Stray Thoughts

Journal Your Way to Better Stories!

Do you dream of being a published writer? Do you want to improve the writing you do, or come up with better ideas for stories? Then journaling can help you get there! A lot of people keep journals during their life; recording their thoughts, feelings and the events of their lives in blank books or notebooks. Even famous authors have engaged in the practice and have gotten benefits from it.

I myself am very familiar with journaling, in the traditional method and creative styles. I’ve kept yearly journals since I was about eight or nine years old and now teach creative journaling classes to kids and adults. I love teaching it and helping people discover its benefits. It’s good for everyone, especially writers and aspiring writers! In the article “Celebrated Writers on the Benefits of keeping a Diary” by Maria Popova, famous author Virginia Woolfe felt strongly about it and “speaks to the value of journaling in granting us unfiltered access to the rough gems of our own minds, ordinarily dismissed by the self-censorship of “formal” writing.” She goes on to quote Woolf as saying, “The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and the stumbles.”


Other authors who kept journals and recommended it for those also hoping to break into the field include  Anais Nin, W.H. Auden, David Sedaris, Henry David Thoreau, Madeline L’Engle and many others. The consensus among these writers is that they found journaling to be of huge benefit not only to themselves, but to their writing as well. They all agree that journaling was a key aspect of successful writing.

Richard  Nordquist quotes writer and writing instructor Pat Schneider on keeping a journal in his article “The Value of Keeping a Diary, Journal, or Writers Notebook.” on website Thought.Co:  “Your journal can be a diary of events, but it can also be your mulch, your seed bag, the womb of your art. It can be a safe place for writing first-draft material, for experimenting, for gathering and keeping impressions and information for future work.”

This is good advice. Your journal is a place for development, for you as an individual and for your work. For me, journaling helps me keep my powers of observation sharp and my creativity flowing, which is critical in any kind of writing. The writing helps me maintain my skills, and the creative techniques help me develop my imaginative thought process, improving the quality of writing I do and the ideas I use when doing it. It’s also great for working through writers block. When I struggle to find a good way to word my blog posts, articles or creative pieces, writing in my journal really helps get my mind working and helps me get out of the rut that is writers block. And then there are the words that Madeline L’Engle offered to aspirering writers: “If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.” (From website Bustle) So pull out your journal and get writing! You never know, it may help you become the world’s next famous author!



“Celebrated Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary” By: Maria Popova

From Web site ‘Brain Pickings’

“10 Famous Writers on Keeping a Journal” By: Jessica Ferri

From web site: ‘Early Bird Books’

“The Value of Keeping a Diary, Journal, or Writers Notebook.” By: Richard Nordquist

From website ‘Thought.Co’

“14 Madeline L’Engle Quotes That Will Inspire You To Write Your Next Novel” By:Alex Weiss

From website ‘Bustle’



Main Photo: Pixabay/Darius Sankowski

Second Photo: Pixabay/Bru-nO

Last Photo: Pixabay/Free-Photos


Re-Post: How to Cook Tofu Like Meat & Fish (Vegan Recipes Using Tofu) — Cheap Lazy Vegan

Hi readers! I wanted to share this post from ‘Cheap Lazy Vegan’. I LOVE tofu; there’s so much you can do it. It’s great for vegan and vegetarian meals as it’s versatile and can go take on the flavor of almost anything you cook it with. So here are some great ideas for using tofu from ‘Cheap Lazy Vegan’.

Watch the video above to get the recipes! In this video, I’m using the help of Hutch Kitchen (use code “cheaplazyvegan” to get a 10% discount) to bring you guys these easy and delicious TOFU recipes. I was determined to make some meals that would help you realize how easy it is to replace […]

via How to Cook Tofu Like Meat & Fish (Vegan Recipes Using Tofu) — Cheap Lazy Vegan

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction)

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction) Vol. 2 Three Flash Fiction Stories


The morning was still dark, but she was awake and loading her bags into her car. She looked sadly on the home she would never see again. The porch lights illuminated the crisp lines of the big beautiful house she had called home for the last three years-the longest she’d lived anywhere. It broke her heart, but she had to get out of there before they came for her. They were following her again and would be along shortly.


He was thirteen years younger, and thirteen long years behind her. She wished she had realized it before she married him. At least he was still happy.


The worst place to go and mess up your teeth was when you were out of town.  Three teeth were loose in Tom’s gums, and pain was shooting through his mouth. Luckily he’d found a dentist in town willing to fix it for him. He sat in an exam chair, cotton shoved up his mouth to stop the bleeding and the dentists’ hand probing his teeth. The dentist called an assistant in from another room. A woman entered and handed the dentist some tools. She looked so familiar, thought Tom, but he just couldn’t place her. She looked uncomfortable as Tom stared at her. Finally it hit him: he’d seen her on America’s Most Wanted- she was a fugitive! His eyes widened in terror. The assistant and dentist exchanged concerned glances. Then the dentist said “Tom, I’m afraid I’m going to have to put you under to fix these teeth.” Tom squirmed and tried to yell for help, but the sedation gas mask was on his face before he could get a word out.


Hope you enjoyed the flash fiction! Which one is your favorite?

Photo: Pixabay/ LeoNeo Boy  305 Images


Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction)

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction) Vol. 1


Narrow brown path, flanking walls of green blades, her scent soliciting tiny insects. The sounds of happily chirping birds had stopped half a mile ago.  The route was narrowing; she wasn’t sure it where it was going anymore. Long, leafy stems kept slapping her face. An uncomfortable silence was advancing like the overgrown foliage. There was a tightening in her chest. It was time to turn around, she realized. But before she could, it stopped her in her tracks. Ten yards away, its eyes locked on her. Half as big as she was, it was a torpedo of muscle, covered in fur. She stepped back slowly. It watched her. She took another step, and then another.  As she took a fourth step back, it cocked it’s head, looking at her curiously. Without warning, the torpedo shot at her. She turned to run. A blur of green and brown was all she saw. Heavy panting and paws on the ground behind her filled her ears. Fear began to overwhelm her as she tried to flee. She could hear it getting closer. Bright light shone from around a corner, the dark path opening. The panting behind her got heavier, the animal getting closer. It would catch her if she wasn’t fast enough. But light was brightening the end of the path.


Random, Fun & Quirky

(Shared Post) Love Your Hat! — My OBT

Hi readers!

I hope ya’ll have a had a lovely weekend! I wanted to share this post from the blog “My OBT” (OBT: One Beautiful Thing)    about a unique bird called the Amazonian Royal Fly Catcher. This post  introduces the bird and has some neat photos and a video. So enjoy this really cool creature!  Also, check out the blog; each day, the blog creator Donna, shares one beautiful thing in the world.

via Love Your Hat! — My OBT


15 Word Story – Perfect Man — Jessica Bakkers

Hi Readers!

As you may have figured out by now, I love short fiction! I enjoy everything from six word stories all the way up to novella’s. I stumbled upon this fabulous example of flash fiction recently and wanted to share it with ya’ll. This post and photo comes via Jessica Bakkers and her blog of the same name. So enjoy and give her blog a look!

15 Word Story – Perfect Man

He really is the perfect man. Handsome, dreamy, loving and wise. Pity he’s her man. Image source:

via 15 Word Story – Perfect Man — Jessica Bakkers

Prose · Random, Fun & Quirky · Stray Thoughts

Blue Asthma


Blue was all around me I think. I strained to adjust my eyes to what I was seeing. It was coming, but slowly. Things were just a little bit blurry and my eyes stinging. As my surroundings became clearer I became aware of other sensations. But not all at once. The sensations came one by one, each bringing with them another piece of fear. I heard muffled noises that sounded as if they were coming from above. Voices. My eyes bounced frenetically about the blue again. Then again. All I saw was blue. Waves and waves of ever changing blue. I hate this, I thought. I don’t want to be here. When my eyes finally adjusted and I realized that all that was there was the abyss I began to feel the pressure. No, weight. The weight on and inside my chest. Oh, gosh… I felt the pressure of the weight and it hurt so much, and the panic setting in just made it worse. Oh gosh. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I want to go home. I wanna go home. It was just too much. Too scary, too much pain. Oh, gosh, the pain. I have to get out, I thought. So I rose, floated up, breaking the surface and instinctively gasping like a newborn baby desperate for its first gulp of precious air. This felt like the first breath. And another, and another still until I was satisfied. My eyes filled with stinging water I again surveyed the things around me and saw a blurry peach colored figure.

“You only stayed under for, like 10 seconds. You can do better than that!”

Oh, no I can’t, I thought, as the figure cleared up a little. He came near and fear again gripped me causing a familiar pain. Except this time, the pain was in my stomach. He was gonna make me hold my breath underwater again. Oh, gosh not again. Why’d mom have to sign me up for swimming lessons? I hate the pool.


Photo 1: Pixabay/ollivves

Photo 2: Pixabay/Pexels

Random, Fun & Quirky · Stray Thoughts

My Eye Doctor

Hi readers!

I’m back. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’ve been overwhelmed these past few months with professional and personal stress, a family health crisis and a return to school and had my energy and time focused on those things and couldn’t post. So, now I finally have some time to get back to blogging. So here’s the new post, a fictional dialogue scene.


Person 1: Hey, I’m looking for a new eye doctor; do you like yours?
Person 2: Yeah, she’s great. I think you’d like her, too.
Person 1: Ok, cool. Can I get the number?
Person 2: Yeah. (Pulls out phone)
Person 1: What’s the name of the place?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: What?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: I know it’s your eye doctor, but what’s the name of the office?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: I know, but what’s the name?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: C’mon, that’s not it, you’re joking.
Person 2: No, really, that’s the name of the office!
Person 1: No it’s not, stop messing with me!
Person 2: I’m not. It’s My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: I know it is, but that cannot be the name of the office.
Person 2: It is!
Person 1: No way! No one names their optometry office ‘My Eye Doctor’.
Person 2: Well, they did cause that’s what it’s called.
Person 1: You’re making this up! Now would you please tell me the name of the frickin’ optometry office?
Person 2: My Eye Doctor!
Person 1: I know it’s your doctor! Gosh, how hard is this!?
Person 2: I told you the name; you just don’t believe me!
Person 1: That can’t be it! I know you’re an Abbot and Costello fan, but c’mon!
Person 2: Ok, fine. (sighs) The real name is, umm, Miller Optometry.
Person 1: Really?
Person 2: Yes.
Person 1: Ok, thank you, now I can find the number and get an appointment! (Tries to look it up on their phone) Ummm, ok, I can’t find it.
Person 2: Yeah, that’s because you’re not looking for My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: (Gives person 2 an annoyed look) Har har. Is your eye doctor as smart alecky as you?
Person 2: She’s not your eye doctor, she’s my eye doctor.
Person 1: You’re being annoying. Is there even a Miller Optometry!?
Person 2: No. You’ll need to look for My Eye Doctor.
Person 1: Stop it!

My Eye Doctor photo 2 (2)

Photos by: Me


Creative Journaling

Hey readers! Welcome to 2018! It’s a new year and an opportunity for new experiences! It’s also a chance for you to start a new journal or try a different journaling style. A few months ago I wrote a post about journaling and how to get started. (Here’s that post: )  As I mentioned in that one, I’ve been journaling for years and have experimented with all kinds of styles. Today I want to delve into a couple of those different styles.

The traditional form of journaling is to take a notebook or journal and just write down whatever you’re thinking and feeling. This usually occurs in standard paragraph/sentence form. The cool thing about journaling is that this traditional method is just the tip of the journaling iceberg! There are so many different ways of journaling and neat ways to make it even more fun! I’m talking about creative journaling, art journaling, scripture journaling, smashbooking and what I call computer journaling.

I’m going to take on just one of those today: Creative journaling. Or maybe I should say that I’m going to begin talking about it; there’s so much involved with creative journaling that it will take more than one post. Creative journaling is the umbrella term for many different kinds of untraditional and imaginative journaling styles.

Many people think that journal writing needs to be poetic and beautiful, that they must practically write a novel about their lives. This stops a lot of people from doing it. But journaling doesn’t have to be like this; it’s supposed to be fun. So don’t worry about making something perfect. Your journal is a record of you and your life, so do it the way YOU want. An easy way to start is to make lists. Instead of writing long sentences about your day, write bullet points of what your day consisted of. For example:


These sorts of lists are great for those days when you’re short on time or the desire to be creative. One tip: make your lists using different colored pens. This adds a creative flair that’s fun and beautiful. It’s so much fun to create a page full of color and it makes it more interesting to look back on later. (These aren’t real journal entries, just fictional ones made to illustrate the examples)

This is ideal for people that don’t like writing or don’t feel like writing out long, coherent sentences but still want to record the events in their lives or their ideas, etc.

Another thing you can do is to write about your day in artistic chunks.


This is the same fictional journal entry from the above photo done a little differently. You see I took the different events in this person’s life and made each one into a ‘chunk’. You can do this in different colors to give it lots of visual interest and even do doddles around the chunks to help separate them and make it look even more fun. You don’t need to be an amazing artist (or an artist of any kind) to do this. Just do squiggles, lines, circles, dots- whatever you like!




If lists or doodling aren’t your thing then I recommend trying a mixed media style of journaling. This style uses multiple types of supply (like pens and paper, or decorative items and specialty pens) is open to just about anything you can dream up. You can use scrapbook stickers, paper cutouts or stylish tapes.  If this strikes your fancy then I recommend starting with some basic journalistic craft supplies. Colored or printed papers, ribbon, washi tape, colored pens or markers. Below I’ve made some fiction examples of things you can try. P1 uses printed paper cut and glued onto a standard white page and the date done in gold stickers. P2 shows a print page with a gold sheet glued on top and a marker used to write on it. P3 shows a colored sheet with glued on stars cut from gold paper. (Try stencils if you’re not comfortable freehanding shapes). P4 shows washi tape stuck onto a standard white sheet. These ideas can easily be applied to most standard bound journals. The specialty papers can be glued onto standard paper in a journal and stickers, paper shapes and decorative tapes can also be applied directly to most pages in a bound journal or notebook. (In the photos below I’ve used specialty print paper and letter stickers found at a craft store.)

P1 IMG_20171210_102559 (1)  P2 IMG_20180111_120934

P3 IMG_20180111_125237   P4   IMG_20180111_125537

If you’d like some more ideas to get you started then I recommend searching ‘creative journaling’ on Pinterest or Google Images. Both offer good images with neat ideas for designing your journal pages. These should help get your creative juices flowing!

So where do you get supplies for journaling? In the United States you can try the arts and craft chain Michael’s, which carries all of the things you’ll need for these sorts of journaling and other types as well. Another option is Hobby Lobby. Outside the US, check your local arts and crafts stores for these or similar products.

IMG_20170925_233406  IMG_20170925_233536IMG_20171010_101440

(Above Supplies:  L: Washi tape * M: Paper & Stickers * R: Pigma Micron Pens  )

So when you’re ready to start, here’s a list of supplies needed for the journaling I’ve talked about today. (The supplies photographed above are the ones I used for the post and are just an example of supplies. There’s a huge variety of things available for you to use!) Creative journaling is

1) Pens

*Pigma Micron pens (various colors $10-25 At Michael’s and Hobby Lobby)

*Paper Mate Ink Joy Pens

*Pentell R.S.V.P. Ball Point Stick Pens 8 Assorted colors ($6-$7 at Target, Wal-Mart)

2)Scrapbook paper in solid colors and prints

*Individual sheets ($0.69-1.99 at Michael’s)

*Paper packs  ($20-30 at Michael’s)

3)Washi Tape

*Tube of assorted colors/prints ($10-25 at Michael’s. They also sells smaller packs of washi tape with 3-5 rolls for about $5 each)




Random, Fun & Quirky

Fun Quotes

“Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.” No clue who said this

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”                                                                                                        -Albert Einstein

“Never memorize something you can look up.”Albert Einstein

“If we’re not supposed to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the fridge?”                                                                                                           -Bill Murray



Photo: FreeImages/Michael Niemis