Carol Anne over at "Therapy Bits" asked if I could do a post about journaling prompts. “Of course, I can,” I told her but directly ran into a problem once I sat down to write the post:
I actually never used a prompt for my diary writing. Over the years I have read a couple of posts about prompts for journaling but never felt the need to use them. When I write my journal I just sit down and write. A couple of times I used the questions that come up when doing Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” but in general I just sit down and start writing Stream of Consciousness style.
Video Source & Credit: Lavendaire via YouTube (Please head over and check out her channel and page)
Pondering the topic a little longer I started to wonder if I should actually start using some prompts to get some more input in my soul searching and from there I thought it might be cool to have a weekly “schedule” to “spice” up the diary. I also pondered that I am writing a diary for a long time. I started aged 10 or 11 and am now nearly 50 so I have a lot of “experience” what works for me and what doesn’t. However, if you just start out writing a journal then you might feel a little insecure and a prompt might work wonders.
If you have signed up for the “The Bee Creates…” Newsletter you already have my template of having a quote, positive affirmations and a Stream of Consciousness part for your daily journaling (You can copy the template and use it for your journal writing). Soon I am adding a weekly journal prompt scheme to it which will appear in the FREE download when you sign up for the newsletter.
I am currently trying out these 7 prompts for every day of the week but haven’t used them long enough to say anything about it. Later on, in the year I’ll do another post about the journaling and then we can share experiences. But now my journaling ideas
- Monday Music
- Tuesday Book
- Wednesday Photo
- Thursday Drawing
- Friday Imaginary Life
- Saturday Stream of Consciousness
- Sunday Lean against… and listen
You might have heard of the #MusicMonday hashtag on Twitter where users share songs every Monday. I think music is a great inspiration for any sort of writing and so I suggest you take your current favourite song and listen to it without doing anything. Just listen. Then listen to it again but take your journal and start writing what comes to mind.
Don’t worry about grammar or if it sounds stupid what you write about. A journal is private neither matters at all. What matters is that you allow yourself to write what comes up. This is a great method to dig a little deeper into what is going on in your life and will give you the chance to work through issues.
Also, don’t worry about the choice of music. If you get bored to write about one song every Monday just choose another. You can also create a Music Monday playlist for the whole year and then work through it. Go crazy. Get creative. Your diary is your oyster so you can choose what you want!
My idea is again inspired by an online feature. This time it is a blog feature called “Teaser Tuesday” in which bloggers shared the first sentence of the book they are currently reading.
To adjust it for journaling I suggest you chose the chapter of the book you currently read according to the month you are in. So in January, you chose the first chapter, in February the second etc. The line you use comes with the day. So on January first, you use the first chapter of your book and the first sentence and on February 16th you use the second chapter but the 16th sentence. Write that sentence down but don’t stop writing. Just keep on writing what comes to mind. If nothing comes to mind just keep repeating that sentence or what you feel or how stupid this whole idea is ;-). It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you keep writing. The astonishing thing is that at one point your writing goes sort of automatic and you won’t have any problems journaling anymore.
I am again inspired by a blog feature called “Wordless Wednesday” in which bloggers share photos instead of words on their blogs (well most do words as well. We are not that “strict” in the blogosphere ;-) ).
So my suggestion is to choose a photo either one of yours or another’s that you like. Sit down and just look at it for a little while. When your mind starts working start writing down what comes up. This, of course, is a bit of a tricky prompt if you are visually impaired. In this case, I suggest using any prompt from the other days.
I am not a person who draws a lot but I wanted to have a prompt that challenges me a little. That is why I chose “Draw your mood” as a journaling prompt for Thursdays. There is no reason why you need to write words in your journal. You might as well fill it with drawings. I am sure artists use that a lot.
So on Thursdays get your pencils or pens out or use your drawing app on your computer and find colours, forms and shades of your current mood. You can, of course, write something too. That is entirely up to you but I think it is good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then and try something different.
Again, if you have any special needs might it be being visually impaired or maybe have other physical issues, chose any other prompt that works for you.
Friday Imaginary Life
Friday’s prompt is “borrowed” from Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”. It is an exercise she suggests to recover your inner artist and is called “Imaginary Life”: If money would not be a problem and you have all the time and ability in the world what and who would you like to be? Choose a life you would like to live may it be the life of a housewife, an explorer, an artist or an astronaut. Imagine where you would live, whom you would mingle with and what you would do. Go crazy. Normal limits are no issue in your imaginary life and it’s such fun to daydream a little.
Saturday Stream of Consciousness
Again I am borrowing from the blogosphere. Linda over at “Life in Progress” offers a weekly meme called “Stream of Consciousness Saturday”. She offers a prompt and we can write a post about it without editing. We just write what comes to mind.
For your journaling, I would suggest to make yourself a list of words you would like to work with. Then every Saturday chose one of the words and then start writing without thinking and editing. Just write what comes to mind. You might be surprised what your subconscious wants to tell you :-).
Sunday Lean against and listen
This is a brilliant writing prompt that I encountered many moons ago in an online writer’s group. The prompt goes like this:
“I quote Kasey Mathews from the WANA group “Write to Heal” for this writing prompt:
“With paper and pen, or computer handy, lean back in your chair, or against the wall, or a sofa, etc., close your eyes and imagine you are sitting under a large tree with your back resting against the trunk. On the other side of the tree, a Storyteller has come to sit down and also rest against the tree trunk. With eyes still closed, just listen. Wait for the Storyteller to begin his or her story. When you hear it begin, simply write down all that you hear. “
Video Source and Credit: Chelsea Dinen via YouTube (Please head over and check out her channel and page)
This might not be the sort of journaling prompts you have expected but I suggest you try them out anyway. Journaling is most beneficial in my experience when I try out something that’s outside of my comfort zone. It allows me, to find aspects of myself that I haven’t been aware of before but also talents that I didn’t know I had. But if you feel rather intimidated by this sort of journaling prompt then here are some ideas that other people have:
Daring to Live Fully: 119 Journal Prompts for your Journal Jar
Psych Central: 30 Journaling Prompts for Self-Reflection and Self-Discovery
Penzu: Journal Writing Prompts
Daily Teaching Prompts: These Journal Writing Prompts Will Encourage Kids to Develop Their Composition Skills
Radical Tranformation Project: Journal Writing Prompts for Depression and Anxiety
ART Journalist: 365 ONE Word Art Journal Prompts
These are my "7 JOURNALING PROMPTS FOR JOYFUL SELF-EXPLORATION" and I hope they gave you some inspiration for your journaling.
I am curious: Do you write a regular journal? Do you use prompts for it and if, which is your favourite one?
I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice by a health professional be it a doctor, therapist or counsellor.
I invite you to try out self-care tools, however, if any of these make you feel uncomfortable please stop and do not go further ahead. Also, if any of the tools suggested bring up issues that need dealing with do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. To recognise when you need to stop and when to reach out for professional or any other help is one important part to learn when it comes to self-care.
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