Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Dealing With Death
"To weep is to make less the depth of grief." --William Shakespeare
Show Description | Transcript | Order Videotape
Teens Writing About Death | Great Reads and Moving Movies
Harlem Writers Crew: Artwork and Photography
How To Start A Journal
How To Start A Journal

A diary or journal is a safe, private place to express your feelings...and create a special connection to someone you've lost.

Getting Going
There's no right way or wrong way to keep a journal. Keeping a journal is easy. You just need paper, or a notebook and a comfortable pen or colored markers or you can use the computer. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Write when you have uninterrupted time.
  • Write for about fifteen to twenty minutes daily.
  • Use a comfortable writing tool.
  • Choose a comfortable place to write.
  • Try to write at the same time everyday.
  • Date your entries.
  • Don't judge your writing. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, punctuation or sounding "just right." The point is to write about what's on your mind and in your heart.
  • Accept your writing and write from within. Don't be a critic.
  • Don't try to write a story or a novel.
  • Trust your intuitive heart, the words will come.
  • Be gentle with yourself.
  • As you begin to write close your eyes and take a moment to get centered.
  • Begin with a deep breath.
  • If you get stuck begin doodling and see where that takes you.
  • Experiment, play, be open to where your heart takes you in your writing.

Journal Topics
Don't know what to write first? Try one of these:

  • Write a letter to your special someone who has died.
  • Write about a special memory of your special someone.
  • Write about what you wish you'd done or not done.
  • Write about the things you wish you'd said or not said.
  • Write about what you miss most about your special someone.
  • Write about an altar or memorial you can design for your special someone and then create it.
Our thanks to Katherine Dorn Zotovich, author of "Good Grief For Kids" and "My Memory Maker", Journal Keepers Publishing, for providing these guidelines!