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Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Stop. Pause. Rewind.

Remember those all-familiar buttons on those Sony Walkmans we used to keep on our hips for music portability? Of course, there was the all important Play button we used most often to keep those cool tunes floating into our headsets as we hung out in our rooms or walked the streets of our towns.

When we stop, we decide what song we will listen to.
When we pause, we want to hold the song in that very spot so we don't miss a beat no matter what may be interrupting us.
When we rewind, we just want to play that song again since it was so good the first time.

It is the same with life.
We stop what we're doing to decide what comes next.
We pause when we want to relish the moment rather than run right past it in our haste.
We rewind in order to go back to a previous time to rediscover our experiences and consider them with gratitude.

I'm ready to rewind the tape of my life that I've experienced in the year 2011 to ponder, pause, and consider with gratitude all that has come my way. I decided I wanted to share my musings with you, my dear readers!

Since my life is multi-dimensional, I thought I would approach my Rewind with these in mind:

First off, on The Herring Home Front, we welcomed our first grandchild, Jacob Lee, into the world, thus making me a first time Grandma! It has been a whirlwind of an occasion that has calmed to a very busy, active day-to-day experience, with lots of loving, burping, cuddling, talking and walking time as I interact with this new boy, this new person in my life. And the best part is he is always glad to see me, with those bright eyes and kicking legs showing his excitement. Oh, and then there's the conversation which seems to grow more interesting every day. He has so many stories to tell Grandma, and I am very eager to hear every one. What a blessing and joy he is. Indeed.

Next, is the Journal Writing leg of things.
For my personal journal writing practice of 27 years, I've recently added some new approaches that have really worked for me. I introduced Morning Pages (which you can read about in Julia Camerons' books), which is essentially a stream of consciousness approach to writing first thing in the morning. I also write my goals for work and home each day, clarifying with my Critical Six, the six things that will truly help me get where I want to go in all dimensions of life. (See James Ray's book, Harmonic Wealth.) I also added writing with alternate hands, first with my right, which is my dominant hand, and then with my left. This enables me to initiate the activation of both right and left brain, both logically and emotionally/creatively, in my journal writing practice.

Now for the more public side of journal writing. In addition to posting journal writing links each week, Monday through Friday, on Twitter, in June I began to host #JournalChat Live, a live chat for all things journaling on Twitter with a new topic to discuss every week. In conjunction with that, I introduced the #JournalChat Pick of the Day, which essentially is the post I choose from each day's links posted on Twitter (through my @JournalChat account and some on my @DawnHerring account), which I consider the one that resonates the most with my journaling experience or one that I feel has the most take-away value. Of course, there are days when I have several that I think are just fabulous, so I pick one or two others that I label "Runner UP" before posting the Pick of the Day.

In conjunction with #JournalChat Pick of the Day, I started the all new #JournalChat Pick of the Week which I select from all the picks I have chosen in the 4 days I post links on Twitter. Out of those four, I  choose one that has the topic I decide we will discuss on #JournalChat Live, which takes place each Thursday at 5 EST/2 PST on Twitter.

In association with #JournalChat and all things journaling, I also launched my e-journal, Refresh Journal, for all things journaling and refreshing. Included are links for Pick of the Days, a special section for Pick of the Week to inform those who plan to attend the live chat what our topic is with a suggested prompt for a journal entry as well as highlights from the previous live chat. I also enjoy sharing refreshing tips for home, work, kids, and yourself.  A column for The Artist and a song to listen to to get your week musically motivated are also included.

On the Social Network front: I have enjoyed connecting with all of my journal writing and writing friends through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as we share encouragement, our points of view, our accomplishments, and our dreams for the future. I have found myself smiling, laughing, and relating as I read Tweets, Statuses, and conversations/discussions in the social network sphere.

On the Blog front: It has been such a blessing to me to have subscribers and readers of this blog, JournalWriter Freelance~Refresh with Dawn Herring, where I have posted my musings, lessons learned, and point of view of daily life and what it all means to me. I have also enjoyed encouraging others to refresh themselves on a daily basis, which often initiates positive change in our lives when we take the time to nurture, validate, and appreciate who we are and what we're here for.

On the Creativity front: This year I decided it was time for me to venture into new artistic territory. I have been an artist since childhood, and there are things I have never tried before. So I immersed myself in reading books and trying out watercolor for the first time; boy, am I glad I did! It is my favorite medium, hands down. I have worked in pen and ink, acrylics, pencil, charcoal, and colored pencil up to this point. But watercolor is so vibrant and fun to use! I incorporated it into my new art journaling venture in mixed media which I started on January 1st and also have painted with just watercolor.

I also use and recommend that practice of collage, through image, text, journaling, and mixed media on the page. It has been eye-opening, resonating, and down right fun!! I look forward to my art journaling and watercolor on the weekends. I do hope to do much more of it in 2012.

This year has been a busy, active and learning time for me; I have so enjoyed connecting with artists, journal writers, and writers and other friends this year. You have been such an inspiration to me. Thank you.

I look forward to all 2012 has in store for me, connecting with my true self, my family, my friends, and my Creator.

Have a Super Fabulous, Most Refreshing Year Ever!!

© 2011 by Dawn Herring


Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

Dawn this was a most BEAUTIFUL post and I am in complete and total awe of all that you have accomplished! It is dizzying to me and also makes me feel soooo guilty that I don't do enough OTHER things than blogging.

I would LOVE to see your artwork!

congratulations again on your new grandson, how lucky he is to have such a "tuned in", sensitive, loving and talented Grandma!


Dawn Herring said...

You have done it again! You've made my day, or maybe even my year. You are a dear, dear friend, one who is an encouragement and source of inspiration to me.

Thanks so much for your super kind words. I'll tell Jimmie you said so. :)

I absolutely love what you do with your blog on cats; you follow your passion and I love that. Your cat Cody is blessed to have such a funny, smart, and adoring and adorable "MOM" such as you.

Be refreshed,

Melwyk said...

It's wonderful to see all you've done, all gathered up together. It's important to value and acknowledge our own accomplishments, I believe -- so often we're told not to get "too big for our britches" at a young age, leading to a real problem with devaluing our contributions. It's encouraging to see your post delineating all the great stuff you've done this year. The sense of joy in all of it really shines through :)

Dawn Herring said...

Thanks for stopping by; I appreciate your point of view. I'm glad my enthusiasm came through this post; it was an exciting year.
It's important to validate and appreciate the things we are happy about in what we accomplish. So often, we don't take the time to do so.
Be refreshed,

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(2/4) #Journaling Sensory Details: What we hear

(2/3) Special Needs Support-Journaling

(2/2) Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity

(2/1) Writing as a Practice of Self-love: Write yourself a Love Letter

(1/31) Demonstrating Love

(1/27) Journal Buddies: A Boy's Journal for Discovering and Sharing Excellence Review

(1/26) Journaling: A Family Habit

(1/25) Journal Writing Through Life's Passages: Deciding to start a family

(1/24) Q & A a day

(1/21) Creative Writing Prompts

(1/20) The Art of Keeping a Journal

(1/19) Keeping a journal

(1/18) Journal Writing Basics: 5 ways to get started and keep going

(1/17) Pen and Paper: Journaling the Non-beautiful

(1/14) Famous Mark Twain quotes on Life: A journal writing prompt

(1/13) Journal your way to a better life

(1/12) 7 things you taught me in 1 year

(1/11) Your guide for writing in a journal

(1/10) Are these emotional vampires draining you?

(1/7) Journaling with Children

(1/6) Memory Keepsake: Make your own happiness journal

(1/5) Accessing Your Authentic Self

(1/4) Journal Writing: 11 tips to stay motivated in 2011

(1/3/11) Happy New Year!

(12/30) Journaling Gremlin #3: One Track Tilly

(12/29) The Advantages of Journaling

(12/28) The Power of Therapeutic Writing and Poetry

(12/27) Journal Writing Sense: Writing from the Right Side of the Brain

(12/23) The World of Journaling

(12/22) Dreams and Journal Writing

(12/21) And the Winner - Journaling Over Stress

(12/20) Why is Journaling Important?

(12/17) The Power of Life Journaling

(12/16) 2011 Planning - Journal

(12/15) Journal Writing...

(12/14) From 1 Journal to 100 posts

(12/13) Book review: Discover your dharma

(12/10) Family Journaling: Creating a Positive Atmosphere in your home!

(12/9) Hunters go out, armed with pen, to document adventures

(12/8) Journaling: The Ultimate Gift for your children

(12/7) Daily Inspiration for Journal Writing: Anthony Doerr

(12/6) Why I'll write forever

(12/3) Book Review on Color Learn and Play

(12/2) Use Journaling to Face Your Financial Fears

(12-1) About Writing Journals and Writer's Block

(11/30) Journal Writing (with quotes on benefits)

(11/29)Serious thought on forgiveness and family

(11/26)Journal Writing Prompt on sibling relationship

(11/24) Real Kids Stuff Journaling Ideas

(11/23) Writing Through Gratitude

(11/22) Family Journal Project

Book-Reading, Journal-Writing, and Art...What Fun! by Tara Chapman

Journaling Map by Angela Caughlin, author of Journaling Through

Meet a Journal Keeper: Dave Terry

Hidden wisdom and letters to the self

Faith Journaling

Blogtalk: Learning More With Reflective Journaling

Meet Chuck Hawley: a journal keeper

Journaling Prompts with focus on Gratitude

Sumptuous Sunday

Journal Therapy: Grief Journal Exercise #1

Simple Happy

Fifth graders' family letters open dialogue

I am confident journaling prompt

How a dance teacher uses journaling with students

Am I a Quitter?

Taking A Page from Jewish Journaling


Interview with Diana Raab

An introduction to Journal Writing

Venting in your journal: an ode to the rant

In my dreams for October 18

How Keeping a Journal helps me blog

How to Journal through Sickness to Health

Journaling by Hand blog post

Journaling is another form of integrity and honesty Blog post

Three Steps Toward Yourself (as published in SFC Newsletter, Dec 08 edition)

Accountability: to give a reckoning or explanation for one’s actions, responsible.

When most people think of accountability, they often negatively associate it with answering to others, such as a spouse, a friend, a mentor, or, in most cases, a boss. As a writer, you are your own boss, which is one of the reasons that you need to be accountable to yourself. And it can be a positive experience rather than a negative one.

The first step in being accountable to yourself as a writer is setting goals for your writing and keeping track of projects you want to finish. Incurring a deadline for yourself can help
motivate you in this area. This step can also include daily writing goals. Some authors plan how many words or pages per day they will write.
I’ve set goals for myself as a writer by making them reachable and attainable. This year I have set a goal to write at least one scene for my novel per week and at least one other piece,
whether it be memoir or essay, per week. That can mean just making notes, writing a first draft, or revising a draft.
As long as your goals keep you moving forward and you’re making progress, then you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Once you have your goals set, the next step in accountability to yourself is writing down what you accomplish each day. You can use a daily calendar just for writing or keep track of your
daily accomplishments on your computer. I designed a custom monthly writing calendar. It helps me track what I write daily, whether or not I’ve met my goal for the week, and it has
space for ideas for future writing pieces. I also have a spot to keep track of books I’m reading for that month. I use abbreviations to keep the daily writing easier and to save space. As I review each completed month, I can go back to see what I’ve accomplished and keep track of when I wrote each piece.
Whether you use something pre-made or customize something for yourself, use whatever works for you and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

A third, and perhaps most important, aspect in accountability in your writing is taking care of yourself as a writer. Than can mean giving yourself space and not being hard on yourself if
you don’t reach your goals each day or each week.
Flexibility and refreshment are paramount to your health as a writer. It also frees up your creativity and can actually help you produce more quality writing in the long run.
I enjoy writing in my journal, reading fiction or memoir, and watching a good movie with my family. Taking a walk, listening to music, talking with your family members, and just taking time to sit and enjoy life are all ways you can be good to
yourself—and ultimately accountable—as a writer.

Learn to celebrate your accomplishments and your uniqueness as a writer. That’s one of the best ways to be accountable—to yourself!