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Creative Journaling Sets The Mind Free by Maria Gillard

Creative Journaling is exactly what it sounds like.

Journaling: the act of writing about your daily life, hopes, dreams, fears, and frustrations; to process conflicts, decisions, memories and wildest thoughts.

Creativity: Making things up, imagining, using words in fun ways, drawing, collage, poetry, painting, and design.

We put these things together to draw out inner feelings that may have been buried, express hurt, anger, joy, laughter, and apprehensions. I have been journaling for many years.  It helps me understand how I think. It helps me get rid of angst, pride, guilt, jealousy-things I don’t necessarily like to feel. It helps me find ways to write new songs. Through journaling, I discover new things about myself.

It is not group therapy but it can be therapeutic. Creative Journaling is designed to hear new ideas and experience different writers’ voices and creative outlets. We often discover how much we are alike, and that the human spirit longs for the same basic things no matter what age, creed, gender or color we are! I have taught this class at Writers & Books for more than 10 years and almost always students come away with something valuable they have learned about themselves.

Please come with a curious and open mind and think of it as an adventure into your best self!


Read more about Maria’s Creative Journaling workshop starting Thursday, July 6:


Maria Gillard is a singer-songwriter-teacher who has taught Creative Journaling for many years. She has taught at Omega Institute, Writers & Books (adults and teens), Linwood Gardens, and Finger Lakes Community College. She taught the successful “Create a Radio Show” course for SummerWrite for 15 years. She has four self-published recordings of her songwriting and is a professor of music at Finger Lakes Community College.



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Twitter Boosts Creative Expression by Robin L. Flanigan

I resisted — strongly resisted — having a presence on Twitter for years. I was too busy and didn’t have any more time in my schedule to maintain yet another social media account.

And then…you know where this is going, don’t you?…in September 2011 I bit the bullet and received a Twitter tutorial that has, and I say this without exaggeration, changed my life.

I have been introduced to literary magazines that have published my essays, writing conferences that I have attended, jaw-dropping narratives that inspire my own work, people I keep in touch with both online and in person, and more. The resources, inspiration, and validation I have received from the interactions I have on Twitter monumentally impact my creative expression.

And this all happens with the smallest investment: minutes a day.

The story I have the most fun telling when describing Twitter’s influence has to do with a local graphic designer, Eric Wilder, who started following me shortly after I signed up. We eventually met in person (as I’d done with a handful of other followers) and decided to co-host what has become an annual Literary Party to celebrate writing. Because of these parties, one woman learned last year that the college where she taught as an adjunct professor would foot the bill for her to attend a national writing conference. Another woman met a man she’d seen read his poetry a few months earlier; she told him he inspired her to start writing poems again after a 25-year hiatus. I came away from our most recent party with three lunch dates (all with writers I know only professionally, not personally) and the possibility of a new client.

You can never predict where things may lead.

But I know that the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities come your way. And when it doesn’t take much time, well, that’s quite the bonus.

Robin L. Flanigan launched a writing career in the early ‘90s while living in a Baltimore graveyard. She worked in newsrooms for eleven years, winning several national awards, and as a staffer with the Democrat and Chronicle received the Dean Gysel award for best newsroom writer as judged by outside editors. In 2005, she became a full-time freelance writer for magazines, newspapers, websites, and marketing collateral. Her essays have appeared in The Sun, Talking Writing, Motherwell, and several other literary magazines, as well as two anthologies.

Link to class:

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Testimonial from Writer in Residence at Gell, Kevin Clouther

Kevin Clouther reflects on his time at Gell during this residency through The Gell Residency for Writers with Children:

“I was very happy, every morning but one (when it was raining hard), to make the short walk up the hill to the cabin, raise the heavy window by the door, and work on my novel BERMUDA without interruption. The work I did for the rest of the day paled beside that time, and I am deeply grateful for it. Although I’d worried that my family would grow restless while I was writing, I needn’t have. Exploring an unfamiliar house thrilled my two kids, and they loved running up and then running (or rolling) down the hills. The stream was of particular interest to them. When my writing slowed, we got in the car and moved our way through various local parks and vineyards. After my kids went to bed, I spent each evening watching the sunset either from the deck or what we called the typewriter room. While my wife read, I went over the day’s work, and then it was the walk up to the cabin the next morning, a ritual I already miss.”