How journal writing can help you ‘Keep Moving’ through loss and uncertainty

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Jessica DuLong

Published November 9, 2021

No one was more surprised than poet Maggie Smith that writing herself a daily pep talk during the unraveling of her 18-year marriage actually helped her feel better.

Those little missives, notes-to-self tweeted out daily, resonated deeply with readers, who printed them, made them into screen savers, pinned them up on corkboards and refrigerators, and even stitched them into needlepoint.

That groundswell of response from people who wanted to hold onto Smith’s meditations led her to publish “Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity and Change.” The book’s success drove her to release the follow-up “Keep Moving: The Journal,” a 52-exercise workbook for cultivating hope and renewal, on October 26. With passages, prompts and blank pages, her latest publication is the formal incarnation of the DIY approach that some of Smith’s followers had already been practicing — using her words to spur them to write through their own challenges.

“It hadn’t occurred to me that a drowning person could throw anyone else a rope,” Smith explained, until readers convinced her otherwise. The proof shows on the page.