CentreStage with Jen Tucker: Journaling is totally the way forward!

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might share with you stories about their lives, their writing, their books, their characters (the ones in their books, I mean!) or anything else that takes their fancy.

Today, I have a very special guest indeed. We have never met (YET ~ and that’s only because we live on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean!) but we have clicked in a most dramatic fashion. We hang out in the social networks together, and we share a love for music (especially of the rock variety), hanging with the stars (oh yeah, baby, my guest today had a *very* special moment meeting the one and only Seal!), and we adore children, family life and writing. Oh, and reading. Give it up for the amazing, adorable and outrageously funny… Jen Tucker!

Journals, Life-Lists, Action!

YAY!  I’m on CentreStage!  *Jen curtsies in dramatic fashion* Thank you, Nicky, for giving me the spotlight today on your blog.  I’m so honored and I appreciate you more than you know.  For those friends here that I am meeting for the first time, Nicky and I are sisters from other mothers from across the ocean.  It’s my mission to knock on her door one day, totally uninvited, and watch the squeals commence.  I love this girl to bits!  Again, my heart wells over to be here with you today.  Thank you, Nicky.

Nicky says: ‘Sisters from other mothers across the ocean…’ I couldn’t have put it more beautifully, Jen. Awesome.  Mwah, I love you to bits too! Please come and visit soon! Or… I’ll come and see you? But I am interrupting already, so sorry. *slaps own wrist, lightly* Please, go on! 🙂

The Beauty of a Journal

I’ve kept journals from time-to-time in my life.  Mostly in a drawer, or collecting dust on a shelf.  It defeats the purpose of documenting events if you never crack the spine, doesn’t it?  I’ve made journaling part of past New Year’s Resolution lists; to break that baby out and write daily.  I reached epic fail by January 5 each year of said resolution.

Perhaps I just needed a little more inspiration to keep a diary of my thoughts!  Maybe a prettier journal, decked out in pink paisley would make me more apt to jot down thoughts, right?  What if I just dedicated one as love notes to my children?  To my husband, Mike?  Again…epic fail.  I’ve always felt so much pressure to peel the pages apart and write something monumental, or of self-discovery that would bring me total enlightenment.    Instead, I found my mind drifting towards my errand list, or that I forgot the bake sale last Tuesday at school, and even wondering if I remembered to give the dog a heartworm pill.  So I’d close the notebook, set my pen aside and promise myself that I’d try again tomorrow.  Those tomorrows never came.

This past April, I had the privilege of meeting and taking a workshop from Karen Waldron.  If you are not sure who Karen is, please take some time to check her out when you are finished at CentreStage today.  It is no small thing for me to tell you she changed my life, yet she has no clue of the impact she made upon me.  Well, maybe a sliver.  I kinda emailed her—babbling—psychotically eviscerating myself about what my hour and a half with her at The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop meant to me.  I’m afraid that after I verbally gushed all over her that I’m on her stalker list.  Anyhoo, the heart of Karen’s workshop was finding your creative edge in writing.  She introduced me to mind-mapping (not hocus pocus, I promise) creativity through photography and journaling, and making a life list (another person’s bucket list) full of the everyday and extraordinary adventures you might long to partake in, in this lifetime.  This class billed as creative writing impacted me.  It slowly unraveled before my eyes that I was immersed in a creative living course.  It fueled me.

What Karen didn’t know when I took a seat that day is that I was in a rut creatively.  I had a manuscript awaiting edits I had no desire to make.  I had been mulling over a shift in my career; to go indie and leave my publisher.  I was drowning in several works in progress, yet felt like I lacked the time and energy to make them happen.  My life was busy, manic, overwhelming.  That’s because I chose to make it that way.  I was stuck in several time-sucks; things that were not moving me forward.  Karen helped me see that.  I was too busy worrying about what I wasn’t doing with my career, that I wasn’t doing anything to propel it forward.  That’s not a great place to be in life, is it?

The idea of journal writing became demystified to me in this class.  Karen taught me to not keep it so sacred that you feel only foundation cracking items can be written betwixt the pages.  Write your thoughts, your to-do list, or even paste those silly fortunes from the inside of cookies in there.  Use your pretty pink pens.  Glue photos and thank you notes inside that are clogging up your desk.  Give those things a place.  Write down quotes and ideas that inspire you.  For God’s sake, doodle in there too!  Make it yours.  Make it a part of your every day, several times a day.  Get thoughts out of your head.  Then turn those thoughts into action.

I sit before you now a gal who since Monday, April 23 of this year (the first day I dedicated myself to journaling daily), that has filled 4.7 journals.  Yowza, right?  I made it a commitment.  I made it a part of my daily routine; my life.  Make journaling a habit and it will repay you tenfold.  It has helped me align important things in my life.  Inspired me more than you can fathom.  Journaling has also been a BFF when I just wanted an ear to bend about my troubles and tears.  The springboard to creative wells.

My life list is contained here too.  I’ve listed things like making a huge apple pancake, taking a train ride in a private car, and spending an entire day never looking at a clock.  All do-able things, right?  Well, that last one is a real stretch, but can be done.  Journaling could be all this and so much more for you too.  Just give it a try, for five to ten minutes a day this week.  I don’t care if you just draw smiley faces and write down your grocery list.  Just write.  Carry your journal with you too.  You never know when inspiration, frustration, or determination may hit and need documenting.  I cannot wait to hear what wonderful things happen for you all because you picked up a pen today and wrote.

Bless and be blessed,


Nicky says: *clears throat cautiously, feeling as though commiting a verbal crime speaking up after such a beautiful discourse* Jen, thank you. I don’t really know what else to say other than thank you for sharing this part of your journey and inspiration with us. I’ve got a stack of empty journals here. I will be using them forthwith! 🙂

About Jen Tucker and her work

Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like.  A former teacher and educator, she has worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries.  Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes where she marries humor with preparedness. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children. 

You can purchase Jen’s latest book, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt, here.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog or on her website at Princess with a Pen.

Nicky says: Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. I recently finished reading “The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt” and I absolutely adored it. I identified with it, I felt like I knew Jen-the-person, and Mike, and a certain rock star and it was just an enchanting experience to be welcomed into Jen’s life. Thank you, Jen!

So, my friends… Journals, do you keep them? Lists, do you make them (I know I do)? What do YOU make of Jen’s way to harness inspiration and ideas?

16 responses to “CentreStage with Jen Tucker: Journaling is totally the way forward!

  1. Love this post. Thank you ladies. I have several gorgeous journals sat in my drawer – gifts from people who know I love them. Now I feel inspired to let them see the light of day. Inspiring post! x

  2. Good morning everyone! Nicky, thank you so, so much for giving me the floor today! I had a ball. Shaz, thank you so much for stopping by CentreStage! I’m so excited you are gonna bust those babies open and write! Please let me know what happens for you when you starting journaling. XOXO

    • Aw, Jen, that makes me so happy that you had a great time visiting here today, whooot! Good things will happen with a journal, I’m sure fabulous things will happen as a result. You’re aweseome, sister! xx

  3. I’ve always kept a journal when I travel, but I don’t keep one for every day. I like the ideas for your journaling. I may have to rethink the way I do mine. Great post. Thanks, Ladies.

    • whoop! So glad you could pop by and visit, and got to enjoy this fab post. Good luck with your journals, let us know how you get on! xx

    • I love that you journal on trips! My grandmother did that as well and I have all her notebooks lovingly tucked away in my office. It makes me smile to flip through them and read about her excursions. Some of which were to visit me when I was little. Thank you so much for stopping by Nicky’s blog! XOXO

  4. Fabulous post, Jen! I will have to try this. It’s been eons since I last journaled. 🙂

  5. Such a simple idea! I think you may have just changed my life…
    I am a compulsive note-taker, list-maker and scribbler, but so far I’ve always had different notebooks: the poetry and writing notebook, the book review book, the To Do diary, the professional brainwaves book, the Oh Shit list book (of things I’ve forgotten) and so on. Invariably, I’d always end up with the wrong notebook in the wrong handbag on the wrong day. But if I consolidate it all in one – it may be difficult to find a specific item I am searching for, but at least I will know that it is there!
    Thanks, Jen, for a fun and great idea, and thanks, Nicky, for hosting!

    • Hi Marina! Thank you for stopping by! I have to tell you that I do have a journal i keep specifically for story ideas, thoughts, dialog that pops into my head, etc. It goes everywhere with me! My “hitting bottom” was when I was at my son’s football game and I had an idea and ZERO paper to write in on. Not even a gum wrapper in my purse! LOL! That was when I knew I needed to have a safe place for flashes of ideas. XOXO

      • OOOH I’ve been there too! Mostly in the middle of the night. I’ve been known to type messages to self into my mobile so as to not forget a thought! XX Thanks for visiting, Marina, so glad you enjoyed meeting Jen. XX

  6. Little catch up, but I am so with Jen with journals. Totally : )
    I have a stockpile of beautiful notebooks and have kept a page a day diary for… 19 years? And a daily diary for 26 years? Mental but true, I began, v.v young. My most well used bags all contain a wee notebook, and if it doesn’t there are always receipts ; ) I resolve a lot of thoughts and ideas through the written word.. x

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