Recently I was invited to answer some questions about journaling for a
podcast a friend of mine is compiling. Although many of you know me
from the things I've written, I thought this may be worth sharing. Cheers.
is a friend I met through Twitter, who has favorited and
many of my journaling prompts that I had to find out a little more about
her. Fortunately, I have a website where she was able to post her
email address. Her
profile says little more than that she's a baseball fan, but
after getting to know her a little more, I've learned that she is also
passionate about shoes, socks, feet, and helping others learn and grow.
Welcome to the show Jessica!
Tell us about yourself:
- When did you first get started with journaling?
grandmother gave each of us girls journals as Christmas presents when
we were younger.
We thought they were a joke, and I didn't use mine until the day I got
into a terrible fight with my mother when I was nine. Since then,
journaling has been a way to get negative thoughts out of my head and
onto paper where they can't hurt me anymore.
- What is your business, or what do you do for a living?
I sold therapeutic shoes. When you hear my voice, you're hearing the
voice of someone who cares enough to take back eleven thousand dollars
worth of shoes that a customer of mine didn't think he could move. This
is also the voice of someone who took an initial order for a thirty
dollar pair of sandals, and turned that into a thousand dollars worth of
merchandise that I was able to fit into a four by five space. It's not
who you know, it's how you share what you know with people who don't
know you. In my business, the trust factor is huge. Learn to trust
yourself, be a person of your word, and you'll be able to walk away from
a great job with the trust of people who still call your cell when they
need exceptionally good advice, or a friend to talk with. I have
contact information at the end of this podcast, which I'm ridiculously
thrilled to be doing. If you have a shoe or sock related question, tweet
me. If I don't know the answer, or can't help you, I'll be able to
connect you with others who are still active in the industry. Jessica's
my name, connecting supply with demand is my game.
- Tell us about your family?
the oldest of five, my brother is the baby, and today my sisters are
some of my best friends, although that wasn't
always the case. Both of my parents were abusive, and some of
my earliest journal entries were teary scrawls of blue ink in my Hello
Kitty diary. Back then, I didn't see journaling as a way to vent my
frustrations, I turned to it because I had thoughts in my head that no
one could take away from me when the world didn't work the way I wanted
it to. Journaling became a cathartic and reliable way for me to sort out
my thoughts, even if no one else read what I had written.
- Where did you grow up?
My family moved quite a bit, but I have lived most of my life in my head which resides in Wisconsin.
- Who have been your role models growing up?
still very close to several of my aunts. I looked up to them when I was
younger. My father was a very gifted athlete, I have some wonderful
memories of him playing catch with me.
- What's the best thing that's happened to you this year so far?
I was asked to write this, I was headed towards the sauna when I heard
music that electrified me. At home, I sat down to write, but it wasn't
the time yet. I started a scene, realized it was wrong, and went on to
write what I believe is a pivotal chapter in the book I'm currently in
love with. It changed what I thought would happen, what I had planned
for my characters, and if there is any advice I can pass along, it would
be to open your creative channels, and embrace change when it comes
along. When it feels right, you'll know. You won't have to
think, the words will just be there. Thanks for asking me that
question, I had started answering these questions earlier, but my
writing decided to throw me a proverbial curve ball, and what I love
about that is I'm the pitcher, the catcher, the batter, the umpire, and
the crowd of fans. It's so crazy, I wonder if people can tell I'm not a
hundred percent sane just by looking at me.
- Tell us about your favorite hobbies?
I like to write. I love baseball. I also enjoy cooking, walking, riding my bike, information, and Twitter.
- What have you learned about yourself recently?
a great question, it seems as if I'm constantly learning new things
about myself that I didn't know previously. I have a lot of anxiety
related to social venues where food is served since I have celiac
disease, and life threatening food allergies. Recently
I've learned that my feelings are my own, I can't change them, but I
can change how I act, react, and interact with others. Attitude really
is everything. I don't need anyone else to validate mine for me.
- What else is interesting about your background or interests?
periodically tell me that I'm an interesting person. To me, everyone is
interesting, the world is interconnected, and we can do more as a group
than we can individually although individual efforts count as well. You
have a story to tell, journaling takes white space, and becomes
whatever you want; a hope, a dream, an affirmation, a rejection, an
idea, a concept, a galaxy that didn't exist before you created it. I'm a
fan. I like the creativity and the unexpected things that tumble out
during a session.
Tell us about your journaling style:
- How do you like to keep a journal? What do you use?
belong to an online writing community called Everything2 that can be
found at www.everything2.com. My user name is jessicaj, my public
entries are available to anyone with a broadband connection, although I
have also written words that no one else will ever read unless they find
my password. I have a notebook that I keep by my desk, and I'm usually
journaling things in my head when I run into a situation where I'm
- How did you learn to journal?
touched on that earlier. I had the materials, but the fight with my
mother provided the impetus. If you've heard of fight or flight, the
version that works best for me is: fight or flight, and then write.
- How long have you been journaling consistently?
hard to say. Years. I
couldn't say how long with any degree of accuracy. Sometimes I feel as
if I've just started, other times I feel as if I've been doing it since
before time began.
- Do you ever go back and read your old journal entries? What have you learned about yourself?
I rarely go back. I've seen progress and growth which is probably my best argument in favor of journaling.
- What are the top 2 or 3 benefits you've experienced about journaling?
gives your emotions and ideas a place to go. I use it as a way to
present a problem, and I try to write down solutions, strategies, or
different ways I can think about the situation. I can tell myself to let
go of things that I can't fix, that helps too. Sometimes I cry, I keep
- Typed? or hand-written?
prefer to type, although I will pick up a pen and write on anything
handy. I once wrote on the back of a candy bar wrapper when I was at my
sister's place. That was a long bad night.
- What's your favorite place to write in your journal?
favorite places are the peaceful places I have in my head. I hear
music, and construct an environment based on what the notes tell me.
They don't exist in real life, but that
doesn't stop me from visiting.
- What else is interesting about your journaling style?
I try to avoid blaming other
people, or myself. I lay out the facts, the way I feel can be a fact, I
have a letter writing style of journaling, and I try to picture the
people I'm writing to as loved ones who care about what I've been
through, and my well being.
Tell us about what you're up to:
- What are you most passionate about?
tough question to answer. As a person who sees things in mostly black
and white I'm passionate about everything I'm not violently opposed to.
I'm in favor of conservation, organic food, footwear that meets the
demands of an individual foot, and baseball. I hate shopping, fast food,
I dislike people who are unkind, and those who preach tolerance, yet
have none to spare for others who think differently than they do.
- What projects are you working on right now?
writing a book about a shortstop who was recently diagnosed with
a personality disorder. As I mentioned previously, that took an unexpected
turn this past Saturday. Writing is such a wild ride, the moments where
you question everything can suddenly converge into: this is the most
exciting, interesting, and gratifying thing I have ever done. This will
be worth something someday.
- Is there anything you'd like to invite our audience to do or consider?
the idea that everyone has a story to tell. I would invite people to
leave their prejudices and preconceived notions about writing behind
when they start journaling. There is no wrong way to write. If what you
write sucks, and it can suck pretty hard sometimes, the only way to get
better is to keep practicing. Nine year old me didn't know that
thirty-eight year old me would one day travel back to the Hello Kitty
time. My handwriting has changed, but that girl had something to tell
the woman I am today. Never be critical of what you or others have
written in a journal. However shameful, embarrassing, lurid, depressing,
or otherwise 'bad' you think that it is, you've given those thoughts a
path away from you. Leave them in your journal, they're less likely to
hurt others that way. I tend to journal when I'm upset, but I've also
cataloged job interviews,
new jobs, celebrations of great days, ideas for new businesses that
I've had, and day to day things that I thought I would want to remember
some day. At the end of 2012, I wrote a list of memories down in no
particular order. That was so much fun, I've decided to make it an
- Tell us how we can connect with you?
Twitter is probably the best way. @jensen_jessica
- Thanks for being on the show. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
for having me, your Twitter presence, and website reminded me that the
pen can be mightier than the sword, and I'm grateful for that. As
far as closing thoughts go, I once worked with a woman that I didn't
care for who told me that everyone has something to teach you. Years
later, I've kept that thought with me. I believe that people connect for
a reason, maybe there's a reason you're listening to this right now.
Ask yourself questions, don't be afraid to dig deeper into yourself, to
ask yourself those really tough questions about the future. Where will I
be tomorrow, in a week, a month, ten years from now? For me, two of the
most powerful words I know are 'What if?'
Consider asking yourself what if, and writing down your answers. When
the fear is gone, only you, and your ideas remain.
Take care, be well; journal hard. The life you want is out there, how are you going to capture it?
Podcast is now available: Hear my voice live, and in person!