My Work

Kay Adams, international journaling expert, interviews me about my latest book, Matryoshka.

She writes, “Joan’s capacity to tell a compelling story, together with the many intricate ways she can turn a theme, resulted in some wonderful writing and sharing.” Download below Kay’s recording of a radio interview with Joan and enjoy a one hour mini-workshop!

DOWNLOAD HERE: AE2027 Your Many Selves Joan Leof – January 2016

SANDY WEINER, dating coach and founder of Last First Date (

She interviews me on her radio show about essay in MATRYOSHKA: Uncovering Your Many Selves Through Writing called “Third Time’s the Charm” about being married three times.

NATHAN OHREN, Journal Coach (, interviews me in Journal Talk Podcast about my new book.



Writing has evolved as my medicine and my muse since that first poem magically poured out of me at age eight. In my 20s, personal journaling became a potent healing tool and has remained with me decades later.

Following my careers as an English teacher and public relations associate writing feature articles and profiles, I created my own business, Write to Heal, to help others transform and empower themselves through journaling. Participants in my workshops range in age from nine to 90. Extensive research now validates the healing power of journaling for the body, mind, and spirit.

Recently published–Matryoshka: Uncovering Your Many Selves Through Writing

This book has just been released in .pdf format for reading digitally; also, if you prefer, as a handsome paper book.

Joan’s personal essays and questions for reflection will inspire readers or writers to uncover their many selves. 

Endorsements from other writers:

“Joan Leof’s essays are a delight. She has a unique voice and always comes at things from an unexpected angle. Her range of life experience, insights and fearlessness about revealing herself make for an engaging and thought-provoking read.”

–Roz Warren, author of Our Bodies, Our Shelves: Library Humor,

“Joan Leof’s collection of revealing, funny, stirring essays capture the ebb and flow of life and relationships, from the quest for the self and meaning to seeking love. Her writing is infused with wisdom, humor, and sprinklings of poetic images.”

–Linda Hall, poet and author

“A distinguishing characteristic of Joan Leof’s personal essays is their candor. Here is an author not hesitant to share the most intimate facets of her life, but she does so not to shock, not to entertain, but to embolden others by example to use writing for self-discovery and healing.”

–Tom Davis, writer and photographer; author of Double Exposure: A Veteran Returns to Vietnam,

“Joan Leof’s collection of essays and stories is about her life and every life. Leof is adept at focusing deeply into emotional corners to find human truth. The reflective questions after each story further assist a reader’s journey toward insight and articulation of personal stories.”

–Patricia Finley, Quaker writer





Combining the raw material from my years of journaling, along with my poetry and essays, my memoir, Fatal If Swallowed: Reclaiming Creativity and Hope Along the Uncharted Path describes how to use intuition and other tools all of us possess to create an authentic life. I wrote it as a testimony that one does not have to swallow whatever it is that is toxic, and can choose to trust John Burroughs’ belief, “Leap and the net will appear.”  Click to purchase it in paperback and Kindle versions at Amazon..

I invite you to discover writing as your medicine and your muse. Hopefully my blog, radio interview of one hour (click to play, below), and article will inspire you to give it a try!


– Joan Leof


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  1. Hi Joan! I have some great news! The podcast that you were an expert guest on earlier this year has made it to the finalists list of nominees for “Best” podcast in the category of “Health & Fitness”! Read about it here:

    • Johanna Rucker on January 4, 2014 at 8:38 pm
    • Reply

    Hi, Joan,
    I have heard from friends who attended your workshop that it was very good, so I have found you on the web.
    I am a 67 year old woman who has kept journals since age 12. I have taught English composition at Temple and other places. I have worked as a professional writer–newsletters, medical papers and training materials, handbooks and more. I have participated in workshops and even led a few.

    And yet…I seem to still experience resistance regarding writing for publication in a way that I would be identified. Who knows what that is all about.

    I would like to transform whatever that is into energy for actually writing and publishing. I see you have a writers’ group and regular workshops in Wilmington. Do you also work with individuals? I would look forward to speaking with you about all this soon.

    I am using library computers at this point, so if I don’t respond to your email in a timely way that is why.
    I can also be reached by phone at 302 533 6018.
    Thanks, Johanna Rucker

    • Cindy Heck on June 6, 2016 at 9:41 pm
    • Reply

    Joan, I attended one of your workshops at a retreat of the women at the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington. I now attend the Unitarian Congregation of West Chester in PA and would love to bring you and your workshop on our next retreat. Do you still hold your workshop by request or just at the location in Wilmington? Can you contact me please?

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    • Susan Hengel on January 14, 2020 at 5:10 pm
    • Reply

    Dear Joan Leof:
    I am the adult service librarian at the Appoquinimink Library, located in Middletown. I am looking for a speaker to conduct a one time introduction to journaling workshop for my adult patrons. Is this something that you would consider doing for me? I have a small programming budget if there would be a fee.
    Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon-
    Susan Hengel

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