Thursday, August 26, 2010

Diana Raab ~ Guest Post & GIVEAWAY

On more than one occasion, journaling has saved my life. The first time was when at the age of ten, my grandmother committed suicide in my childhood home. In an effort to help me cope, my mother handed me a red leather journal to pour my grief out onto it pages. The journal not only became my lifeline, but it also became my best friend and confident. Writing in my journal transformed me from a broken-hearted, shy ten-year-old to someone who was able to pour her profound pain and sense of loss onto the pages of her journal. For many years after my loss, I turned to journaling during turbulent times, such as coping with the angst of adolescence and other losses, such as the loss of friends and parents.

In 1983, when pregnant with my first daughter my obstetrician prescribed bed rest and during my seven months in bed, I chronicled my journey in a journal. This resulted in my first book, Your High Risk Pregnancy, which evolved into a self-help book for other women encountering similar experiences. Last year it was updated in collaboration with Dr. Errol Norwitz from Yale University, under the new title, Your High Risk Pregnancy: A Practical and Supportive Guide. 

When diagnosed with early breast cancer (DCIS) in 2001, I once again turned to my journal to pour my feelings. Then in 2006, when diagnosed with yet another seemingly unrelated cancer, I again turned to writing down my feelings in my journal. In fact, my second memoir, called Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey was just born on the pages of my journal. It’s not only a memoir, but also a self-help book with blank journaling pages for others to share their story.

Keeping a journal has many advantages, but I think the most important advantages is that the journal listens and doesn’t talk back. Sometimes when we’re not feeling good, we might not even want to talk to other people, but we can always turn to our journal to pour our feelings. Regular journaling also brings us answers as we write through our problems. If I’m not feeling up to par, I typically begin I by writing the words, “I feel,” and then see where my words go. The best thing to do is to go with the flow of your words.
Learning to open up about issues does not happen over night, but it’s all a part of the healing process. Whether affected by trauma, change, loss or pain, finding the time to write is vital for our mental health. I have found journaling and writing down my feelings to be liberating and empowering. 

Just in case you are still not sure about the reasons for keeping a journal or notebook, here is a summary:

  • it is a companion and best friend
  • it is a place to work through an illness
  • it witnesses the healing process
  • it increases awareness
  • it is empowering
  • it clears the mind
  • it builds self-confidence
  • it improves communication skills
  • it improves mental health
  • it is a safe place to vent bottled up emotions
  • it is a vehicle for letting go of cloudy thoughts
  • it encourages reflection

Good luck and may you be inspired to write!

About Diana ~

Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1954 and received her undergraduate degree in Health Administration and Journalism in 1976. A few years later she received her RN degree. After 25 years as a medical and self-help writer, she’s directed her creative energy towards nonfiction and memoir writing. In 2003 she earned her MFA in Writing from Spalding University’s low-residency program. 

She is the author of eight books. Her most recent release, Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey (2010) is a memoir/self-help book which includes reflections, experiences, journal entries and poems all emphasizing the healing power of writing. In addition to extensive appendices, each chapter finishes with blank pages and journaling prompts for the reader to write about their own experiences.

Her first memoir, Regina's Closet: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal (2007) is the recipient of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Non-Fiction, and the 2009 National Indie Award for Excellence in Memoir.

Diana’s has been writing since a very young age. Currently, she teaches creative journaling and memoir in UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. She facilitates workshops in journaling and writing for healing around the country. She is a frequent moderator for panels on writing.

She's editor of the anthology, Writers and Their Notebooks (USC Press 2010), a collection of essays written by distinguished writers who journal, including Sue Grafton, Kim Stafford, Dorianne Laux, John DuFresne, James Brown and Michael Steinberg, to name a few. The foreword is written by world-renowned personal essayist, Phillip Lopate.

After experiencing three successful, but high-risk pregnancies, she wrote a comprehensive guide for other women. The award-winning Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant (1989) which was recently updated and revised in collaboration with Dr. Errol Norwitz of Yale School of Medicine under the new title, Your High Risk Pregnancy: A Practical and Supportive Guide (2009).

Raab's award-winning work has been published in numerous literary magazines and is widely anthologized. She has one poetry chapbook, My Muse Undresses Me and two poetry collections, Dear Anais: My Life in Poems For You winner of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Award for Poetry and the newly released The Guilt Gene.

You can find Diana at the following sites ~ 

Weekly blogger for Blogging Authors  
BiMonthly blogger for Dolce Dolce


Thank you to Wow - Women on Writing  for providing me with one (1) copy of this book to give away.

This contest is open to residents of USA residents only!
You MUST complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count!
The contest will end on September 9, 2010 at 11:59PM EST; 1 winner will be selected and contacted thereafter.

 Once the winner is contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my e-mail with their mailing addressor another winner will be selected.  Make sure you check your spam filters!

 NO P.O. Box Addresses!

 Book will be shipped directly from Wow - Women on Writing