IAJW Member Spotlight Interview with Genevieve Chye

Our IAJW Member Spotlight Interviews are a way to introduce our amazing members within our global journaling community to our Museletter readers and to fellow journal writers worldwide. Every journal writer has their own unique experience with why and how they journal.

These interviews are intended to share the vast experience and perspectives of journal writers in our community, while offering ideas and inspiration for your own journal writing practice. 

This month, our interview is with Genevieve Chye from Singapore.

Here is her IAJW Member Spotlight Interview

Where do you live?

With the exception of the years I spent studying in New Zealand and the USA, I have lived in the city-state of Singapore where I was born and bred.

Why did you join the IAJW? 

I trained as a Journal to the Self instructor with the Center for Journal Therapy about 10 years ago and only started doing workshops about 3 years ago.  Journaling workshops are not so widely done here and so there isn’t much of a community of journal writers or trainers.  I wanted to find a way to hone my journaling skills and broaden my perspectives as a journal instructor. The IAJW offered many resources and since joining about 2 years ago, I found that although I have not been able to participate in most of the writing circles or workshops, the other resources offered have been wonderful to have.  I hope that in 2022, I will be able to participate more in this community as one of my hopes is to “find my tribe”, and IAJW offers that opportunity.

What do you like best about journal writing and how does it enrich your life? 

I’ve been journaling since I was a child.  It started off with simple recordings of what happened in the day, and progressed to being a place where I shared my thoughts and feelings about what happened in the day.  It helped me to process what I experienced each day and make sense of how I felt or responded to situations and people.  It made me more aware of who I am, what gives me life (and what doesn’t), and helps me to learn to accept myself, just as I am.  It helps me to find areas of growth and to find the patterns in my life that need reinforcing or refining.  More importantly, having journaled over years, I am able to track that growth and it often amazes me when I look back at my journals to see how far I have come.  Perhaps the most enriching part of my journal is its role in my daily spiritual practice.  It has helped me to find God in all things, and to deepen my relationship with God.  This gives me much strength and anchors me in the midst of what is sometimes a chaotic world.

What is one journal writing or creative writing tip (advice) that you would like to share?

I’ve found that many people I’ve spoken to find journalling really challenging because they think it will take a lot of time and effort in recalling and documenting the entire day.  One way to address this is to set aside a specific period of time each day (e.g. 10 minutes), and then write as a timed sprint to counter the desire to overthink what goes into the journal.  I’ve found this to open up the doors to journalling for many when they realise that much can be expressed from the heart in as short a time as 5 minutes.  Writing to prompts is also helpful and the three that I typically use are:

  • What am I most grateful for today and why?
  • What did not go so well today? How do I feel about it?
  • What do I want to do differently tomorrow?

What is one of your favourite books on journal writing or creative inspiration?

My two go-to books are “Journal to the Self” by Kathleen Adams and “Writing Our Faith” by Julia McGuinness.  Both of these are rich with techniques for journalling.  Another book I enjoy is “The Soul Tells a Story” by Vinita Hampton Wright, which speaks of how creative work is soul work, and that resonates deeply with me.  I found my own creative soul through journalling and have learnt to claim this as one of my creative talents.

The one thing I would like you to know about me is…

Prior to the COVID situation, I would travel each year to different Catholic retreat centres in different parts of the world to do a silent retreat for between 4- 8 days.  This is something I’ve really missed during this time.  The undisturbed silence is key to allowing me to truly enter into deep prayer and reflection is is also when I write reams in my journal.  I usually couple that with a bit of a holiday before or after the retreat and so I get to do a little sightseeing as well.  I am really looking forward to doing this again and welcome any recommendations for such retreat centres.

My favourite part of being an IAJW member is …

I appreciate the generosity with which the resources are shared, the on-going inspirations and the opportunities to connect with each other through a shared love for journalling.  Thank you for creating such a community!

The last thing I would like to share is …

I love to cook and bake, especially for friends and family, and designed my home so that I can entertain readily.  One of my hopes is to be able to marry these two creative outlets of journalling and baking/cooking one day, to inspire more people to do both and find their own creative selves.

Thank you Genevieve!  We learn from one another’s stories and experiences. Thank you for generously sharing in our IAJW Member Spotlight interview this month!

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