By Marcia Thornton Jones

How do I make it through tough times? I’m a little ashamed to admit that when faced with life’s challenges I often find myself
  • Eating
  • Shopping
  • Crawling under the covers and napping
  • Whining…and…yeah…
  • Wining.
At least, that’s what I serve up for pity-parties. But when the pity-partying gets old then I turn to things that are a little more useful like
  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Petting a cat or two
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Reading…and
  • Journaling.
 Journaling is by far one of the best ways for me to ride out tough times. My journals are a hodge-podge of
  • Writing
  • Doodling
  • Collaging
  • Scribbling and…obviously…
  • List-making.
If you don’t journal, why not give it a try? Here are a few quick journaling ideas to help get you through your next tough time.
  • Make a list of five actions you can take. Things you actually have control over. This day. Right now. Then do them and cross them off the list with a flourish.
  • Write what’s bugging you on the page. Make it teeny-tiny. Then take a black marker or crayon and let your inner child scribble all over it.
  • Write everything you know about what’s bothering you. See if an emotion, preference, decision, or action emerges.
  • Vent. Get raw. Scream on the page. Worried about someone seeing it? Not a problem. Trace an innocuous picture on tracing paper. Smoosh some bright watercolors on the tracing paper and then paste it over your rant so that just a hint of the original writing peeks through. Or use that crayon and start scribbling again.
  • Write your favorite inspirational quote in big letters. Collage magazine pictures around your quote as a border and add a few doodles.
  • Hand over the tough times to your story characters. Write a scene where your character has to deal with them instead of you.
Journaling helps me work through problems. If it’s a problem I can’t do anything about I can always scream on the page and at least release some of my frustration. Then I pick myself up and get back to whatever task is at hand becasue one thing my story characters have taught me…life is not easy. Things can--and do--get tough. Then, chances are, they might get even tougher. And no one is going to swoop in and save the day. But you know what? The stories we write wouldn’t be good without a bunch of worthy conflicts challenging our characters, right? It’s the tough stuff that makes the story interesting while transforming our characters into better people with depth and wisdom. Aren’t we the same? Don’t tough times help us become the people we were meant to be?  

Just might be something worth journaling about…

May your tough times be overshadowed with love, joy, and good fortune!

Write on!


  1. I love you you use your journaling to wake up your muse.


  2. I love the suggestion to mark all over the thing that's bugging you. I'm going to try that one out...


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