open house. She has asked us to share if journaling has been one of the greatest investments in our lives.

Dawn says, We keep journals to express ourselves, to create positive change, and become more personally empowered, right? So, we may see journaling as one of the Greatest Investments of our lives AND/OR, we may have experienced clarity and clear direction as a RESULT of our journaling practice that has led us to something that truly changed our lives for the better.

Her statement is indeed true for me. Here is why.

My Journaling My Greatest Investment

By Madeline Sharples

EditorDuring lunch with a new friend last week, she asked me about my writing projects. I shared that I am writing a lot of poetry these days and that I’m also revising my novel for about the 15th time. Then I told her I journal every day. That made her back straighten and her eyes go wide. Really, you journal every day? she asked.

Yes, that’s the truth of it. I couldn’t not journal. Even when I give myself permission to skip it I can’t like the other night. I decided to skip it, but I relented. I got out my computer, opened a word file, and began to write as fast as I could. I needed to get to bed soon, but I couldn’t go without writing some things about my day and life.

Some days I write a journal entry as soon as I sit down at my computer in the morning. Other days I’ll write at the end of the day. I did that when I had a long-term consulting job last spring and had no time to do my own writing before work.

In fact in those days, I’d be so tired when I finally had the time to write, I’d sometimes fall asleep as my fingers were moving along the keyboard. Some of my journal entries came out pretty weird as a result. Needless to say I didn’t get very far on the page.

However, it doesn’t matter when I journal. What matters is that I write. Investing that time everyday never feels like time wasted. That is because journaling has helped me in so many ways. Journaling:

  • Allowed me to put my pain on the page when my son was diagnosed as bipolar and after his suicide death
  • Became better than a therapist for me when my son died because I could share thoughts in my journal that I couldn’t share with anyone else. The page didn’t judge. The page never told me what to do or how to handle my grief. The page never told me it was time to stop grieving already. The page didn’t worry if I was on the verge of a breakdown. The page was like an everyday friend.
  • Helped me find a new career as an author and creative writer. Many of my journal entries became resources for my published memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On
  • Allowed me to rant, even in the physical act of typing my journal entries. The harder I pound on the keys the more benefits I reap.

Even now journaling kick starts my blog posts, my poems, my life story pieces. When I get my thoughts down on the page in a journal entry, they are easy to transfer to another genre. And journaling still keeps me sane.

Journaling also helps me organize my life. Most days I list all my to-dos for the day. I also write down everything I’ve accomplished the day before. Journaling keeps me accountable and makes life so much simpler.

All this for so little. I write my journal entries on my computer, using Microsoft Word. I don’t do anything fancy no illustrations, no fancy type just text. And it takes me no more than 30 minutes to write 500 to 1000 words. Typing lets my fingers keep in time with my thoughts. The only time I’ll write with pen to paper is when I don’t have my computer with me and that’s almost never. When I travel I always carry my laptop with me. And in case you’re wondering. I have a locked file system on my laptop and desktop computers to ensure my journal entries are absolutely private and secure.


I hope my story has convinced you to try journaling. And if you have already discovered what a great investment journaling is, please share your stories in the comments section below.


eBook Cover

eBook Cover



  1. Madeline,
    Thank you SO MUCH for this fabulous post showcasing how journaling is the greatest investment in your life. I’m so glad it has been such a powerful tool in so many dimensions of your life! It’s amazing. The impact it has had in your well being is tremendous and what a testimony it is to the journaling community. I so appreciate your sharing our Facebook Group and for your kind words concerning me personally.

    Thank you for your generous contribution and for YOUR JOURNALING VOICE.

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    Host of #JournalChat Live on Social Media

    • Dawn,

      It was my pleasure. I love writing and talking about my journal practice since it’s so important to me and my life. I’m glad you gave me an opportunity to share about it.

      With all best wishes always,

  2. I often read your posts but don’t take time to comment. However, I want to thank you after reading this one last night. You reminded me again how valuable journaling can be! Writing out my thoughts, doubts, feelings and insights and putting them down on a non-judgmental page can be so comforting and fulfilling! It puts me in conversation with my Self and that is more than beneficial, it is nourishing. You’ve spurred me on to journal more often. Thanks again.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      Kas, I’m so glad my article has spurred you on to journal more often. I guarantee you, you won’t be sorry. I love having a place to share everything about my self. And I like that you call it “nourishing.” Thank you for your comment.

  3. Madeline Sharples says

    Thanks for coming by, Jen. I like your website.


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