Journal to Solve Life Problems: A talk about a new book on journaling

Hello everyone,

It's finally here, How to Journal Now (To Solve Life Problems): A Guided Journal Workshop is in the shop. Here is a video about my journaling process and how it can work for you too.

I know I've got a Elvis snarl, (not sneer, sorry Elvis )on my face. Oh well, I guess it's got swag. Uh Oh, I used the words swag...

This book can be purchased through my google sites page

Signing Off,


Little round weavings for the Holidays.

These were so much fun to make! I love weaving. It feels natural for me to do since I use both hands in a mindful way. Thats good for my left handedness. More information can be found on my Tumblr Miniblog SWJREADS where I take pictures of my work in progress and of finished items. I also write a little bit about the process too.

Freshen Up Your Writing: Outline to meet Word Count for Deadlines

Freshen Up Your Writing: Outline to meet Word Count for Deadlines

Hi Writer friends,

Why Meet Word Count?

It’s November again, National Novel Writing month, i.e. NaNoWriMo only has one more week left and people need some way to get through the slog and finish their word count goal of 50,000 words, the length of a short novel.

November 30th is the deadline for NaNoWriMo. Though any deadline can be met with this refreshing way to reach word count. Any word count goal large or small can be met with this outlining method that is flexible and fluid.

If you are writing a novel you may find it more helpful to break up your word count goal into 1,000 words as novels have word counts in Thousands. For NaNoWriMo, 50,000 words in a month is quite a task. Sneaking 50 words at a time breaks it down and adds up especially if you write in short bursts of time.

What to Meet Word count For.

NaNoWriMo is only a few weeks long and if people want to reach their word count, they need a system in place such as an outline to keep them on track. The good thing about outlines is they can help you keep things in mind as you write so you won’t be blocked and can meet your word count. The bad part is they can also keep you locked into a plot.

Not so with this method. In order to keep word count in mind, it is helpful to have a chart on hand with a map and number counts to keep you on your path. I’ve included one worksheet in this article free to download and use.

First there is an overall word count goal for a section. For novelists, 1,000 words works because novels’ word count totals are counted in Thousands. This is the scene.

Second, next set of word count goals breaks up the thousand into four parts of 250 words a piece. These sections define the major points of a scene in order to make way for the story path, also known as the story arc, though these small sections form a basic curve of the arc they are better handled broken up into smaller pieces.

Third, it’s time to break the 250 words into smaller chunks of 50 words a piece. This makes it possible to write small pieces that add up. You’ll be surprised how fast 20 minutes of writing goes. Also where you write has an impact on how much gets done.

When to Outline and Write Your Story.

Before you start your outline it’s a good idea to pick a time of day as well as a day of the week to begin your outlining process. This is true whether you are first writing your story or in the middle of your tory. This process allows you to outline as you write your story.

I you pick the morning hours you have the whole day ahead of you. I like the morning because I feel like I have all day to get carried away with my story. I can write as long as I want. I’m also more alert too.

If you pick the afternoon you get to wake up later then if you can also have a working lunch. It’s a nice way to spend the afternoon. You still have time to get carried away in your story.

And if you pick night time as an option, you can dine and write. You can be around more people cause they are coming home from work. You can also take breaks and make more rewards for yourself since it’s the end off the day. You can still get into your story but there will be more time to tie up loose ends the next day.

Next, it’s time to choose a day or more to reach your word count goals. If you work outside the home you might want to write on your day off so you can choose what time of day you want to write without worrying about other things that need to be done for the day.

Where you write outlines and your story.

I like to go to a fast casual restaurant, Panera, because you can buy a coffee and pastry and sit and write as long as you like. Also you can find people doing work at Panera like you are. It’s inspiring to see people work in a well lit space and be able to focus even if there is noise.

The coffee shop is another place you can go though it’s usually small and gets crowded fast. Plus sometimes they can be dark. It’s nice to see people work here too. All though most people keep to themselves.

One last place to spread out your writing tools and get to work is home. Home is great because you can save money and you can write any time of the day you want.

I find that a three hour block of time in one place helps me use this method best. Once you get into it, you could write shorts bursts in between other work that needs to get done.

What I recommend in addition to finding a spot to write is to be consistent in time and day. That is if you spend a three hour block writing in the morning on Sunday at Panera, then keep doing that. If you want to change things up a bit, then pick another day and time in the same or different location to keep things fresh. Always keep the first appointment you keep to yourself.

One more thing I’d recommend is to have some background noise. If you are out, chances are there will be music and ambient noise o industrial cooking appliances and people talking. However if you are at home, I recommend putting on some background Music. I like instrumental Jazz from the BGM Channel on YouTube.

Once in awhile I watch sports, or put on a crime drama just to change things up a bit.

How to write and outline as you go.

When I find my place to write and I have my time blocked out, I get out my pad and a pen. I use a legal pad for articles and a small legal pad for books, this month I used it for my novel. I also like to have my word count diagram of the word count mind map in front of me.

Plus I like to use a timer for writing sprints. A writing sprint is a short burst of time used to write. I use a timer on my smart phone called the OK Timer. You can set hours, minutes, and seconds and hit start to count down. It has a nice stops sound. It doesn’t startle me like a kitchen timer beep.

To start the outlining process, I use a blank sheet or paper or lined paper in a composition book since I like to write notes in addition to using this process. I start drawing the mind map with the 1,000 word bubble in the center of the page. This bubble has the name of the scene.

Then I draw four lines extending from the main bubble. I write the scene arc points from each line, bubbles are 250 words.

After that, I draw the points that will make up the arc of each point of the scene. Each of these bubbles are 50 words. There are five lines, five bubbles per 250 of the scene arc points. These 50 word points are connected to form the scene.

The overall goal is 1,000 words, that 1,000 words is broken up into quadrants at 250 a piece, then the 250 words are broken up into 50 word chunks. You only need write 50 words at a time to reach 1,000 words.

It’s best to draw the lines, write the word and then draw the bubbles to contain the words. Also leave some space around the bubbles so you can add words and cross out words as you go. You can even cross out whole bubbles if you are ahead in word count.

In Conclusion.

Here is the mind map worksheet with the word count. It’s free to download. Just save the image and print it. I’ve also include some instructions on it for you to keep in mind as you use this method to write our story.

I’ve used this method to start writing my novel. I’ve made a 5 act structure with 10,000 words per act. I write 1,000 words at a time. One thing I do is type up the words so I know the word count and see if I’m ahead of count if I’m ahead of count. The problem is I’ve written so much that I haven’t typed the words in until 30 pages by long hand double space.

I’ve got over 100 double spaced written pages many times I’m ahead of my goal word count, when I started, I hand counted the words. I found I was at 70 words per page more often then 50 words a page so it just kept adding up.

One advantage of hand counting is you can see if you are ahead of word count. I was able to write this article more efficiently because I could cut out some bubbles and join some bubbles together by enclosing them in a larger bubble by drawing a line around the bubbles to make a circle.

I have enjoyed using this process cause I can see it add up. Here is a picture of my pile of written pages and my composition book with my outlines. I had a writer-friend tell me its like a bible, at first I thought, not really, but now I think it sort of is.

Ideas begat the story.

Jessica B. Hensley
aka Sketchwriterjess.

Why it’s best to use at least one journal to solve life problems.

Hi Sketchpoets,

Here is an article on why it’s best to use at least one journal to solve life problems.

I know that many of you have been waiting for more information on how I journal. These last couple of months I have been having some mental health issues as well as physical health issues. I am happy to say that now I am ready to help you get back on track as well.

This post is the first in the series of blog posts about the specific methods I use to keep myself feeling well despite life problems.

This first article is about journaling for personal reasons, that is anything bothering your mind and heart regarding life problems. That is a very broad definition, however, with the methods I use, I am able to get to the heart of what I need to get done to solve the problems.

I. Why Journal?

Is it to get it out of your system? To figure things out? To profess love in private?, Or to be proud of yourself? Read on to find out more.
A journal will be there when you’re sad. It will greet you with it’s open arms and let you rain tears of anger, resentment, and pain. It will not judge but instead, listen. You can scream and cry and tell it you want to die, yet it won’t flinch.

Today you need to figure out why you feel so sick and tired of the crap life throws your way. An angry person rams his/her car into the rear end of yours. At home in safety you could throw your fists and give nothing but sound, or you can surrender to paper with pen.

Maybe you love someone who makes you want to sing about his/her way. You care about him/her cause his/her voice stirs your soul. You want him/her to answer your calls and tell you of places unknown. Lounging in your mind, lingering in your heart...into the paper it goes.

Most important, though you are weary of the world, you can carry yourself through the spider webs of your mind. Through the acts of living, giving, and getting, then learning how to forgive and how to let go. Put the pen down. Let the new insights grow.

II. Who Journals?

How about students and beginners? Teachers and professionals? People with disease and disorder? People in pain? Do any of these people sound like you? Read on to find out more about journaling.

We’re all students standing at the gate waiting to be checked, let inside, and told where to go. Then we accept the invite to wander the halls of learning and more about life and ourselves. We take a chance on being more of something and of someone we don’t know yet.

We hope someday when we’ve completed our lessons that we have studied enough to back up what we know as truth, to pass the knowledge on to those at the gate we once stood at, waiting to show ourselves. And though we walk the talk, we remember where we’ve been.

For some of us our health does not allow us to complete what we set out to do and yet one must realize even the healthiest people need a nudge. Smudge, smear, scribble our way out we must, for the weight of the world gets heavier for all, everyday.

At some point we can’t take the pressure anymore. We must find a healthy way to escape and survive another day. Everyone has their own pain as they define it for themselves. It’s easy to forget this common bond we share for along with smiles comes laughter in various tones.

III. What should I journal in?

Ruled Notebooks, Sketchbooks, and/or Dot Grid Books? More information is below.

The first place to start is with a ruled journal, that is a lined journal. It will bring you back to a time when you came of age perhaps keeping a diary. At that point, you became more aware of injustice and passionately thought about how to right wrongs.

The second journal to use is the sketchbook for it will take you back to when you were in your youth. Doodling, drawing, writing a few words. A blank piece of paper can give you more space to fill with your love and hate. Sometimes you need the empty room on paper to let go.

The third journal to use is a Dot Grid Journal. Because there comes a point where you transition from being here to wanting to be here. You’ve got what’s holding you back out of your depth of pain and buzzing of stinging words and sat in the space in the empty page and screamed in pictures and scrawled your angst on the wall. Now you want some guidance. Something in between a lined book and a blank book. Enter the dot grid notebook, its a cross between a ruled book and a sketchbook. Dots form a grid and can be connected or left alone to write and sketch in an orderly fashion. Though it is worth noting that there is no wrong way to journal.

IV. When to Journal, a recap.

Journaling can help you get out of a jam or at least help you look for a way to keep being strong. It can also help you realize and affirm your truth and put your doubts to rest...for awhile until new problems come along to test you. Yay!

Then you know you can react to a bad situation with angst in your journal instead of lashing out at the people involved or at the world. It’s important to realize the power of the mind to guide the heart in better directions. Words and pictures become a map for you to follow if needed.

Agree and disagree in your notes before speaking to others. Words can be uplifting, soothing, sympathetic, and destructive as well. You choose how you treat people.

In a journal your goals are at arms length. You may find yourself ready to be open to possibilities by solving new problems for yourself. Then you may even believe you have the right to live well.

Free Journal Prompts (Worksheet to Save and Print below the prompts)

These prompts are full of blanks. Blanks can be people and things, they can be cause and effect, they can be rewards, or any other things you can think of that you are dealing with at the moment.

1. ___________ makes me upset because ______________.

2. ___________ isn’t working for me because _____________.

3. ___________ is ___________, ___________, and _________­­___ because____________.

4. I want to set a goal for ____________ because I want to ___________.

5. If I make ___________happen, I can _____________.
Save this file as a picture, then you can print as many times as you need too. This worksheet will be included in the book without the watermark and website address.

These prompts are full of choices, without limits. With these prompts, you can let it all out and feel validated that you feel the way you feel. Once you feel the feelings, then you can channel them into something better for yourself to move forward with your life.

Some more things to consider while filling out these prompts.

Scribble on a piece of paper or in your sketchbook to get the angst out of your system and loosen up if needed.

Draw pictures and words about the things or people described in the blanks to see the problem at hand.

After writing down goals in your bullet journal, if you’ve achieved them, check it off with a check mark. If you haven't move them to a day you think you can complete them.

You can also make a tracker with a graph to track your progress of your goals.

If you choose to reward yourself after completing goals, it is recommended that you choose something healthy to reward yourself with as that will make it easier to stick with any new habits you want to keep up.

This is just the beginning of journaling to solve your problems in life.

There is a book I'm writing that goes more in depth about how this works. There are real life situations from my life I've gained control of that I have used in writing these prompts. Plus there are also examples of trackers, rewards, scribbling, and sketching based on my real life situations as well to inspire you to start journaling with purpose.

In Conclusion.

I hope this has been helpful. My goal is to help you cut out years of writing the same things over and over again and hoping to get an insight. It wasn’t until I started using a combination of methods to journaling that I got more results that I’m happy with.

The important thing about journaling is how it makes you feel. Its yours. You don’t have to show anyone if you don’t want to what you’ve journaled about. I show mine because I’m showing that I can walk the talk of journaling. I’ve been journaling in this method for 1 year and I have made great progress on starting things I finish and letting pain go in a healthy way.

I see this blog article as a start to your journey and the workbook sold in my shop as a more in-depth study into beginning the process of journaling.

There will be other chapters, all sold separately so you can pick and choose what you want to work on. At the end of this series, all of these articles will still be up on my blog, All the separate chapters will still be available to buy, and there will be a book that combines all of these chapters plus a little extra footage, more like bloopers. : ).

Sketches Away,


P.S. Be sure to check out the JBHensleySWJ Catalog to see my first book, How to Like Yourself Now (To Survive). 

There are pictures to show the with the whole poem, plus small pictures of worksheets that have been added to guide you even better than before. The book is full now. No more updates, I hope fingers crossed. : ). 

And be sure to share this article to share the information if you've found it helpful. Just Click on the Share Icon and all your Social Media Links to share will be there for you to share if you wish.

Defining your moods for Bipolar Disorder by Bullet Journal

Hi Sketchpoets,

Originally posted in June 2018, Defining your Moods for Bipolar Disorder.
This is a video with a brief introduction to what Bipolar Disorder I is as defined by someone with Bipolar Disorder I. I've been taking medication since 2006 so in my opinion, I think you can trust me to know what I'm talking about.

Here is a video of me talking about how I track my moods in my bullet journal.

I hope you get some piece of mind, from a piece of my mind.

Jess aka Sketchwriterjess

P.S. A couple of weeks have turned into a couple of months since I've posted this video.

I am doing well mentally, but am now tired physically. Now that I've talked to my Psychiatrist, she has been able to get up to date information from me about my condition and we have come to an agreement on my medication management.

I'm not going to give up on having a working brain and a body that isn't as tired. Perhaps my new Therapist can help me figure out ways to add exercise and better eating to my day in a way that is simple and easy to do.

I am planning on doing another video in show and tell format because I think you'll get more from how I use my bullet journal that way.

Also, I should have put this in. I got the idea for the Dutch-door Layout from Miss McKenna's Life Leverage on Youtube.  I think her videos on Dutch-door bullet-journal layouts are great.

Here is a link to the video with the tab layout, the one I used. It's part of a series she did with Dutch Door Layouts.

If you like my video, be sure to like and subscribe to see more. I don't say that in the video, it's my first one, but I'll say it in the next one.

Hope to hear from you, if you've got what I got, say it here. If you've got a loved one with a mental illness, you can comment too.

Sketches Away,
Jessica B. Hensley

(No I don't have an alter ego, I have a spirit self I am Jess with an artistic poetic soul and it's name is sketchwriterjess)

3 Parts to Coping With Life Problems. (Involves Sketching)

 3 Parts to Coping With Life Problems. (Involves Sketching)
by Jessica B. Hensley

Hi Sketchies,

Welcome to another post about coping with life problems. You’ve got problems, I’ve got problems...Who doesn’t?

Here’s a way to cope, its a three part method I use:

1. I open my sketchbook and put scotch magic tape down around the edges.

2. I sketch shapes in watercolorpencil to fill up the whole space, brush the drawn areas with water and let it dry.

3 I draw lines in black ink that connect the shapes together.

Below are some of the the art pieces I have made with this method:

I know, it seems ridiculous, right?

Abstract Sketching?

What if I was to tell you that my mood has been stable since I started drawing with this method?

And what if it could be applied to other types of art as well?

Any materials can be used.

Just a few things need to be kept in mind.

A. Shapes

B. Tones

C. Connections

This all comes together to form something that makes sense to you. Look at your sketch, see what you need to see to get you through.

Think of it like a Practical Crystal Ball.

There will be a book on this. I’ve got a poem on here that can give you a hint about it, however, unlike the last book I wrote, the poem I’m linking too won’t be in the book. 

The book will have new poetry and exercises to get you into the state of mind that you find makes sense. It’s something that can help you expand your notions of how you can adjust to life as it gets tight.

In the mean time,If you are interested in getting your self-talk to talk nice instead of dirty, I recommend you buy my book How to Like Yourself Now (to Survive). It involves an exercise of collage that you control. You get what you do at the end.

How to Like Yourself Now (to Survive) will enhance the exercise in the next book.

Sketches Away,


P.S. These are unsigned and untitled as they are sketches and not finished pieces. Larger pieces will be made from these. Please do not use these photos as your own.

A Couple of Palms Come Together and Make Waves

JBHensleySWJ Newsletter
by Jessica B. Hensley

May 1, 2018


If I was to describe this style of Art, it’s Florida through a Jersey Girl’s Eyes.

Some Palm Trees are grouped together when they grow as shown in the top piece of Art.

Palm Tree singles, couples, and multiples  are something I enjoy capturing in my art cause where there’s nostalgia, there’s grit.

A crisscross pattern of a waves crest is in the bottom one.

The Sketchwriterjess Blog:

12 set of Faber Castell Colored Pencils and Watercolor Pencils used for the artworks below.

JBHensleySWJ Newsletter April 22, 2018: Art with boats and ocean

Here is the newsletter for April 22, 2018:

Thank you for viewing.

You can reach me at facebook.
And/or comment here on this post in my blog.

Got a question for ya':

Do you like to use Watercolor pencils and Colored pencils together? Do you have a favorite brand? And a favorite subject to draw.

Leave your comments below and I'll get back to you before Wednesday.

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Free Web Apps for Productivity

Here is a place for Apps designed by me just for you to boost your productivity in a fun way. Have at it!

Time and Write Generator

Words Sprints Minutes
50 2 10
100 3 20
150 4 30

Press down on the button of your mouse and roll over the grid to get your random numbers. You can also use the highlight function on your tablet to get the same result.

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Jessica B. Hensley

Jessica B. Hensley
I've got Bipolar Disorder Type 1 and Psychic Abilities:

Hello everyone,

This blog is a place to read about one person's experience with Bipolar Life and it's obstacles. It is also a place to get information about surviving and thriving with a mental illness.

Not only do I make art and craft, I write and do Tarot Readings for the General Audience.
I discovered I have psychic abilities once I stopped drinking alcohol. Champagne? Not just yet ; ).

My hope is that you get inspired to put yourself out there into the world. It's scary to do so. It always is, but it's the only way to make progress towards having any quality of life.

Take Care and Blessings.