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Books  >   Health, Mind and Body : Self-Help : Journal Writing : 

Leaving a Trace : On Keeping a Journal

Johnson, Alexandra

Back Bay Books
Published:January 2, 2002

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Description: From Publishers Weekly
Leather-bound five-year diaries were once popular gifts at children's birthday parties, sometimes providing the first taste of a lifelong pleasure. While an estimated 12 million journals are sold annually, Johnson, a teacher of creative nonfiction at Harvard and Wellesley, has found that people also record their lives on dinner napkins, menus, slips of paper and, increasingly, the computer. In her follow-up to The Hidden Writer, for which she won a PEN Award, she proffers advice for journal keepers who want to develop material for later books or who simply enjoy logging life's events. Commiserating on diaries abandoned as "joyless collections of grievances," she offers tips on how to "break the deadlock of introspective obsession." She advises perfectionists on how to silence their censorD"that dark, icy whisper of the confidence thief." Apt remarks by Virginia Woolf, Tobias Wolff, Annie Dillard and others add to her perceptive and often humorous insights on unearthing the interior life, improving observation skills and finding images that reveal significant motivations. The transformation of a factual log into a creative work requires investigating essential patterns: disclosing what has been left out of memory, charting periods of great intensity and connecting the dots between events and influences to develop a true narrative. Because a journal is usually a private affair that offers little opportunity for discussion, people seeking direction on keeping a successful one should welcome this thoughtful guidebook.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Description:
An inspirational, practical, and literate guide to starting and keeping a journal - and transforming it into something permanent like a memoir or a novel.

Leaving A Trace is a practical guide to keeping a journal successfully and transforming it into future projects. Each chapter features both narrative and tailored exercises for beginning and committed diarists. Beginners will turn first to quick ways to overcome inhibitions, get started, and stay on course. Seasoned chroniclers will start diaries with a new slant: they will learn how to trigger inspiration with creative brainstorming exercises; how to note patterns in diaries they already have, and how to shape their material.

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