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On Writing and Encouragement

Over the next few months, I’m going to answer specific reader questions on the blog. If you have questions or topics you need help with, please email me or leave a comment at the bottom of this post. I don’t know if I can respond to all your questions, but I’ll do my best. Enjoy!



I would be interested in articles about your writing process and some encouragement to make writing so important that I stick to it, even if there is no remuneration or even readers – to write just for the sake of writing, you know? Often I think there are more important mundane things to do before I allow myself to spend time writing, but I fear that’s the wrong priority.

— Martina

Coffee and writing; taken with my iPhone 5s


I still remember the bright pink Hello Kitty diary that I wrote in as a sixth grader. I hid the diary behind my collection of miniature troll dolls; those little figurines were considered collectables during my tween years. But that’s a whole other story.

Today, I want to encourage you to develop a consistent writing practice, even if you aren’t compensated and even if you don’t have readers. Why? Because writing can take you to awesome places.

Below are three things I’ve learned about writing. I hope these thoughts will encourage you to begin a writing practice.

1. If you want to write, you have to make the time and space to write. No one else will do that for you. Start small by setting aside a fifteen minute block to write in your journal. Dedicating a portion of each day to writing will give you confidence to start bigger projects. For example, I started this blog in late 2007 after journaling for years. Since then I’ve consistently shared my essays and photos with readers. I began blogging because I wanted to become a decent writer and I knew blogging would help me develop a regular writing practice. It’s offered me that and more.

2. Writing is one way I practice gratitude. For example, everyday I write a gratitude list in my journal. This is an important practice for me because it’s easy to neglect gratitude when I feel stressed or anxious. Integrating gratitude into my daily writing practice helps me be a better human.

3. Money doesn’t define my worth as a writer. Also, making money from my writing isn’t a prerequisite to success. However, to be successful I have to stick to a daily writing practice. If I don’t write, I can’t call myself a writer.

Coffee and writing; taken with my iPhone 5s

Today, I keep less of my thoughts locked up in a Hello Kitty diary. I’ve shared my thoughts in books and in blog posts because I believe stories have the power to inspire, transform, and to help others. I think this is especially true when I write about my mistakes, worries, and when I share my vulnerabilities with readers. The act of writing helps me distill complex emotions and understand myself better in the process.

Be well,

P. S. I’ve shared essays about my writing process previously:

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Angie Brooke October 5, 2014, 6:05 pm

    Thanks for this lovely tidbit of inspiration about writing. I always think, “I really wish I could start a blog or just write in my journal” and you’re right. It’s about setting aside time and just making it a daily habit. So thanks again, I really enjoy your blog and your photos.

    • Tammy Strobel October 5, 2014, 6:12 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Angie! I’m glad you found the essay helpful. 🙂

  • Sandra Pawula October 5, 2014, 6:45 pm

    Thanks for pointing out all these personal benefits from writing. So obvious, but not something I’ve considered so much myself, writing is such a part of me.

    I love that you write your gratitude list in your journal everyday, Tammy. It sounds so much easier when it’s integrate with your regular journaling practice like that. Thanks for that tip.

  • Judy October 5, 2014, 8:06 pm

    I enjoyed your book and even though I am not a writer I enjoy your blog. My questions is about living tiny.
    What do you do with the overload of small items like tape, paper clips, extra batteries and such. We are downsizing and I have no issues with getting rid of clothes, shoes, household items but the little things are killing me. The things I use occasionally but would rather not buy as needed or I can’t buy on an as needed basis,

    • Tammy Strobel October 6, 2014, 8:21 am

      Great questions Judy! I’ll work on an essay about this topic. 🙂 Stay tuned.

    • beachmama October 6, 2014, 11:01 am

      So happy you asked this question Judy as it’s one I’ve struggled with as well. Happy to hear Tammy will be writing about it. Thanks!

      • Jen October 7, 2014, 12:04 am

        Yes!! I am having the same issue as we are downsizing and would like to know about this too! 🙂

  • Martina October 6, 2014, 2:03 am

    Thanks so much for answering my question – it really feels strange and sort of surreal to find it here embedded in such a helpful article! You are awesome, and I am so glad you decided to share your writing. I hope you know what a blessing and inspiration you are.
    Thanks for the reminder to just do it and set aside even a small amount of time every day. I will try to do this. I usually write in my journal if I have the prospect of unlimited time for writing, like on weekends, but I want to explore the benefits of daily writing. I guess a lot of different und unexpected things might surface then…
    You are a dear to have answered my question. Thanks!

    • Tammy Strobel October 6, 2014, 7:39 am

      I’m happy my answer helped! Let me know how your daily writing practice goes. I think you will love it. 🙂

  • Joy Clarissa Taylor October 6, 2014, 6:52 am

    Well, you have inspired me! I’m writing again.
    Question – you seem to use a journal – – – pen and paper. Do you even transfer those entries into your computer later? When do you sit down at the computer to write? Do you have people edit your work? Thanks!

    • Tammy Strobel October 6, 2014, 7:37 am

      Hi Joy,

      I journal everyday with a pen and paper. I do transfer some entries into my computer. For more on that, read my essay about grief and notebooks.

      And yes, Logan (my husband) edits my blog posts. Editing is essential for all my projects, whether they are e-courses or books. For more on that, read my essay about independent publishing.


  • Kayla Dawn Thomas October 6, 2014, 9:16 am

    Writing has been such a blessing to my life. It’s helped me deal with anxiety and depression. Like you, I started setting aside blocks of time to write every day, and made sure my butt was in the chair. After a while it felt weird not to write. Writing has a way of becoming part of you. Wonderful, encouraging post, Tammy. Your work never fails to lift me up and sooth me.

  • Laura October 6, 2014, 2:49 pm

    Woo hoo! That means I’m finally a real writer! Even though I blog daily about my passions, my blog has never earned me a cent. Someday!

  • Priti October 6, 2014, 4:59 pm

    I love all the points, but especially number 3 because it’s not about what your getting in page hits or financially for the writing that makes it valuable. I’ve been thinking about that a bit regarding blogging

  • M October 7, 2014, 6:12 pm

    Another question for you to answer: in your E-book, you mentioned you only own 100 objects.
    Could you tell us what these are and why you have them?
    If you already answered this, please let me know. I’m new here.

    • Tammy Strobel October 8, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Hi M,

      Are you referring to my book “You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap)? I describe the challenge there in more detail. I will try and write an updated post on the topic. In the meantime, you can read this post > http://www.rowdykittens.com/2010/04/how-to-unplug-from-stuff/

      I wrote it a few years ago. Be sure to check out the links. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!


  • Sara Görefält October 9, 2014, 7:25 am

    Oh dear, I loved this! So I really have to track my time, and yes, I´m pausing facebook for starters…. I have always journalled and I´m trying on some blogging, slowly, slowly, and really considering Susannahs “Blogging from the heart” course. Did you take it?

    I´ve just got a Midori passport size in the mail, it´s going to be a perfect tool for my writing. Thank you for all your inspo and well, maybe I´ll be back with a question. And oh, yes. I WILL send you the swedish mag you´re featuring, I´m working on it. Promise.

    Best wishes!

    • Tammy Strobel October 9, 2014, 8:07 am

      Thanks Sara! I’ve taken all of Susannah’s e-courses. I love her work. 🙂

  • Neens October 15, 2014, 8:08 am

    You forgot to recommend your own e-course, Tammy! 😉 Writing in the Digital Age was very helpful and inspirational to me. I recently made the decision to delete my old blog and start a new one. I didn’t tell any friends or family about it, because I want it to succeed or fail on its own merit – or rather, content. It’s great to have a big, loyal family who will subscribe to your blog if you ask them to, but it feels far more rewarding to gain a new follower when it is a complete stranger who has stumbled across your scribblings and decided they like what they see… I’m now reading Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott, which Tammy recommended in her e-course, and trying out different styles of blog posts – today I posted my first ever theatre review! So thanks for all your help and encouragement, Tammy! 😀

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