For my recent article on Home Goes Strong about Happiness at Home, I interviewed my blog crush Gretchen Rubin, whose book The Happiness Project–the same name as her blog–was a #1 New York Times best seller.

All that goes on underneath my roots

All that goes on underneath my roots

Gretchen keeps a one-sentence journal, which she admits sometimes expands to 4 sentences.

Says Gretchen, “The idea of keeping a proper journal was far too daunting, so I decided instead to keep a ‘one-sentence journal.’”

This is me again. Years ago, I gave up journal writing. Between living alone and blogging about my life, I exist so much inside my own head that I’d decided, enough already!

Today, however, I opened my long-neglected journal document and began to write . . .

Thinking about doing a one (or 4) sentence journal a la Gretchen Rubin. This got me thinking about going back to journal writing and seeing what happens. Look at me, here I am in the second sentence of my journal and already it has given me an idea for a WW post about whether or not to journal.

And therein lies the problem of too many ideas.

Question: Is it good or bad that a journal generates a flow of new ideas? Idea management overwhelms me.

When I kept a journal previously, I was always coming up with new projects, like:

  • Have a Habitat for Humanity singles party!
  • Go polka dancing!
  • Play piano, take a painting class, write a children’s book!

As it is, I have no time. Susan’s Law is the opposite of Parkinson’s Law that says, Work expands to fill the available time.

Susan’s Law says, No matter how much time you have, you will always plan more to do than you have time for.

I’ll never finish all there is to do: sew the hole Casey made on the couch, learn to use my new camera, make squash soup.

I love the way starting out to write about one thing brings on a whole other topic. In that way, I’m a psychiatrist’s dream, so to speak. The underlying story finds its way to the surface.

I shall continue to try Gretchen Rubin’s 1-sentence journal, even though it’s so much harder to write one or four sentences than 10 paragraphs where you can just ramble. How do I decide what snippet to capture on the page?

Yesterday, I sat in traffic and was late for the treasured visit of the month to Emily’s kindergarten class
Square/cube egg
(my daughter Emily teaches at a charter school). 
Finally I arrived with a hard-boiled egg and the gizmo I’d bought for making a peeled egg into a cube. I’m not sure if the kids are wise enough to be as wowed as I am by that. At least they were totally engrossed to see what would happen.a charter school]. Worried I’d miss the whole afternoon, I did childbirth breathing to keep calm.

Then I read The Golden Egg Book about a bunny and an egg, from which emerged a duckling. “And no one was every alone again.”

I’m pushing the limits of Gretchen’s one-sentence journal, but it’s okay for Susan’s one-sentence journal to be longer.

This is fun! I can’t wait to see what I decide to write in the journal tomorrow.

Hi, this is non-journal me again. Now I’m getting my hopes up that every day a blog post will emerge from my journal. After all, isn’t that what a blog is, a web log?

The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for worrywarts or anyone who would enjoy a “neurotic, hilarious, poignant” deeply personal memoir:

**Even if you are unable to attend a book signing,                                                                   Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others                                                  is now on, Kindle, and Smashwords**

“A first-rate personal essayist, Susan Orlins delivers the goods time and again. Underneath her self-mocking voice, her abundant humor, her brio, there is the serious candor of a moralist who worries the problems that won’t go away.”
–PHILLIP LOPATE, author and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay


“Susan Orlins is America’s funniest neurotic since Woody Allen. Just be careful you don’t crack a rib reading Confessions of a Worrywart.”

–PATRICIA VOLK, author of Stuffed

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, poignant, beautifully written January 21, 2013

Susan Orlins is a master storyteller.This book is both funny and poignant… both lighthearted and heartbreaking. It’s one of those rare books that you can read in a few days, but it stays with you much longer. I found myself thinking about Susan’s stories and experiences long after I finished the book. It’s a great read that will have you laughing out loud one moment, and then feeling your heart break the next as you travel along the bumpy road of Susan’s life. I have not enjoyed a memoir this much since reading David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty SomeDay. (But as a woman, I can relate to this book SO much more). Highly recommended.

MORE [too many?] OF MY ARTICLES ABOUT WRITING [When will I ever learn that less is more?]:

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