Writing Down Your Soul - Janet Conner

I have read many books about the power of journaling, and I definitely believe that keeping a journal can help you become physically and emotionally more content. By journaling you review what went well, find solutions for what went poorly, focus on what is coming up in your future, and keep yourself on track. This can help with diets, relationships, careers, and much more.

Janet's book is specialized in that it focuses on an "inner voice" for your journal. Instead of just writing down the day's events, Janet wants you to engage in a dialogue with your inner self. By asking yourself questions, you prod yourself to answer from your subconscious, without thinking, without filtering the answers. It gets you more in touch with what the inner you craves. She goes for speed writing, scrawling quickly, so you can get those thoughts out before your mental critic jumps in and tries to regulate your feelings.

I definitely feel this is one great way of journaling. Sometimes it's good to make logical to-do lists, to chronicle your day's events. At other times, though, writing quickly, stream-of-conscious, with blinding energy can really help you get out emotions you might have otherwise blocked.

Janet provides practical advice for doing this. Set up a schedule. Commit to it. Set your intention BEFORE you write, to really give this your best effort. Commit to using the advice to take baby steps forward in your life. Try to plan a space for your writing, but don't keep putting off your start date until that space is "perfect". It is better to begin than to keep waiting. You can create the space as you go.

She provides guidelines about handling privacy issues, about blocking out distractions, about ways to avoid self-editing. You want to write your honest thoughts.

Janet goes into some research behind how journaling helps. A study of people who had experienced something traumatic had one group write about the facts only, a second group write about their feelings only, and a third group write about the facts and feelings. The third group had far lower stress and better health after the study was done.

In a separate study, job searchers were broken into three groups. One group wrote about their thoughts about finding a job. The second group wrote about time management, and the third group did not write at all. After 3 months, 27% of the "thoughts" group had jobs - but less than 5% of the other two groups did. They all went on the same number of interviews, too!

Janet recommends you write about specific questions you want answers. She provides LOTS of samples. You want to write in the present, active tense. "What can I do this week to help my job search?" You do not want to write vague passive questions like "when will a job appear?" The aim is to tap your own creativity to achieve your goals.

I greatly appreciate that Janet talks about how we develop our inner critics - the ones she is working so hard to help us overcome. We developed them to protect ourselves! In the past, we found failure very painful. Our critics try to shield us from that pain. By saying "do not try that, you might get hurt" the critic is trying to keep us safe. However, the critic also stands in the way of our growth! We need to soothe the critic, accept it and move beyond it. Janet helps us with that step by step.

That all being said, I found several things questionable. I always doubt the truthfulness of reviews on Amazon for example when a bunch appear on the same day, as if the author found a bunch of friends to submit good reviews for her. Next, she claims that her soul writing is different than journaling because she provides scientific studies proving her ways work. Her studies she quoted are also in SEVERAL other books - and they are all about JOURNALING, not about soul writing! She says several times to just write about a desire ("I want $1000") and then sit back and do nothing, and it will appear. I consider that VERY bad advice. It's good to have goals - and it's also important to deliberately go after them. To advise people to sit back and watch TV and expect their bills to be paid can be extraordinarily harmful. The talks about how it is extremely difficult to listen 70% of the time and only talk 30% of the time. She makes it sound like this is a sweeping statement for all of humanity. If that were true then how could it ever be a valid stat? Someone else must be listening the other part of the time! What must be true is SHE likes to talk a lot. Lots of people like to listen and never talk. I'm sure I could easily find 10 guys I know who only talk 30% of the time and their wives talk 70% of the time. Their wives complain about it!

Still, she has a lot of good information here, if you accept that not all of it is 100% gospel. Well recommended.

Buy Writing Down Your Soul from Amazon.com

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