Thank you to a group of North Atlanta youth mentors and advocates for inviting me to speak to a wonderful group of brilliant kids who are on their way to becoming amazing young writers! I had so much fun speaking and answering questions about how journaling can jump start your writing career.
We began our day at LPYG with a lively group of teens who are part of a youth mentoring group that focuses on building life skills. Today’s topic was about how journaling can help build writing skills. Most of the youth in the group did not keep personal journals. Most of them admitted that they had not given much thought to keeping a journal. I explained that journals are used to keep personal thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories and experiences that we hold dear.
The best part about keeping a journal is that you can write down anything you want and you do not have to share it with anyone if you do not wish to share what you’ve written. The teens seemed to like the idea of keeping a journal that they can be open with expressing themselves through words and language openly without fear of judgement. I brought a few starter journals for the teens to keep so that they can begin writing in journals. Some of them even said that they wanted to see if they could use the journals to write stories.
During the Q&A, I invited the youth to ask me questions about journaling and writing. There were a few interesting questions, but the one question that stood out to me the most was from a 14 year old girl named Shamiya. Shamiya said that she was interested in writing a memoir about her life when she grows up. She asked me, “If I write in a journal, will I be able to make it into a book about my life?”
I encouraged Shamiya to keep a detailed journal and write in it daily especially if she wants to write a memoir one day. A daily journal will hold memories that she may not be able to remember in the future. Writing in a journal can help with keeping your most sacred and cherished memories for you so that when you want to look back and reminisce or recall the memory to write your memoir, the memories will be there.
Everyone seemed to be happy with the idea of keeping a journal. Some of them began writing in the journals as soon as I handed them out. When I was asked to share something from my journal, I helped them to appreciate the privacy of a journal. I told them that the privilege of having a journal is so that you can keep your thoughts private until you’re ready to share. For example, when I had written in my journals as a teen, I did not want to share what I had written about my memories of my late best friend Holly and what it was like for me growing up with major depression. It wasn’t until I grew up and decided to write a book about surviving child abuse and mental health that I decided to share thoughts from my journals. It’s more relevant now today because now my book can actually help other people who are dealing with those same issues.
My hope is that the teens were inspired by my experience with journaling and how it helped me build my writing career. I hope that they will write in their journals even if it’s just to have a way to release their thoughts and feelings openly and freely. I look forward to following up with them and their mentors to see how they are using their journals.
Please visit my website to find out more about mentoring and speaking and to find out how you can book me to speak at your next event: http://www.feliciajohnsonauthor.com