Are you looking for more books to read this summer? Among so many choices, how about a guided journal with prompting? This month, I spoke with screenwriter and author Mara Krausz about her book, Exploring Me: A Guided Journal for Self-Discovery and Creative Expression — find out why this book can also be a perfect activity on a flight, cruise or during any part of your next trip!
What inspired you to create a guided journal?
I started to write a guided journal years ago, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I was really inspired. Journaling is helpful for de-stressing, self-reflection, and is supportive of well-being. I thought a guided journal would be a simple, accessible activity that people could find beneficial. The coloring aspect was an epiphany that came to me late in the process. I think it gives a whole other layer to the book as the two activities are complementary, and it may even accentuate their benefits when done together.
Can you tell us more about your book, Exploring Me: A Guided Journal for Self-Discovery and Creative Expression?
The book is a unique combination of guided journal and coloring book. The thought-provoking writing prompts take you on a journey of self-discovery, while coloring helps you to relax and de-stress, encouraging insights to flow. You can color while you reflect on the prompts or beforehand to get into a more relaxed, contemplative state. The whimsical illustrations are by Madalina Tantareanu, a Romanian artist based in Germany.
A guided journal is a simple approach to journaling. Writing prompts allay concerns of what to write about and provide an easy format. This can be especially helpful for those who find a blank page intimidating or are new to journaling. Prompts can also spark new ideas or reveal perspectives one may not have considered otherwise. They help us to explore, gently guiding us into deeper self-reflection. The book is also an easy way to fit a little self-care into a busy schedule – just take a few moments to reflect on a writing prompt or color.
What are some of the ways that journaling, coloring and travel fit well together?
While traveling is a great time to journal. Being away from your usual routine and familiar surroundings is conducive to introspection. There are fewer distractions from daily life and regular habits, giving you the space to make new insights and reflect deeply. Sometimes we travel to recharge, re-evaluate or shift our life, making contemplation through journaling a useful complement. It gives us the opportunity to explore our perspectives as well as what we want.
Some of us don’t sleep as well when we’re traveling. Coloring before bedtime is not only relaxing, but it’s a great alternative to being on a cell phone or watching television, which give off blue light and can suppress your body’s production of melatonin. Coloring is also a nice change of pace alternative to movies or books on a flight.
What’s some of the feedback you have received, especially from travelers?
I enjoy hearing how people use the book. One reader likes doing it with friends and family. She shared, “It allows you to tap into that person’s views on life and self, ultimately allowing you a better understanding of, and connection to them.” She also finds observing each other’s coloring styles to be fun and revealing. I loved hearing that she booked tickets on a local train with a friend, specifically for doing the book together. It gives them uninterrupted journaling/coloring time together while the beautiful scenery flows by. I thought it was a fabulous idea for a girlfriends day trip.