Journaling, My Lifeline

The Power of Personal Writing

by Sharon Ostrow 

        "Then what was felt deeply and never articulated, shared, or put in a context fades from conscious awareness. Without words or names for an experience, memory is hampered. It's bit like not knowing how to access information that is stored in a computer.
Only when we have words that fit what we know deeply is it possible to contemplate the meaning of an experience."
P.52.Crossing to Avalon Jean Shinoda Bolen


   Sharon   I grew up in a small town in the 50’s, and as a young girl I wrote in pencil in books with the plastic covers and those little locks. Between those pages I could be “just me”. This began a lifelong practice of journaling.   I was a shy child, a bookworm; so reading and writing were, and still are, a lifeline. I was a faithful writer and after each session I locked and hid the books underneath my mattress or in the depths of a dresser drawer. I wonder sometimes where these volumes are and if they got lost in the shuffle of moving when I left home or if they got thrown away.
     During the early 70’s drugs, free love and rock & roll reigned and I was a young mother and wife, trying to cope with my crazy lifestyle.  I didn't journal during those years. I was consumed by the duties of childcare and trying to please my husband who was controlling, possessive, and often violent.   I was like Alice in Wonderland and had fallen down the rabbit hole into a bizarre world in which I had no control.  I had little time to self reflect, let alone put pen to paper.  

      By the 1980's I was divorced and had the loss of the custody of two of my children. As a battered woman I was traumatized and deeply depressed.  One day friend sent me a book called Journey Notes, Writing for Recovery and Spiritual Growth by Roseann Lloyd and Richard Solly.   Inspired by this gift, I resumed my journals and recognized my co dependency and other patterns of destructive thinking which was a huge step on the journey of my healing.  Another source that helped me immensely came from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing down the Bones. The stream of consciousness that she taught was freeing and self- revelatory.

     What I know deeply is so often beyond words but still needs to be expressed. To process the truth of an experience, to honor my inner self and the universal connection is the desire that sparks the inspiration to create by the written word.

     I journal nearly every day. Sometimes it is my online diary; sometimes it is in my pen to paper journal which is where I write in my deepest moments; it is into these journals that I pour my most intimate being. I believe that journaling has saved my life.



Sharon_bioMother, grandmother, lover of nature, poetess, blogger of blogs, survivor of domestic violence, Sharon has been writing all her life and inherited her passion for the written word  from her grandfather and her father who were both published historians of  a local history book (edited by her mother who also loves language) of her hometown. She has been published in small literary magazines (now out of print). She is working on a poetry chapbook, her memoirs, and her family history. She makes greeting cards in her spare time. Her blog, It’s All About the Journey is here:

Some of her poetry (Inside Out) is here:


She currently resides in Washington State, in a small community near the Columbia River.