Episode 54: Journaling Maven Mari L. McCarthy

Heather Newman:  Hello everyone. Here we are again for another episode of the Mavens Do It Better podcast where we interview extraordinary experts who bring a light to our world. I'm super excited to have on a wonderful gal today. Uh, Mari McCarthy, L. McCarthy, who is the founder and chief empowerment officer at CreateWriteNow. Mary. Hello.

Mari McCarthy:  Hello Heather. How are you going?

Heather Newman:  I am good. Better now that we're on the phone. So it's wonderful. Um, Mary, where are you coming to us today from?

Mari McCarthy:  I'm coming from a small town called Green Harbor, Massachusetts and it's halfway between Boston and Cape Cod.

Heather Newman:  Awesome. Yay. So, and I today am in my home office here in Marina Del Rey, California. So, um, yay. So Mary and I, uh, had met, you know, kind of online and she just has this beautiful business and um, uh, some great methodologies and I wanted to have her on to talk about them. And so, Mary, will you tell us a little bit about CreateWriteNow?

Mari McCarthy:  Yes. A CreateWriteNow is home of Journaling for The Health of IT. It's, uh, an opportunity, a place for where health conscious people come to learn and discover how Journaling for The Health of IT can help them heal the issues in their tissues and grow and transform and empower themselves to do whatever they want to do or meant to do and then go out and take on the world and share all of their talents with the world.

Heather Newman:  That's amazing. I love it. The wow, that's so much. Will you, um, I know that you know, we always have, uh, an origin story. Uh, would you share with our listeners a little bit about the origin of the business and, and, and the methodologies that you've been creating?

Mari McCarthy:  Yes. Um, about 27 years ago I had, uh, an MS, uh, multiple sclerosis exacerbation. Where I lost, uh, feeling and function on the right side of my body and I needed some physical therapy asap to teach myself how to write with my left hand. So long story short, I, uh, always goal oriented. It's like, okay, I need a procedure cause I was a very high powered business woman. Of course, you know, you have to have everything yesterday and you have to have results instantaneously. Um, I universally or serendipitously or what the hell, whatever, I, uh, met up with a woman at a party. She was hypno-therapist. I told her about my, my goal and she introduced me to Julia Cameron’s Artist's Way. Uh, and in that book, she has a procedure called morning pages. And I got the book and looked it up and I thought, wow, that would be a very easy way to become a left-handed, a good procedure and very logical and easy to do. So I got into that. Well I got into that and it was like, Oh my goodness, Heather. Like, Oh my gosh. And I started hearing rhymes. I started writing poetry. I started getting into my childhood because, I mean, you know, we all had childhoods, but a lot of us it was very emotionally traumatic. We don't tend to remember a whole lot of things. Uh, but I was finding with the morning pages, Oh my goodness, as I'm writing it down. And just writing whatever the, you know, the three pages of stream of consciousness first thing every morning. Oh my goodness. I started remembering all kinds of shapes and sizes and things from my childhood. And, uh, one of the things I, uh, I remembered the process was that I was always left handed, but the nuns changed me when I was a little girl saying to a schools, I was, that's like. Though, it's the, uh, but the purpose for starting the journaling, uh, was physical therapy, uh, purposes but it got me into my emotions, my spirituality, the, the rest of my story, if you will, of Mari McCarthy. And it was like, Oh my goodness, I had to keep going and keep going. And I, you know, then it recovered my, my love for music and always wanting to be a singer and I pursued that. Pursued that. And now I, I'm working on my, my fourth album. So it was a very, it's really interesting. So, uh, I, I say, uh, things happen for a reason. And how interesting, once again, MS pointed me into a, uh, an area that I never ever dreamed I would be into. I always thought that I was a very hardened, a career, a woman, a left brain and all that kind of stuff. But the morning pages and the journaling got me into, um, the rest of my stories I, I said before and it's just like I'm, I'm creative. I'm intelligent. I can, I could write, I can say all this wonderful thing. And then that was my whole thing that, Oh, I have to share this with the world. And just, uh, through all my, my journaling, literally I get universal messages and one day Journaling for The Health of IT came up, and I thought, hmm, isn't that interesting? Cause I've, I've always enjoyed playing with words and having fun with words Journaling for The Health of IT and then I thought, well, I need the name for my company and you know, continue to do more and more and more, uh, writing. And then that's when they came up with CreateWriteNow. So that's all. That's I guess a little bit of a long story of how CreateWriteNow came into being. So an idea that it was also interesting cause one of my, my goals had always been that, um, cause like as I said, I was running a management consulting business, I was traveling all the time. But now I found my house on the beach, another goal. And so I decided that I wanted to run a successful internet company out of my beach front home and boom, it all came together through the help of, of journaling. So I just keep doing it and keep doing it, keep doing it. And it's just like, it makes me where I need to go next as far as coming up with all the, uh, numerous workbooks that I, I've come up with. And it's really a true self-empowering, empowering tool, self-care tool, ultimate holistic health tool, Heather, to help people, uh, understand who truly lives in their, their body, find out who they truly are, and then lit the light and create the life that they want to live for themselves.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. Wow. What an amazing story. And I, I love it's, and everyone it's CreateWriteNow and it's the word create, but it's W R I T E now. So a play on words. It's just fabulous and get going right now. I love that. It's so great. I love your logo. It's so cool. Um, yeah, and I, I, you know what, so I know that my mom was, is left-handed and I believe she had a similar experience in school, um, with nuns, uh, that were trying to change her from being a lefty to right handed. And that's amazing that you figured that out, you know, in the middle of journaling. But I think that's huge. We don't take the time to sort of go back. And I think that, I do, uh, I talk a lot about fear and how a lot of the times we're led by that and that usually there's one thing back in our childhood, maybe more than one, but that is really sort of the trigger for how we live our lives. And when those things go sort of unlooked at or undealt with that they can color every relationship and everything that we have. Um, do you find that people figure those things out when they're working with you on your program? Is that, I'm sure that's gotta be part of it.

Mari McCarthy:  Oh, definitely. That, that is the intent is so, uh, someone said to me, Oh, what you're talking about Mari, you're Journaling for The Health of IT is like we're not talking about, you know, how I spent my summer vacation, we're talking about what really happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away called our childhood. And how did we, being the young sponge that we were, we just sucked all that in. We misinterpreted, it's all our fault and all that type of thing. But now as consenting adults, we have the opportunity with journaling to go back into understand, not to relive that the trauma or the tragedy, but to revisit that from an adult observer perspective and understand, Oh, that's what happened. That's where that came from. That's what I thought. Oh my goodness, that's my mother. That's not me. So that's specifically what journaling for the health it is all about. It is therapy. It is having a loving kind guide. The pen, the pen and the page, to take us into the uh, the secrets of our soul, if you will. And all the things that we've been carrying around like, you know, the like I think back to uh, my childhood and, and, and, and realizing how all those things that we were told to stuff down and emotions aren't good, and good little Catholic girls do that. All those things that, and they came with, we have literally, we're literally carrying them around with us in our subconscious in our, as I call it, our issues in our tissues and journaling gives us the opportunity to really do the heavy lifting, the digging and understand where is that coming from, why has that happened? Oh. And then be able to say, Oh okay that was then, this is now. I choose not to carry that or I mean like we can't get completely utterly get rid of it. It is like I am now in charge and I choose not to go in there and keep repeating, repeating, repeating that craziness.

Heather Newman:  We have deep grooves, you know, I call them deep grooves that like they're hard to get out of. You know, it's like the, that deep groove where you think that you've gotten past something and then the universe or you know, whatever you believe in, higher power, you know it seems to me that if something presents itself and you're, you're like, have you really dealt with it?

Mari McCarthy:  Oh, that message is just like, and that's why it's so valuable when you go through that process. It's like, well, it was time to get out the old pen and page and start asking some questions and start figuring out, Oh, what's going on here?

Heather Newman:  Yeah, absolutely. And I think,

Mari McCarthy:  It's back.

Heather Newman:  it's back in and how are we dealing with it? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Excuse me. I give out, um, I, I'd switched that, you know, the how they soft skills on your resume. And I recently did a webinar about how I want to call those power skills. And those are things to me that are, you know, it's leadership and creativity, but I spent some time on self-care, self-love, drinking water, being hydrated, getting outside and you know, and journaling I think fits right into that. Something as a, as a tool or a practice. Um, this is what I, I love, I loved reading about, so you, because you have different, what you call power journaling courses and will you talk a little bit about your different courses that you have?

Mari McCarthy:  Yeah, they're very practically based. They came out with, you know, um, things that, problems that people have is like, Oh, how do I deal with that? Okay. One is love your body and it's all about learning to develop a relationship with your body. I think the whole premise on a lot, lot of the workbooks, another one is take control of your health. Another one is heal your life. Another one is money management. Uh, and I think that, that they, they're really a practical, I mean they're issues that we have to deal with in life, but we just don't know how to deal with them. And one of the biggest issues is, is us, because we're just so externally focused on saving the world, taking care of the family that, you know, the whole laundry list. This is all about going inside, turning the, uh, uh, the focus, uh, internally. And, uh, these are, uh, tools to help you deal with, uh, issues such as, you know, how do you learn to, to, to love your body? How do you set goals? How do you empower yourself? Those types of things that we certainly never were, uh, taught how to do or even, you know, they never even entered the conversation growing up. it's just like, study for your test, get a good grade, you know, the degree that all that, those type of things. It's not about, you know, to the extent that those of us who were in a very strict religious backgrounds like, again, like sacrilegious to even talk about yourself. It's like your job is to save the rest of the world. So I'm just, uh, I create, uh, uh, workbooks for, uh, for issues that people have to, uh, to deal with it in life. And one of them is, uh, another one I just came out with earlier this year. I on Valentine's day, uh, detox your relationships because, again, we're so, so focused on other people. What will other people say? What will the people do and all I was supposed to take care. All those types of things that we really realized that, you know, people, even family members can be detrimental to your health. And it's all about as a, uh, you know, the whole thing. That's why I call myself the chief empowerment officer. It is really doing the heavy lifting and the digging and dealing with the issues in your tissues. But it's basically once you get uncover the diamond that's been there all the time. It's like going forward and, and using it to just, you know, share your light with the world.

Heather Newman:  Oh, it's wonderful. I mean, even looking through Mari's courses, it's, you know, there's self-healing, self-improvement, courses for writers, self-growth. Um, and I love it. Yeah. I mean you have, I think you're at what, 300 and, in journaling prompts alone and I think you're at, what is it, 378 journaling prompts that you just put on your website, you know, for people to help them in that way. And then I love it that, you know, her, her books and her workbooks, they're, you know, they're at a great price point as well. You know what I mean? Like we spend, you know, 30 or 25 bucks without blinking, you know, on a, on a meal that might not even be good for us. So I love that, uh, the, your title, you know, the chief empowerment and, and that there's all, and that you're specific too, you know, I mean, I think. You know, the Artist's Way is wonderful. I've gone through that myself and you know, that's been around for such a long time and it's so inspiring and, but what I love about what you're doing is really getting into kind of like what you're saying, love your body. I mean, the world does not teach us that for sure. Right. Bombarded by all these images of all kinds of things. And so what Mari has here is just that I love your specificity in, you know, different aspects of loving your body or easing transitions or care for the caregiver. I mean, that one I just wow that so many people don't realize that the caregiver is, it's a hard place to be. Where did that one come from?

Mari McCarthy:  Um, I say it came from, uh, uh, my experience. I broke a couple bones in my foot a couple of years ago and I, I had, uh, I was really, I needed 24/7 nursing, uh, assistance, the process and, uh, and the nurses wanting to saw all these, these wonderful women, they were fantastic and they took really good care of me and all that type of thing. They, the running thing was that, you know, they were taking care of everybody in the world but themselves. And so it's like, they were great, wonderful, uh, nurses and caregivers. But yeah, they weren't given any care to themselves. So that's what was the impetus for that one.

Heather Newman:  Oh, I love it. Wow, that's amazing. And so will you talk a little bit about the recording? Fourth album, that's so inspiring. I was a theater major and sang all through my life and all of that and said, it's a part of my life that I scratched the surface on sometimes. I mean, I use it every day, right? If you're an artistic person, and I think everybody's artistic and creative in everything they do. But talk about getting back into that and what that was like. That's so cool.

Mari McCarthy:  Well, again, it was a very funny, and it was a morning pages got me into remembering my childhood that I always enjoyed music. My mother, uh, not trained me, but introduced me as the great American songbook because in her generation that's what their Saturday nights were, going out dancing and singing and goofing off, so that was the influence. And my father introduced me to classical music and I can remember, uh, that they, uh, was one of our presents growing up, got the family a piano and it's like, I was really excited to get to take piano lessons. So I went to school and there was a try-out, I think around fourth grade for the choral group. And I thought, oh yeah, I'm going to be a real singer and enjoying that choral group. Well, they didn't want me because they told me I was tone deaf and I sang off key. So, uh, and so I just really shut the door on that and just thought, okay, so not good enough. And just carried with me all these, these years, Heather, as I said, thank goodness for journaling because, uh, and the morning pages like, Oh my goodness, like, wait a minute. That was them. That wasn't me. It's just like, of course when you're, you don't have everything to go on stage at the metropolitan opera instantaneous like, but it's like, wait a minute. That's their job. They're supposed to be teachers, they're supposed to help us. So I got all these wonderful insights and understandings by, uh, by doing the journaling. It's like, Oh, I, I get it. So I thought, wow. So again, my goal was to take singing lessons and become a real singer. And less than a month, uh, passed by and in my local newspaper, there was a story about this 30th anniversary of the Kingston school of Music, which it was just a couple of towns away that catered to a students of all ages. That's where I went and I started taking lessons probably about 15 years ago. And then I just thought, and the my first time being on stage, Heather I thought, Oh my goodness, it's like this, this is where it is at for me. So that was just, and I just for this pursued that. And I'm working for the last probably five or six years for, with a gentleman who runs the New York vocal coaching and he's all about, uh, he calls, uh, singers, vocal athletes. And it's all about using your body the way it was supposed to, to get your voice out. And it's just, yeah, unstressing yourself and certainly the breathing and all that, but it's really just helping you, uh, really retrain your, your muscle memory. I'm very pleased to say that I can, I can sing from my body voice from my head voice, form my whistle voice. So it's, and like you said earlier, we all have a talent, artistic, creative talents in us. It's just, you know, a good question we just need to, uh, work with a teacher and practice, practice, practice, work, work, work and get to all the good stuff that's already there inside of us. And so that kept us going and connected with, uh, uh, a guy, working together about 10 years or so now, uh, he has his own recording studio. So I've been doing, recording with that, uh, with, with him. Uh, and now I'm embarking on my first, uh, uh, album that I'm writing the songs myself. So it's like I'm finally combining my love of writing with my love of music. And I, and I, the working title is Practically Romantic.

Heather Newman:  I love it practically, that has, that has so many wonderful meanings, I think. That's so great. So would you, so w for the most part, from the beginning, you've been writing the lyrics yourself and then working with other musicians, is that right?

Mari McCarthy:  Right.

Heather Newman:  Okay. And now you're not only, you're writing the lyrics, but you're also writing music along with it.

Mari McCarthy:  Exactly.

Heather Newman:  That's amazing. Wow.

Mari McCarthy:  Well, certainly a lot of adult supervision needed, but I, I think that, I believe it's because of my work with Justin mind, my voice teacher. I just really, I feel this like there's so, so much inside of us and there are things that, Oh, I'm now really hearing the notes that were there, it's just a fantastic opportunity to just like, Oh my, the notes, the music, the feelings there, now I'm just lending it, letting it rip Heather and let it, let it get going. And it's like I still need some help, but there's, it's, it's more of a 50/50, or less situation as opposed to, uh, uh, you know, my, my musical collaborators having to do all the music.

Heather Newman:  Let her rip. I, that's awesome. I think that's something my mom says too. You know, let her rip or, you know, or what's the other one? It's just if it, if it's not now when, you know?

Mari McCarthy:  right. Well, my favorite is from, from the guys at Nike, you know, just do it. That's what I tell people cause they, Oh, we, you talked earlier about, um, fear, and that's the biggest thing. That's why people don't get into journaling or you know, they say that they're too busy, this and that. But no, it's, it's, we're just carrying around so much fear. And the way you do that is like, you just, you just get the pad just to get the paper. You write a question and then you sit down and you just write, write, write, write, write from your, from your heart and this is something that's new and exciting. But just

Heather Newman:  It's, and don't you find that it's amazing with journaling. This is something I found with a writing coach that I worked with for a long time, Rachel Resnick, was that you don't realize how much you can actually write in a very short amount of time. Like, if you set a timer for like five minutes and write a question and write, you'll be amazed at the amount of pages you get. You know? Do you find that people are surprised at how much they can kind of output through when they're, when they're using your journaling and your books and your courses?

Mari McCarthy:  Yes. It completely blows them away. So it's like, I was having a problem, something I needed to deal with. And it's just like 15 pages later or whatever. They said, and the, they say, yeah, you're right Mari, if you just let her rip and just let it go, just, you know, deal with how do you feel, not, you know, censoring yourself and judgment and the listening to the crazy inner critic and all the kinds of stuff. just do it. Just take a leap. Just do something different. Just go for it. Just think of how you were as a child when you saw that big slide just ran up the top of it and then got down on the slide. So you're, you're right. It's just like once you get into it, and this is not, it's does not have to be a, have to be X number of words or whatever, it's whatever, wherever you are at that point in time. So just go for it. See where it takes you.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. Do you find also that I, I really believe in the power of pen to paper. Um, we're such a digital society and I do a lot of writing. OneNote is my favorite, I'm a Microsoft geek and OneNote's been my friend for a long time. Um, but there is something different about I think taking a pen to paper. And do you find that with your clients as well in your courses, that's a recommendation that you give them of that pen to paper contact?

Mari McCarthy:  Oh no, it is the rule. Journaling for The Health of IT is pen to page every day, end of conversation.

Heather Newman:  Ah, okay. So you're a believer. Yes. Well, and that's what you teach obviously. Yeah, I do. I really do. I think that there's something different about it, right? There's a detachment that comes with technology and, uh, and then just the ability to go back and read it. I mean, I'm, I'm staring here at my bookshelf and one of the bookshelves is all just journals, you know?

Mari McCarthy:  Wow. Great!

Heather Newman:  Yeah. And I don't do it enough. I don't do it every day. I will admit it. Um, I, it's something that I need to put back into my own practice, but, uh, I do, I'm, I'm glad to hear that. Cause I think that's really important that there's that pen to paper, pen to page that just, it's, it's a different connection, you know? For sure.

Mari McCarthy:  And again, yeah, I think that's, and that's what I found when I got into, uh, uh, in the morning pages and started journaling, it's like, Oh my goodness, this is like, this is spiritual, this is emotional, this is everything. This is me. Sounds like. And I am a process as it's like you said. So I was like, Oh. And they essentially, early on, I had the experience once I, before I knew anything about inner critics and things like that, um, I guess I got scared. And so I went back to, uh, keeping it on my computer and I thought this is nowhere. When you've been with the best, you know, you can't settle for the rest. So I just, I got myself in that. Okay, I'm going to have to face my fears that I don't know what's in there, this scaring the living daylights out of me, but I just, I have to get back to it cause I just see all the results. Personally uh, from doing it so it's like, so I don't, it doesn't even mention the conversation. So I just, I just tell people when they talk about Journaling for The Health of IT. It's like pen to page every, every day. But the good news is there's only one real right way to journal. And that's your way. So if you wanted to do it in the morning, if you wanted to do it at the beach, if you want do before you go to bed, whatever, if you want to just do, whatever.

Heather Newman:  That's great. Yeah. Uh, I agree with you 100%. That's awesome. So, you know, the, usually the last question I asked folks, um, and you've shared a lot of this potentially already, but I'm, I'm very interested in moments and sparks that move us or change us or bring us to who we are today. And um, can you maybe share one of those with our listeners? Um, and I know you've shared a lot of your origin story, but is there something or someone or a moment that stands out that you're like, you know what? Yes, this is, this is the one.

Mari McCarthy:  It was the, uh, afternoon of July 19th, 1991 when I was diagnosed with MS. And I, the doctor assured me and showed me my MRI and there was not an inoperable brain tumor. It was only MS. So I thought, phew, it is only MS. I can deal with it. It's time that, uh, so now that my beautiful beachfront home that I, I bought for me to get off the road and change, change gears and find out the rest of the Mari McCarthy story. So I would always say that my inspiration, my gifts, my thank you would always go to my MS diagnosis. Thank you MS.

Heather Newman:  Wow, that's amazing. And, and it does the life gives us things sometimes that, you know, those moments of, of dealing with health or dealing with, you know, trauma and all of that that really do move us to a different plane, to a different, to a different chapter if you will, you know, to keep with the book analogy. So thank you for that. And uh, I know folks can find you at createwritenow.com. And um, that's where all of where Mari's wonderful courses are. Um, her blog and she's got guests, uh, blogging on there as well. Um, Mari, what a joy to talk to you. Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for what you do in the world. It's absolutely wonderful. I appreciate it.

Mari McCarthy:  Well, thank you so much for having me and thank you for giving me the opportunity, Heather. Have a great day.

Heather Newman:  Absolutely. Thank you so much, Mari. Everyone.

Mari McCarthy:  Bye.

Heather Newman:  Bye-bye and thank you. Uh, that has been another wonderful episode, I think of the Mavens Do it Better podcast. You can find us on iTunes, on Stitcher, on Spotify, on Google play, and all those places where you listen to podcasts. We love five star ratings if you happen to give one, and here is to another beautiful day on this big blue spinning sphere. Thanks everyone.


Heather Newman

Heather Newman is an award-winning marketing maven, technology entrepreneur and an epic connector that brings many worlds together. She has extensive experience marketing products and services for Enterprise businesses, startups and emerging markets. Heather builds plans and processes that are nimble, human and different. She is an adept storyteller and is passionate about growth for both employees and the corporate bottom-line. Heather hails from the arts and the bulk of her career has been working with the largest technology companies in the world (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, NetApp, Hewlett Packard, and Dell). Her nineteen years of experience working at technology companies and building global high-tech marketing strategy has driven millions of dollars of revenue and multiple award-winning campaigns. She has led global marketing teams for many technology companies including AvePoint, IT Unity & KnowledgeLake. Heather was a part of the original Microsoft SharePoint Marketing team. During her tenure, she helped launch multiple versions of the product, build the SharePoint Partner Ecosystem and conceived of and produced the first three Microsoft SharePoint Conferences. Creative Maven has produced thousands of global marketing campaigns and events. Currently CM is focusing on go to market strategies for Microsoft and its partners as well as a new site sister site launching in 2015 called Marketingfixer.com. Heather also serves as Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Content Panda, an innovative technology startup looking to actively disrupt how content is delivered inside software.