Tips for Creating a Relaxing Place to Journal

(Thanks to Alexandra Fuller on Unsplash for the perfect photo)

Journaling is often the first step in writing your memoir. Before you know it you’ll have much of your content written, especially if you write daily. If you want to start journaling every day, finding a relaxing place to do it will help you build this positive habit. While you don’t need to have an entire room dedicated to journaling, you do want to have a peaceful space you can retreat to. Here’s some great tips on how to create a relaxing place to journal.

Choose a quiet space.

The first thing to focus on when looking for the perfect journaling space, is whether it is quiet. You are going to need a quiet area to write to get your thoughts and feelings clearly down onto the paper. Have a lively household where quiet is at a premium? Don’t give up!

If you have kids, you can do it when they are in bed or you could create a cozy space in your bedroom where you won’t be disturbed. You can journal anywhere that is comfortable and quiet. It could even be an outdoor space in warmer weather.

Eliminate any clutter.

Wherever you choose to base your journaling space, it’s important to eliminate any clutter. Cluttered spaces can cause our mind to become cluttered too and distract from our focus. You know the self talk “Oh, I just need to fold those clothes, it will just take a minute” or “I’ll just throw the dishes in the dishwasher, then I’ll write.” So, choose an area out of sight of routine chores, clean up the surrounding space and make sure it is tidy.

The more organized your journaling space, the easier you will find it to write. You’re crafting your own personal history, make the space your own.

Add a plant to the space.

You will want to make your journaling space as pleasant as you can. It should be visually appealing as well as comfortable. Adding a plant to the space can help to give you a sense of calm and tranquility. Artificial plants have the same effect, so if you don’t have a green thumb, don’t despair. Choose one, live or silk, that delights your senses.  

Utilize the power of scent.

When you are preparing to write, remember you can positively affect how you feel with the power of scent. You can create a relaxing, calming space by using a Lavender scent for example. Or you can improve your focus and concentration with a citrus scent or peppermint. Think about a scent that helps you to feel calmer and more focused. Whatever scent you love, if you add it to your journaling routine, you’ll look forward to doing it.

Try diffusing your favorite essential oil in your space, the increased humidity and the fragrance will both give you a well-being boost as you journal.

Have comfortable seating available.

Another thing you’ll want to focus on is comfortable seating. You aren’t going to want to write, or at least write for long, if you don’t have a comfortable seat. You could write on your bed, or in an ergonomic office chair. Some people prefer to write on a large, oversized beanbag. The more comfortable your writing space, the more you’ll view this as a cherished time, and the longer you are likely to stick to your journaling habit.

It isn’t hard to create a relaxing space for journaling. Whether you choose to do it at a desk in your office, or while sitting on your bed, the above tips will help you to create the best space.

You’re going to reap great health benefits by taking up journaling, enjoy!

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What Road Will You Take?

My storytelling friend Barbara Tien over at (more about that soon) asked an excellent question recently,

What’s your road?

This thought keeps swimming around in my head like a bowl-bound goldfish! Yes, there’s lots of thoughts up there, but space to move around too. Although I responded briefly in the moment, her question deserves more time. It’s actually an ideal prompt to write a chapter in your family history or memoir and hone your storytelling skills all at the same time.  
As I prepare to launch the Fast Track Your Memoir group coaching program in just a few days I’ve been thinking a lot about our journeys to share our stories. We all have roads in our lives. 

  • Some traipse through the woods
  • Some are high speed interstates speeding us to our destination
  • Some are rocky and rutted dirt paths
  • Others…aren’t roads at all

My road isn’t paved, it is a narrow, winding rock trail leading up into the Organ Mountains a few miles above the high desert in southern New Mexico. My father first traveled this path with me on horseback almost 50 years ago. He rode a mellow tempered dun mare, me trotting double time right behind him on a choppy little black pony named Thunder.

Dad adored the outdoors and loved sharing it with others, introducing them to the glory of creation and teaching them to see better, to fish, to really observe the world around them. He was a skilled photographer and passed along this love for visual storytelling. My siblings and I were the recipients of this life wisdom and it shaped us all in a myriad of positive ways.

We are resilient.
We are observant.
We appreciate the beauty of shape and form.
We listen well.
We’ve been taught to look deeper.
We are strong.

Dad passed away a couple years ago but I hear his voice and see that encouraging lop-sided grin whenever I walk these trails. My heart hears the sharp ring of horses’ hooves on the granite trail behind me as I gaze out over the valley, sharp peaks soaring into the cool morning at my back. Dad loved a good story and passed this passion along to me.

We’ve all said it. “I wish I’d have done or said ‘X’” We wish we’d talked to our families, we wish we’d said “yes” to that opportunity to spend more time together. We wish we’d asked about their stories or their memories. We wish we’d flipped through those family photos one more time and truly listened.

I for one don’t want to live with regrets. Now is the time, listen, look at the photos, pay attention to the stories, ask for the memories and cherish the stories.

Are you ready to make a shift and stop struggling to write your memoir yourself? It’s far easier to do this with the support and guidance of others. I’m counting down the days until launching the pilot program I mentioned in an earlier email. If you missed it, shoot me an email at karen@rememberingthetime and I’ll fill you in on the details. The Fast Track Your Memoir group coaching program is filling up fast. There are just a few spots left, once they’re gone you’ll have missed your chance to get in on the ground floor and make serious, guided progress with your story.

I’d love to help you, don’t stay stuck. Join with a friend and take advantage of a buddy discount, ask me how! Hope to see you on the inside!


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If Prince Harry Can Do It So Can You!

It’s all over the news, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, is writing his memoir. There might be many reasons you’ll be inclined to pick up a copy; fascination with royal lives, curiosity about the real story, wondering if his writing is any good, or dying to know what myths he’ll dispel. Whatever your reason for reading, His Royal Highness, Prince of England is doing something well within reach of anyone. However, it’s a dream most folks push off to that elusive “someday”.

The Prince’s publisher, Penguin Random House, has said the book “will share, for the very first time, the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses and life lessons that have helped shape him.”

Harry’s upcoming book will cover his entire life. This is fitting, for of course if he left anything out there would be an outcry, “but what about…?”. You, however, have complete latitude to choose how you want to focus your memoir. Like Harry and many others, you could choose to cover the experiences and memories of a lifetime. Or you could choose a theme or even a single event that transformed you. 

Many memoirs have been written with a narrow subject focus or time frame.

Question – Have you had experiences? What about adventures? I’m sure you have lived through losses, successes, and a myriad of life lessons that have shaped you into the unique human being you are today. In your circle  of family and friends, you are of immeasurably more interest than royalty, as charming as you may find this particular prince.

There will be those who will be kind in their opinion of Prince Harry’s writing; there are those who will be brutal. But  remember that Harry is a fellow human with a story to tell from his own perspective. He is the one who lived it. So too, with your memoir or family history, this is what you experienced from your own point of view. A family member may remember things differently, but they can write their own book, this one is yours.

Like Harry, your “intimate and heartfelt” memoir can be cherished by your family and friends. You can bet both you and they will appreciate this much more now instead of waiting till your funeral when all the good stories are shared. You won’t even be there to enjoy it! 

Do you dream about turning those stories hiding in your heart and mind into a book? Let’s get your words out of fairytale status and into the real world where they can be enjoyed. Are you ready?

Here’s a fun challenge: Prince Harry’s memoir is expected to be published in  late 2022. Get the jump on his big release by writing your own!

You can have your story written and published, holding your own copies ready to be signed, before

the royal buzz hits the castle.

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In Praise of Small Beginnings

You’ve heard some people say, “Go big or go home”. Many other times I’ve watched the opposite thought arc like a shot across the bow of a project, acting as an impetus to action. There’s a verse in the Bible that says, ““Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin….” (Zech. 4:10a NLT). I love the concept of small beginnings! They’re full of potential, they are the “starter“ if you’re a baker, the seed if you’re a farmer, the empty canvas for an artist, the tiny embryo if you’re longing for a child, the single journal entry if you’re a family historian or that idea jotted down on a napkin for songwriters, scientists, and writers.

Before you can celebrate a milestone you just need to start!

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated

day-in and day-out.” ~Robert Collier

You have everything you need to begin, whether you’re blessed with loads of family mementos and archived photos, or you’re beginning with your own memories.

Start with one small thing, a memory, journal entry, letter, recipe, photograph. What is that that just grabs your imagination by the shoulders and demands, “Tell me more!”? Take a macro look at it, write a thorough, sensory filled description of that object close up. Ask it questions? I know this sounds a little weird, but trust me, it’s just a method for helping your brain to unlock different ways to see that thing with new eyes.

This object is your starting block, it will propel you, just like a relay racer, down the track to the next prompt, the next memory, the next clue. Before you know it you’ll be gathering the pieces and noting how they fit together to drive your story.

I have a news alert set to anything family history or memoir related. It is astounding to see the variety of ways this topic can be addressed and the common interest worldwide in understanding ourselves and our families, remembering and sharing what makes us tick with the future. Connecting with the generations that came before and those that will come after is a human drive, it’s how we learn.

In case you missed seeing this free offer on our FaceBook page, let me give you the link here. I’ve been hard at work creatively bringing a few of my best tools and helps together in one place.  This amazing package will give you the resources you need to share your life legacy with those you love. Just click this link to get your FREE gifts today:

Remembering the Time is all about helping you and your family save the unique stories and memories that make you who you are.  Reach out and take that small step of starting your story, you have nothing to lose and great things to gain by this small beginning.


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Family Photo Challenge Begins!

Challenge: Take 5 favorite photos from your family’s collection. Collect them all in one day but just do the exercise with one per day. Write a 6-word memoir about each.

What’s a 6 word memoir? These short memoirs are the brainchild of writer Larry Smith, editor of the online SMITH Magazine. The idea was inspired by Ernest Hemingway, who was asked to tell a story in just 6 words. He came up with this: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

Here’s how to use the technique with this challenge:

Start with an extensive list of words that describe your photo. Include anything you remember about it, the people, place, time, objects, feelings. Don’t cross anything out and don’t worry punctuation or spelling, just write! It helps to set a timer for 5 minutes and write as much as you can in that time.

Then circle three or four words that describe the photo and what you want to say about it. Now, write a phrase, sentence or list that is your 6 word memoir.

When you’re done with the Family Photo Challenge you’ll have 5 prompts for your memoir or family history. These can make great chapter titles too. Develop each of your five 6 word memoirs further and you’ll have a chapter before you know it.

Fun tip: Make this a family activity and you’ll have even more material for your story.

I’d love to read your 6 word mini memoirs and see your photo prompts, feel free to share on the Remembering the Time FaceBook page at, or join our private FaceBook group at and share it there. You can also just drop me a note at #familyhistory #familyhistorymatters #memoirwriting #genealogy #familyphotos

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Connection is the Key

I love bridge images; they remind me that we connect with others through sharing our stories. This simple activity of talking about our memories has the potential for far reaching impact. It can deepen relationships, help us experience life through others’ eyes and grow our empathy and listening skills.

(Thanks to Jessica Arends via Unsplash for the photo)

Taking action to save your family’s story may be part of your “for such a time as this” motivation. I’ll be trotting out a fun family photo challenge in the next few days via social media and want to make sure you’re given a heads up. This will be a short activity with lots of positives:

* It’s free

* Did I mention it’s short?

* You’ll have quick content for your family history

* You’ll create good ideas you can follow up on later

You’ll be able to find the challenge in the next few days on our page at

When you think about writing your memoir or family history, do any of these defeating thoughts ever raise their ugly little heads?

  • I don’t know how to write a book
  • How do I share it with my family?
  • My story isn’t important

Remember, if you’re stuck, let’s talk! I understand the feeling and would love to brainstorm a few ideas with you to help you cross the bridge and make that priceless connection with your family by sharing your story. Helping people is what I do! I even have a few free links to my Quick Start a Memoir class for a limited number of people if you contact me in June. Now is an opportune time.

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Small Steps to a Finished Memoir

I truly hope you are having a great day!

This past weekend I took a road trip with my grown children to a family celebration In New Orleans. You may have seen a couple photos I posted to the Remembering the Time FaceBook or Instagram pages. It had been ages since any of us had traveled and we stocked up on road trip food, a crossword puzzle book and a new audio book. We had fun, shared driving, and ate enough bright orange Cheezits to pave a parking lot. Because, well that’s what you do on a road trip.

We also celebrated life and learned more about each other through a fun ice breaker app on the phone. Trust me, this is a great way to connect even with people you’ve known their entire lives! “Really, I didn’t know that!” was repeated often.

Each mile we drove, each special event we participated in with cousins, aunts, uncles, and in laws once we arrived was a small step to building a stronger family. We laughed, we cried, we ate and toasted to life together and remembered our family history.

I am a firm believer in taking small steps to build progress toward a goal. It’s one of the best ways to chunk down a big one. Making incremental progress toward your goal is encouraging, these steps keep you moving as you see progress and help keep you from becoming discouraged.

This is not only an excellent life lesson, it works fantastically for family history and memoir projects too. The beautiful old staircase photo in this post, taken in New Orleans reminds me of the importance of taking small steps.

For example, if you are looking to curate, organize, and  make sense of a collection of family mementos, letters, and photos so that others can enjoy them too, you need to do more than just stare at the boxes in frozen overwhelm and frustration.

*Think in categories as you look at your collection

*Begin by choosing 5 examples of each category just to get you started and move past the inertia

This is where a set of outside eyes, skilled in separating the gems from the “stuff” can help you make real progress with your story. I can help with that and get you on track! Want to tackle it yourself first? Here’s a couple easy step choices you can make to get started:

*Try my Quick Start a Memoir class for free on Skillshare. Here’s the link:

Take 30 minutes to watch the class, then do the fun project to help you cut through the fluff and organize your story. Questions? Send me a message and we’ll chat about it.

*Give me a call for a free consultation to inspire and motivate you with ideas and action steps to write your family history or memoir.

Maybe, just maybe, you need to stop thinking about this and take a small action step. I want to encourage you, doing this will build momentum and be one of the most satisfying things you can do to seize the day with your story.

Taking incremental action-steps to tell your story will make sure that it is shared with those you love, not relegated to a dusty box stuffed in the garage. Don’t let that happen to you!

You can bless and serve your family well by taking these small steps. No one ever regretted sharing the wisdom they’ve learned and their precious life memories with their family.

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Contact Me

Please contact me for more information or to to schedule a free consultation. I look forward to visiting with you.

    Karen Ray Photo

    Karen Ray

    Address: 2877 Willow Creek Lane, Las Cruces, NM, 88007

    Phone: 575-323-1048