Local Author Encourages You to Spark Your Creativity Through Journaling

A new writing journal encourages readers to explore their mind and be in the present moment. All you need is eight minutes.
Lisa Tener Social Media

Photography by Seth Jacobson.

Want to put pen or pencil to paper but just don’t have the time? Lisa Tener can help.

The author and publishing coach’s latest book, The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day,  is full of prompts like “Words We Love” and “Inviting in Life’s Magic” to help kick-start your journaling habit. She thought up the prompts while working on a completely different book.

“One morning I woke up and it was like the bones of the journaling book were there, it was an epiphany,” she says. “Often I write my dreams when I wake up, but I wrote thirty prompts for writers to journal about.”

Published in September 2021, the book has won a Nautilus Book Award, an Independent Publisher Award, a National Indie Excellence Award in the How-To category and a Living Now Book Award.

Tener, a Saunderstown resident, previously worked at a nonprofit and found that journaling was a great way to deal with the burnout from her stressful career. She also developed chronic fatigue syndrome and detailed her feelings and symptoms in her journal.

“Journaling led to this idea of writing my first book about anger and transforming anger, The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Anger [co-authored by Tener, Jane Middelton-Moz and Peaco Todd], and that idea came from my journal,” says Tener, who quit the nonprofit job to focus on writing books.

The book coach side of Tener strives to show aspiring writers the secrets and tricks to good storytelling, helping them strategize their book content, holding them accountable and guiding them to make important decisions about their book. But even those who aren’t novelists or professional writers can get a lot out of the journaling process, she says.

“As a book coach, I hear from a lot of people who have a desire to write but feel intimidated — there’s a lack of confidence or maybe they don’t have all the skills to write,” she says, adding that people can start writing simply for the joy of it. “My journal has been such a source of transformation for me, so I felt that I really wanted to share this joy and the personal development tool of journaling with others.”

Tener has assisted several published authors while working on their books and she has taught numerous classes as a faculty member at Harvard’s medical school for more than a decade, guiding doctors and other health care professionals on writing and publishing for a lay audience. 

Besides jotting down your reoccurring thoughts on paper, journaling has more benefits than one might expect. 

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Courtesy of Lisa Tener.

“One benefit is improved memory; another is it’s a mood booster. There’s a lot of research by [social psychologist] James Pennebaker that shows that journaling can help people overcome trauma and PTSD,” Tener says.

“You’re your best expert on you and there’s a lot of great experts that can help you, but in the end, if you journal, you can find solace,” she adds.

It can be hard to implement a new task into your routine, so Tener has some helpful hacks to make the introduction to journaling easier: 

“Do it first thing in the morning because that’s when you have that easy access to your creative space,” she says. “I’m a night owl so it wasn’t easy at first, but once I got the rhythm of it, it helped me finish my writing projects and publish them.”

Don’t have time to write in the morning or at night? Take your journal to your doctor’s appointment, the DMV, or even the pickup line at school as you wait for your kids to arrive. 

“Just find those little bits of time, it doesn’t take much to write in this book — only eight minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be a lot and it can make a profound difference in your life,” Tener says.

As you get to learn more about yourself, journaling can help you understand your wants and needs, and how to communicate them as well, she says. “Journaling puts us in touch with our own truth and helps us discern what’s true for us,” says Tener. “Become better at expressing your needs, then you’ll be better in relationships, too.” Find the book on Amazon.com, at any major retailer or locally at shops including Books on the Square in Providence and Wakefield Books. lisatener.com

 

“You’re your best expert on you… if you journal, you can find solace.” —Lisa Tener