Rawness of Remembering

Rawness of Remembering

Guided ECourse

Use the power of restorative journaling to survive, heal, and grow through difficult times.

All of us go through difficult times.

But it’s what we do with them that determines who we are and what we become.

When going through the rough waters of a rough life scenario, the sailing can make you feel as though you’re the captain of a solo ship.

And if you feel this way, you’re not the only one.

It’s in this uncomfortable space, filled with loneliness and fear, that practicing restorative journaling is at its most beneficial. A private practice for your own healing, performed by you and only you, restorative journaling occurs when you take the helm of that so-called solo ship, turn it into safer territory, and dock the boat at safer ground, while you’re at it.

Because as the captain of your life, you can’t control the wind or the waves…

…whether that means the death of a loved one, prolonged illness, conflict in a relationship, or any other source of stress that arises.

What you can do is adjust the way in which you react.

You are already armed with resources. This course shows you how to use them.

"I'm only 8 lessons in, but lately I *crave* the journaling course: the time to be with myself and my journal, your prompts and structure. I’ve journaled before but never in such a deliberate and therapeutic way. I feel like I am reaching a hand out to myself when I journal now. This course made me aware of my internal power: the capacity to be loving towards myself even in difficult moments. I have dreaded time with myself for the last few months because I'm so afraid I'll become very depressed and self-destructive. Your course has helped me realize that I can be an ally and advocate to myself throughout my healing."


This is a self-paced online course about restorative journaling through difficult times, built by someone who’s been in the trenches.

Perhaps you’re going through a rough time, but can’t imagine being open about it to anyone you know.

Perhaps that loneliness is compounding your pain, to the point where you wonder if the loneliness is worse than the difficult time itself.

Perhaps you’re already seeking help. You’ve read loads of self-development books; you’re in therapy; you’ve chosen to take medication to help dig yourself out. But if you’re in therapy every week for 50 minutes (out of the 10,080 minutes that make up one week), you’re only actually in the therapist’s office for .49% of the week. What happens when you leave the therapist’s office—especially when you feel like there was some good information, but when you also forgot everything that was said by the time you get home?

What do you do after you take the pills like a good patient does?

Or perhaps you’ve tried journaling, but gave up after one or two entries because you didn’t know what to write about. Or you’re a long-time journal-keeper, but wish to learn specific techniques to get through whatever you’re going through.

But what I really want you to take away from this program is this:
Rawness of Remembering is not merely about creating a journal. It’s an investment in taking charge of your own healing. You will develop a way to take care of yourself when your therapist or best friend isn’t there; when it’s just you and your thoughts, threatening to ake you down into a terrible, lonely spiral.

What are some of the many benefits of restorative journaling, as taught through Rawness of Remembering?

  • Journaling can get us through grief when there has been the recent death of a loved one, or when we’re missing loved ones passed.
  • Journaling can support us through ongoing difficult times, such as chronic health conditions.
  • Journaling provides an alternative form of medicine/therapy for when we can’t speak with a friend or therapist—your journal is always there, even when a trusted confidant can’t be.
  • Restorative journaling can help build confidence and self-esteem to achieve our dreams—especially dreams that might otherwise be deferred because of stuckness and sorrow.
  • Further along, we can use our journals to compose stories that inspire others in their healing process.

The possibilities are endless.

Walk away with a journaling habit, a toolbox of photography and writing techniques created for those working through mental illness, loss, and/or a variety of tough transitions — essentially, anything that can be described as a difficult time. Learn to see your journal as a powerful balm, especially when used in conjunction with therapy and other forms of care.

Taking charge of your own healing is one of the most powerful things we can ever do.

At the end of the restorative journaling process, you’ll realize that you’ve also made an investment in revealing your voice. To realize your own bravery and strength as you live through whatever difficult time you may be experiencing. To have a physical record to look back on and think, Yes. I did that. I went through that. I’m still here.

And because difficult times aren’t limited to one-per-person (unfortunately!), you’ll have lifetime access to the course material.


Self Paced

with lifetime access to the course


30 Lessons

in five modules (click for details)


Read or Listen

text, audio, and visuals for each lesson


Action Prompts

for your journal and your life

In Rawness of Remembering: Journaling Through Difficult Times, you will learn:

  • How to start a journal if you’ve never done so — as well as how to kickstart a stalled journal
  • How to journal so that it can become a healing tool, as opposed to merely a dumping ground (and why a dumping ground is perfectly okay, too)
  • How to incorporate visuals into your journal so that they enhance your writing and memory-keeping
  • The skill of recording events so that they can be analyzed later (and yes, you’ll learn how to do that, too)
  • A multitude of different ways to write in a journal
  • Five concrete ways to boost wonder in your life through journaling
  • What an emotional landscape, and internal mentorship, can do for you
  • Creating your personal Strength Story

…and so much more.

The material is available on a special member website, and is divided into six sections with five lessons each. Each lesson contains gorgeous photos, insightful written material, an audio recording of the written material, and Action Steps for you to use in your journal and life. The program guides you from the very basic material of starting a journal, to the more complex material of using art and writing to create a restorative toolbox of a journal.

This kit is chock-full of tools such as Things I Did lists and what I call Future Writing—tools that I developed through years of tough times in my journal, have successfully taught to others, and know through experience have been and are helpful. Because of your access to the membership website, you can go through the material at your own pace, and you can return to it over and over forever, as many times as you need to.

Life is beautiful and complicated, and it takes a lot in order to pull oneself out of a hole. If you feel called to the Rawness of Remembering program, and if your gut is telling you that yes, this is the thing that will help you to help yourself right now– sit with that gut feeling…and let it bring you to a heart-centered decision.

There’s also a bonus.

Because so many people going through difficult times also struggle with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, I am giving a free copy of the popular, but no longer sold, audiobook and e-book of Light Gets In: Living Well With Mental Illness to every registrant, available on the Resources page of the membership site (retail value: $25). You’ll get 52 pages of beautifully designed, elegantly written words about living well with mental illness.

But what I really want you to take away from this course is this: Rawness of Remembering is not merely about creating a journal.

It’s an investment in revealing your voice. It’s an investment in using writing and imagery to realize your own strength as you live through whatever difficult time you may be experiencing.


Rawness of Remembering is no longer available for purchase. You can find it as part of The Unexpected Shape Community in 2021. For more information about The Unexpected Shape Community, please make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter, With Love & Squalor.

HOWEVER, if you received a Rawness of Remembering gift code, or if you purchased Rawness of Remembering and can’t figure out how to get back into the site, please head over to this website to use your login information. If you’re still confused, please email my Executive Assistant, Chloe, at chloe@esmewang.com with as much information for her as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t get it. Do I have to be around at any particular time to be a part of this class? Can I do the work at my own pace?

This class, as it is available right now, is self-paced. As soon as you purchase the class, you will automatically be allowed membership into the members’ website, which gives you access to all six weeks’ worth of the class material in one go.

What if I’m “not creative”? Is this an art journaling class?

This is not an “art journaling” class, although it does include lessons about photography and visuals — I consider the visual part of “art journaling” to be focused largely on making a journal-as-art-piece; what we are doing is creating a tool to encourage healing, with its visuals acting in service to that goal, rather than being the goal itself.

Won’t journaling encourage wallowing in my problems?

Journaling can definitely serve as a home for negative thoughts. It can also be a great way to “store” negative thoughts so that other, more positive tools (thoughtful reflection, the infamous “gratitude list,” inspirational words, etc.) have room to grow and flourish alongside negative thoughts — which everyone is bound to have, whether they journal or not. Unless you are the kind of person who never has a negative thought, in which case… wow. Email me.

Can I use a paper journal/digital journal?

Yep! I introduce using both paper journals and digital journals, and provide information on how to integrate visuals with both throughout the course.

My difficult time is taking up a lot of space in my life. How will this class fit in?

This class is a bit unique in that your circumstances can often dictate for you your ability to engage in active participation. However, having taught Rawness of Remembering beforehand to multiple people going through unexpected crises at the time of the course, I can tell you that those people have expressed to me their appreciation of the resources, even if they weren’t able to participate as fully as they may have liked. Some were also able to receive additional heartfelt support in the community group as these crises arose.

With that said, this particular question was one major reason that I decided to reconstruct the course into a program. You’ll have access to all of the materials. You’ll be able to dip in and dip out as much as you need to, when you need to.

This isn’t really a question, but… I’m really busy. I just don’t have time to journal.

Our lives are chock-full of activity these days. At the same time, I believe that making time for yourself is a valuable skill. Even if you don’t end up registering for Rawness of Remembering, feel free to check out the first lesson about Growing the Journaling Habit. The transcript can be found here.

I can’t figure out how to log back in to the website after I’ve signed up. Help!

No problem! Just sign in with your login information at rawnessofremembering.com.

I’ve purchased a registration for my loved one. How do I gift it to them?

What a thoughtful gift! The way most people do it is to just send their friend an email or make them a card that describes the gift and includes the URL (rawnessofremembering.com) and login information. That way, you can customize it, give it to them whenever you think is appropriate, include your own little message, etc.

Any other questions?

Please feel free to email my assistant, Chloe.

Participants Say...

“This was, by far, the best e-course I’d taken, and I’ve taken quite a few of them. Some of them were by big-name bloggers whom I respect and admire, but yet your course surpassed theirs — I want to stress how much yours [shone] amid all the dark crappiness that was going on in my life.

And through your course, I’ve journaled these events and continue to do these days. It’s become my safety net, the me-time I now look forward to every day.

I’m not able to afford mental health counseling at this time due to high co-pays, but the time with my journal has become a respite from my daily struggles. It’s now an activity I refuse to let slide for too long because it’s helping me, mentally and physically.”

— Jenna K.

“I just started your Rawness of Remembering course and wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying it… As I started your course, I was reminded of a term that my therapist used to use—’tools in the toolkit.’ Mental illness demands that you keep your tools nearby in good working order… I hope that your course will help me put words to my own pain and struggle, so that I may be strong enough to help others.”

— erin c

“After months of suffering, I realized I had to do something to help myself heal. I’d had my eye on Rawness of Remembering for a while; this seemed like the time to do it. Signing up proved to be the best possible choice I could have made for myself.

The coursework became a nightly appointment with my psyche and an outlet for the chaos I’d been swallowing. My journal–and, by extension, I–became someone to turn to at a time when I had no one.

I was able to examine and then challenge my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. I rediscovered the pleasure of putting words and images on paper. The power of creating and caring for myself in that time was incredible.

Things are better now, but I know that I’ll go back to the lessons again and again in the future.

(The course also became bound up in a sweet bonus blessing–while in the midst of it, I met someone. As we got to know one another I told him about the course and my nightly rituals. He asked if I would share my words of the day. I began to send him photos of those words and of the poems I copied. Somewhere along the way, we fell in love.)”

— kate h.

“Esmé Weijun Wang is an extraordinarily wise, contemplative, and compassionate soul, and her sharp intellect and warm heart make Rawness of Remembering remarkable. Her insightful lessons and writing prompts challenged and inspired me and helped me to be better at understanding myself and being kind to myself… This class will make you more observant and aware and make you realize how strong you already are. This class will open and re-open your eyes to how much goodness there is in the world.”


“The class was beyond amazing. Before signing up, I knew I needed to find new ways to contain and manage the emotions I was uncovering, but was struggling with how to make journalling a regular practice, how to write anything but narrative or morning-pages style, and going back to my journal when it felt uninspiring. Rawness of Remembering shifted, for me, learning how to love my journal, creating a daily space for introspective rather than ‘active body focused’ self-care, and realizing that writing down my insights and reflecting actually creates more change than trying to pull action points from experiences.”

—grace quantock

“The Rawness of Remembering course has given me a structure for working through a truly difficult time in my life. I’ve battled depression and c-PTSD for most of my life and many of my coping skills have been self-destructive. About a year ago I saw a way out for myself: cutting out drugs and alcohol and introducing creative, restorative strategies for healing. Suddenly, however, one of my parents died. The loss has been devastating, and I’ve felt myself slipping into the headspace that was so familiar to me in the depths of my depression and using.

Your journaling course has given me the kind of structure and support that I’ve needed to self-soothe.

I’m only 8 lessons in, but lately I *crave* the journaling course: the time to be with myself and my journal, your prompts and structure. I’ve journaled before but never in such a deliberate and therapeutic way. I feel like I am reaching a hand out to myself when I journal now.

This course made me aware of my internal power: the capacity to be loving towards myself even in difficult moments. I have dreaded time with myself for the last few months because I’m so afraid I’ll become very depressed and self-destructive. Your course has helped me realize that I can be an ally and advocate to myself throughout my healing.

I really can’t thank you enough. Thank you so much, you beautiful soul. I have learned so much from your course and am SO GRATEFUL that you’ve given me a practice that I can take with me throughout my life.”

Part 1

lesson 1: introduction to restorative journaling
lesson 2: the physical vs. digital journal
lesson 3: using visuals
lesson 4: more about visuals
lesson 5: a wild heart

Part 2

lesson 6: words for feelings
lesson 7: stream-of-consciousness
lesson 8: narrative
lesson 9: poetry/lists
lesson 10: sources of inspiration

Part 3

lesson 11: collecting quotes
lesson 12: kind words said
lesson 13: not a gratitude list (kind of)
lesson 14: a safe place
lesson 15: messages

Part 4

lesson 16: the power of picture-taking
lesson 17: the self-portrait
lesson 18: a brief rest
lesson 19: things i like
lesson 20: i am

Part 5

lesson 21: the signs before the storms
lesson 22: rhythms (& blues)
lesson 23: the bullsh*t radio
lesson 24: rewriting the narrative
lesson 25: prayers & petitions

Part 6

lesson 26: speaking to the wiser voice
lesson 27: therapy notes
lesson 28: navigating the emotional landscape
lesson 29: your story as fairy tale
lesson 30: the last day (your strength story)