I’ve been keeping a journal since 1995. I started journaling long before that, but 1995 is when it stuck.

1995 was the year I got my first desktop computer as well which came with a Weezer video you could actually watch on your computer. Observe this advanced technology here –

I also got a printer and lots of paper. I typed thousands of pages of the mundanity of teenage life in every single font imaginable. I printed these pages and trapped them in three-inch, three-ring binders.

When I turned 18-years old and moved out, I lugged all of these binders with me to every house and apartment.

In the early 2000s, I burned them all, but that’s a blog post for another time.

What I’ve done a poor job of saying here is that journaling and I have been cool for a while. Journaling got me through a lot of hard times in my life, but it also helped me to mark my achievements and get to know myself better.

There’s a reason I’ve continued to journal into my late, very late, 30s – it helps me live my life.

Some days, I just write things like, “Angry. Hate everyone.” Other days, I write four or five pages about what I believe to be the meaning of all life, or my desire to eat cheese cake for every meal because I watched every single episode of The Golden Girls as a child.

I’m Dorothy, and that show holds up. Go watch it.

I mentioned near the top of this post that I burned my journals. I will explain that another time, but I want to highlight it right now as a way of saying that your journals don’t have to be pretty or for public consumption.

In fact, I encourage your journals to be full of your worst handwriting and crappy ideas. You can always pick out the good ideas and great bits for personal essays and burn the rest.

If you are interested in learning the fastest and easiest ways to start journaling, click here to visit learn.hellothisisbara.com. Once you are there, you can sign up for a free journaling course that will launch on February 20th, 2021 at 8 a.m. Central Standard Time.

I hope to see you in there.

Updated Journaling Course on LEARN

 Many of you have enjoyed my writing classes on Skillshare and Udemy.  I am very grateful for that.  I love hosting courses on these platforms. I also want to host some live writing classes for you all which I cannot do on either of these platforms.  To do that, I need a little more access and control over the platform I’m using.  With that in mind, I have started building out LEARN.HELLOTHISISBARBARA.COM.

What does this mean for Skillshare and Udemy?
Nothing.  The courses available on Skillshare and Udemy will be there until the sites shut down (barring any unforeseen circumstances).  

Will I be making more courses for Skillshare and Udemy?
I genuinely hope so, and I plan to.  Though, new courses for Skillshare and Udemy take a backseat to courses on LEARN (or HELLOTHISISHERACADEMY as I like to call it) and my small press.

My first course will be an updated version of my journaling course called How to Journal.  The course will launch at 8 a.m. Central Standard Time on February 20th. This course is free and shows you how easy it is to begin journaling without pretension.

LEARN (or HELLO.THIS IS HER ACADEMY.) is very new – so new I cannot commit to a name – so if it looks a little empty, that’s because, well, it is.

I’m remaking my signature courses and making plans for live workshops, larger courses, and other fun things. For now, I am keeping it simple for us all by offering one course with the promise of a fresh version of How to Write a Short Story course coming in March.

I hope you find the updated course interesting and useful. I wish you all the journaling luck and joy.

Turns Out – I Don’t Like Picasso

On my birthday, I take my mom out.  She did all the work, so why are the presents for me?
  Last year, I outdid myself and took her to a Beach Boys concert.  There is no topping that.  I see that now.  
  This year, I took her to the Frist museum to see Picasso.  When I saw the exhibit was opening on my birthday, I thought, “Yes.  Perfect.  This will be super cool.  How often do we get to just go down the street and see Picasso?  This will be cool.”
  Two paintings in, I knew I had made a mistake.  We both found the paintings violent, vulgar, and very anti-woman. 
  To each their own, of course.  If you love Picasso, I do not judge. 
  I just couldn’t get over how each piece was showing people as parts and not people.  Women as sexual parts, body parts.  Not people.  
  I found myself saying, “I like this one, but I don’t know that I would have liked it if it had not been contrasted by that.”
  I was very turned off by the experience.
  We spent the morning just randomly saying, “Nope,” as we drove to a safer place to laugh at how unsophisticated we must seem.  That place is, of course, the yarn store.
  All reviewing of Picasso aside, we had a great time.  It’s good to do things that do not bring the most pleasure all of the time.  It is good to test yourself and try new things.  We should constantly do things to get to know ourselves better.

I now know for certain that I dislike Picasso.


YES, NAOMI! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! I’m so glad you found the course helpful.

I write this every single time, but every time I read a review like this I just cry. I’m so glad you all get something out of this.

Sometimes, you make a thing, and you don’t know if it is going to land or help anyone. Each time I read about small breakthroughs or full of books-coming-out-tomorrow type posts, I am just elated.

Thank you so much, and please let me know if you decide to publish a children’s book. I would love to share it with the world.

Review – 01/2021

I started 2021 in a new and invigorating way.  I ran into an ice-cold lake with my brother.  You can see a picture of me running into the water while my brother looks on like, “This isn’t cold at all,” by clicking here

 Despite current events, I am still positive about things going forward.  My positivity is the product of planning, list-making, and journaling.  Consuming chaos only puts the chaos in your mind. 

  Doing what you can to fix small problems that lead to greater chaos really helps to ease your mind and heart.  I encourage you all to find small ways to make your bubble better.  And, yes, something as simple as baking cookies for your friends and neighbors contributes to the solution.  

My First Read of 2021

On the first, I read an amazing comic called The Picture of Everything Else.  I cannot recommend this comic enough.  The artwork is gorgeous, and the story is captivating.  

My First Watch of 2021

Have you seen Forged in Fire? On Netflix?  I’m told this is an older show, but I’m just discovering it, and oh my goodness!  I’m ready to learn to make knives, people! 

Give it a shot.  See if you have the itch to learn a new craft after watching it.  Knifemaking, perhaps? 🤔

I’m Not Crying, Rebekah! You’re Crying!

Okay – for real – it is not my intention to make this blog a place where I only post positive reviews of my work (courses, books, whatever). However, when I cannot message people directly, I’m just going to post them here and on Instagram (hellothisisbarbara).

You all have no idea how good it feels to know that you chose my course or my book, and it did something positive for you. It’s incredibly moving, and I’m not crying. I’m allergic to, you know, WORDS!


On January 6, 2021, thousands of people stormed the capitol with the intention of halting the electoral college’s certification of the next president of the United States. 

They were armed.  They broke windows. People were injured.  Items were stolen.  People were arrested.  Some died.

I was scared, angry, embarrassed, and completed dumbfounded as to why I was the only one in my office near tears.

See a problem, fix a problem.

Words I live by, but how could I fix this?  I can’t.  I am one.  I am no one.

On my drive home, I listened to Jane Fonda’s book What Can I Do, and, as if the Universe had planned it all, she told The Story of the Hummingbird as she heard it from Wangari Maathai.

Click the story title to hear or read the story.

The short of it is this – The jungle was on fire, and none of the big animals were doing anything about it.  A tiny, hummingbird was flying from a stream to the fire dropping one little drop at a time on the water.  When asked what the hummingbird was doing, it tells them, “I am doing the best I can.”

I sobbed.  There was my answer.  To fix bigger problems, I can solve little ones and encourage others to do that same.

I will be the hummingbird.  I will do the best I can.