Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Post: Author Mari McCarthy ~ A Technique for Self-Discovery

I'm excited to have Mari McCarthy join us again. She's on a blog tour for her latest journaling book, Start Journaling and Change Your Life In 7 Days through WOW-womenonwriting.

What I've always loved about Mari is her genuine desire to teach others to help themselves simply by seeing what's inside of us. That is an incredible gift because some of us have tremendous difficulty being able to do that. We forget who we are or where we're going then end up feeling lost. Mari shows us the many different ways to get back on track through journaling and reflection.

Today, Mari is going to share her insight on a wonderful tool she calls the "I Remember Prompt". She says that by applying this technique to your life every day for a month, you will, "...create your own self-portrait, analyze it, and then put your discoveries to positive use in your life." It sounds simple enough but it's so powerful.

Let's get straight to Mari's post. Feel free to leave her a comment or ask questions. She'll always come around to respond.

The "I Remember …" Prompt: A Technique for Self-Discovery

We use prompts in many areas of experience, as an aid to creative thinking, to kick us out of the box, so we can open to new ideas. Using prompts to jump start your journal writing is a tried and very true practice. Often, by applying the restriction of a theme or title as a given, your journaling will open up new realms of possibility.

The queen of all prompts is "I remember …" If you are capable of remembering at all, this single prompt will excite your imagination far longer than any other.

Try it out right now, in your head. Close your eyes and say, "I remember," and notice your thoughts. Then try it out write now: put the two words at the top of a new page in your journal and keep writing. Every now and then, re-write the words, "I remember…"

Everything we know comes from our prior experiences, and the days of our lives are so brimming with impressions of all kinds that memory is potentially unlimited. As a source for creative inspiration, memory is unparalleled.

I think the combination of remembering and journaling is awesomely powerful because it's a systematized way to know and grow your self.

When part of the reason that you keep a journal is to understand your self better, memories can play a major role. You could create a strategy something like the following, and use it over a set period of time, tracking your discoveries.

·        Decide on an amount of time that you'd like to spend journaling from the "I remember" prompt. This could be one minute or an hour or anything in between.

·        Dedicate to spending this amount of time every day as part of your journaling practice.

·        At the end of a week, read over your entries at a leisurely pace. Then write a fresh entry that summarizes the week's impressions.

·        Repeat this cycle for several weeks. Now and then write an entry reflecting on the You that wrote a previous entry in this series. (Know what I mean? Write a post on Friday that comments on the You of last Sunday's entry. There's only one rule: be kind to yourself.)

·        Finally, after some weeks or months, write one or more posts about how this experience has affected you. What have you learned? How are you different?

Then take a break for a while and let your awareness spread outwards from your new perspective. Allow plenty of time to let your discoveries sink in and begin to take hold. Collect more memories and savor their potential for future journaling!


Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author, owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari publishes many ebooks and e-workbooks to help journalers accomplish amazing things. She also conducts online Challenges, and you won't want to miss her upcoming Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge, June 4-10.


  1. Hi Chynna,

    Love being back with you! I can't wait to hear how writers (yes we all are writers!)like the "I remember" prompt. I'll gladly answer any Journaling questions. WriteON!

  2. I'm so happy to 'see' you, Mari. And I'm glad I get to help you spread the word about what you're doing with this new project.


  3. Mari has the best ideas! :) And when you think about it, they are not so difficult. If we can remember our own experiences and emotions, it can only help our writing--thank you to both of you for this post!!! :)

    1. She does, doesn't she, Margo? Journaling as been one thing that has always helped me work through things and get ideas out.

      I LOVE how Mari is shining the spotlight on this awesome activity. It has SO many layers. =D


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