Guest Author and Blogger Feature – Marsha Ingrao on Journaling

Guest Featured Author

I’m excited to have over here today, friend, author, retired teacher, and blogger extraordinaire Marsha Ingrao. Marsha offers excellent insights on her 2 blogs. offers blogging tips, author interviews, blogging challenges, as well as an excellent series on book reviews. Marsha also runs a blog where she shares her travel reviews and photos on some of the many places she’s traveled to, as well as sharing her pet projects raising funds for her Woodlake community.

I invited Marsha over today to talk about the different methods of journaling. We thought it was an appropriate post because I do much of my writing from journals where my thoughts and books begin. So without further ado, I’ll let Marsha take it away . . .


Ways to Journal

You can call it a journal or a diary. Either way, in the 21st century there are two ways keep track of your thoughts, online or offline. Both have their advantages. This post will discuss the time-honored handwritten journal. The next post will explore the differences in an online journal.

 Journaling by Marsha Ingrao


Handwritten Journals Show Specific Benefits

Research shows that the kinesthetic act of writing aids learning. Writing by hand slows a person’s raging thoughts and makes the writer focus on what is essential. Many journalists use a personal shorthand, which engages a different section of the brain. Others include drawings which activate additional cognitive processes.

A 2005 study shows that the act of writing a journal has mental health benefits as well. It does not lessen the seriousness of the situation a person goes through, but it does help to put their troubles into perspective.

UCLA researcher, Matthew D. Lieberman told the Guardian  that “”writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally.” Even writing bad poetry or songs, writing by hand made the calming effects of journaling more effective. He also said that “men seemed to benefit from writing about their feelings more than women, and writing by hand had a bigger effect than typing,” Dr. Lieberman said,

A  2014 study found that individuals who journal a form of narrative focused on positive outcomes in adverse situations reduces stress. In a 2010 study, Briana Murnahan from Eastern Michigan University also conducted a study on the results of journaling and found that diaries and journals both helped people reduce stress, but men were more likely to keep a journal, which is less private.

Handwritten Journal Basics

  1. Bound journals don’t get lost as easily. They are available in all sizes and prices with and without clasps and a ribbon bookmark
  2. Include the date of each entry.
  3. Leave the first few pages blank to write in a table of contents or index of pages you want to revisit
  4. Leave the first few pages unmarked for frequently used information like sign in codes, birthdates, (coded, of course)
  5. Use the inside covers or back few pages for lists.  This might include books you’ve read, new people you meet, prayer requests, anything you might want to add to as you work through your journal.
  6. Write a page number on at least every other page.
  7. Don’t worry about form, grammar, or neatness.
  8. Review it.
  9. Keep it handy.

In the next post in this series discover how keeping a blog or an online journal differs from a handwritten one and how you can use both effectively.


Thank you so much Marsha for being my guest here today and for sharing your wonderful insights on the many reasons to keep a journal. I know I’m looking forward to your follow up post – on Online Journaling and would be thrilled to host it here too. 🙂



Marsha Ingrao


Before becoming a consultant in history and English language-arts, Marsha Ingrao taught grades K-5 for many years. Marsha journaled to work through the tragedy of her first marriage, which ended in the death of her husband at the age of forty-seven from a rare genetic disease. Encouraged by doctors not to have children, she whined to her journal as she also kept it crammed with lesson plans, poetry, news, prayer requests, drawings, Bible studies, and lists.


She retired in 2012, wrote Images of America, Woodlake, blogs, and volunteers in her community through several service organizations.  She and her second husband live in the foothills of California with their dog, Kalev and two cats.


Connect with Marsha on Social Media:

FB Page: 
Twitter: @MarshaIngrao
Google +: 

Check out Marsha’s books:

Woodlake – Images of America

Sign up for Marsha’s newsletter HERE and receive a free copy of her book – So you think you can blog?

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