From the Source: Journaling for Self-Knowledge and Creativity

with Amy Bonnaffons

From the Source: Journaling for Self-Knowledge and Creativity

April 24, 2024
6 weeks


Zoom meetings Wednesdays at 7 PM Eastern

Journaling is a surefire way to get to know ourselves better. It’s also a wellspring of creativity, and we can easily learn to transform journal material into publication-ready pieces.

In this fun, generative course, you will be introduced to several different styles of journaling—allowing you to experiment with fresh ways of recording your experience, exploring your inner landscape, and connecting with your creativity. 

Throughout the course, you will keep a daily journal. Each week will highlight a different journaling style to serve as a guide, though you are always free to write whatever inspires most on any given day. During class sessions, you will have the option to share excerpts from your weekly journals, and I will offer playful, inspiring exercises designed to turn journal material into the seeds of creative pieces–nonfiction, fiction, poetry, or a hybrid genre.

In addition to the journaling and writing exercises, weekly readings will provide inspiration for how the raw material of a journal can translate into literature: new works of creative writing ready to refine for publication.

Who This Course is For: 

  • This course is for everyone! It’s open to all skill levels and all genres, and there are no prerequisites.
  • Specifically, the course is designed with several groups in mind: those who want to write but don’t know how to get started; those who enjoy writing but struggle with setting up healthy writing habits and maintaining a daily practice; seasoned writers who feel blocked and want to access new ways of approaching their creativity; and those who simply want to use writing as a tool for wellness, self-knowledge, and fun.

Learning and Writing Goals

Learning Goals

In this course, you will: 

  • Learn five different styles of journaling.
  • Generate many pages of raw material with the potential to turn into polished creative pieces.
  • Learn exercises and techniques for turning the “raw material” of journaling into a more formal piece of writing.
  • Share writing with peers and receive affirming, encouraging feedback (and, if desired, suggestions for turning journal material into formal pieces).

Writing Goals

In this course, you will: 

  • Produce dozens of pages of raw material from journaling exercises.
  • Transform at least five drafts of “raw material” into creative pieces.

Zoom Schedule

We will meet on Zoom on Wednesdays from 7-9 PM Eastern. Note: The six week course will span seven weeks from April 24th to June 5th, as there will be no Zoom meeting on May 15th. 

Weekly Syllabus   

Week 1: Unblocking the Flow

We’ll use Julia Cameron’s tool of Morning Pages to unblock the flow of writing, dip into our own stream of consciousness, and begin to get free of self-critical thoughts.

Readings: excerpts from The Artist’s Way; Sarah Vap, Winter; Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock; Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera

Week 2: Delight in the Daily

We’ll use Lynda Barry’s one-page journal technique to record memorable moments from our daily lives.

Readings: Lynda Barry, Syllabus; Ross Gay, The Book of Delights

Week 3: Dream

We’ll keep dream-journals and explore how dreams can inspire deeper relationships to ourselves and our creative work.

Readings: Linda Hogan, Dwellings; Toko-pa Turner, Belonging; Roz Chast, I Must Be Dreaming; Sabrina Orah Mark, Happily

Week 4: Memory

We’ll use journaling techniques for accessing and recording vivid memories.

Readings: Joe Brainard’s I Remember; Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons

Week 5: Divination

We’ll pull cards and use bibliomancy as ways of exploring our subconscious and writing in response to image.

Reading: Selah Saterstrom, Ideal Suggestions; Ben Okri, The Freedom Artist; Sheila Heti, Motherhood

Week 6: Wrap-up and Celebration

Students will share work and we’ll celebrate the work we’ve done together!

Course type:

Student Feedback for Amy Bonnaffons:

April 24, 2024
6 weeks


Zoom meetings Wednesdays at 7 PM Eastern

amy bonnaffons headshot


Amy Bonnaffons is the author of the story collection The Wrong Heaven  (2018) and the novel The Regrets (2020), both published by Little, Brown. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Kenyon Review, The Sun, and elsewhere, and has been read on NPR's This American Life. She holds a BA in Literature from Yale, an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU, and a PhD in English and Women's Studies from the University of Georgia. Amy is a founding editor of, a literary journal devoted to collaborations between writers and visual artists. She has taught writing at New York University, the University of Georgia, and in many other settings, including senior centers, hospitals, and prisons. For several years, she has also led unique creative writing workshops that incorporate spiritual techniques such as shamanic dreamwork and energy work.  Her own spiritual journey has included elements from many traditions, from Buddhist meditation to core shamanism and ancestor work.  She is certified as a clairvoyant reader and healer by the Inner Connection Institute in Denver, CO. Born in New York City, she now lives in Athens, GA.