Welcome to our brand new “Ask Our Coach” feature on our IAJW blog!

How does this work?  Feel welcome to submit a question you have about journal or life writing using our contact form.  Simply put “Ask Our Coach” in your message and share your question with us.  One of our Journal Council Members will answer your question here on our blog.

Here’s our first Q&A…

Answers provided by our IAJW Journal Council Expert & Coach: Joyce Chapman

Q: How do I create a journal writing habit?

Short Answer: Let me reply by asking you a question: Can you think of several reasons you’d like to keep a journal? If yes, then make a list and start writing…remembering that the way you write does NOT matter. Just journal! If your answer is no to the question, then begin by making a list of boring things in your life and start there. (Are you smiling? I hope so!) There are no rules…and you certainly don’t need to judge yourself. Go ahead — try and let us know what happens!

Long Answer: 

I love hearing questions like this so I can hopefully convince you to start journaling today!
For many years now I have illustrated for people that through personal writing they can individually arrive at their own truths. Why do I believe this is true? I consider this to be an innate truth because I have personally re-discovered myself, re-defined my life purpose and realigned with my soul through the process of writing.
If this belief is true, one might ask, “Then why doesn’t everyone take the time to slow down, to become quiet and write?” This question is one aspect of my work in this lifetime. It is why I have taught, facilitated, coached, and written for over 35 years about the art and joy of journal keeping.

Have you ever wished for a crystal ball that would reveal the answers to questions you posed? A medium that would provide magical insights and information? Within each of us, we have the ability to tap into our own answers, delve into our souls and capture our own truths. It is through our own writing and the trust in our own answers that the answers we seek are unveiled.

As I sat down to answer this question, I first wrote a list of questions that I know to be important for journaling and the personal journey which the act of journaling commences. Journaling begins a journey of fulfillment as one dares to imagine and to live true to oneself and the scripts of one’s soul.

I encourage you to consider the following questions and take time reflecting and answering them honestly. Your answers will give you the enlightenment to take the steps to be among those who know, embrace and practice living true to their soul’s journey through reflection, listening, writing and capturing the revealed learning.

Am I willing to:
…connect with my soul?
…know my life purpose?
…live true to myself?
…keep my word to myself and others?
…live with clarity?
…have clear intention?
…accept that everything in my life provides an opportunity to learn, discover and define myself?
…live each and every moment fully?
…change when change is needed?
…surround myself with people who empower and inspire me?
…live in the creative process?
…reach out for help, assistance, and the information I need?
…consistently and constantly live with integrity?
…choose the beliefs, habits and values that are congruent to achieving my ultimate potential?
…practice and choose actions that are good for all concerned?
…examine, re-examine, and write for insight and direction in order to embrace and fulfill my destiny?

To really connect to one’s natural ability to know oneself, it is important to be able to answer “yes” to the above questions. Journaling opens the door to one’s soul, giving rise to self-discovery and empowerment. Commit to a life that includes writing and journaling. You will find it to be the vehicle that provides a renewal of the soul and allows you to live your life in joy and celebration.

In joy,


Joyce Chapman is a leading expert in the field of journal keeping.  She is passionate about journaling and has spent her life as a teacher, coach and facilitator helping others actualize their dreams using her step-by-step journaling techniques. Her work focuses on enabling people to tap into their inner knowing and live true to their ultimate potential.  Joyce is the author of several books and their companion workbooks: Journaling For Joy, Journaling For Joy: The Workbook, Live Your Dream, The Live Your Dream Workbook, Celebrate Your Dream, Celebrate Your Dream: Workbook, Raising A Dreamer, and Notice: The Art of Observation, series. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is well known in the field of Personal and Professional Coaching.