20 Journal Prompts For Beginners
Journal writing has a myriad of benefits. Taking the time to write can help us clarify what we truly believe, and maybe even figure out our life purpose.
However, one of the obstacles that many people face when they want to pick up the practice of journaling is that they don’t know what to write about.
Here are 20 prompts, questions and ideas to explore in your journal to get to know yourself better:
#1 Create a reverse “bucket list”
Close your eyes for a moment and think about things that make you happy — people, places, smells, holidays, music, etc… If you want a challenge, try to list at least 99 things that make your heart beat faster, or 99 things that make you love a summer’s day.
#2 Look out the window
As you gaze out the window, look carefully at what you see. What do you notice? Write a detailed description of any people or animals you see. Where do you think they’re headed? Do you notice any changes in the view since the last time you looked?
#3 This time last year
What were you doing this time last year? Was it snowing? Unseasonably hot? What were your goals (and did you achieve them?). Reflecting on where you were last year is powerful when you are able to compare to where you are now. Can’t remember that far back? Go through some old texts and photos – that should jog your memory!
#4 Write a Review
Write a review of a book you read or a movie you watched. Just pick something and write about where you think it really worked and where you think it went wrong. If you liked it, what can you learn from it? If you didn’t like it, how would you make it better?
#5 Set a timer and write
Even if you don’t feel like writing, you’ll be surprised as you how many words you can squeeze out with the aid of a timer set for 15 minutes. Here’s what you do:
- Set your timer for 15 minutes.
- Write for 15 minutes.
- If you feel like it, keep going after 15 minutes. If not, put your writing implements away.
Transcribe your stream of consciousness. If you need a more concrete starting point, pick a random word like “blue” or “garden,” and start with some free word association.
#6 Start with a cliched first line
Start your journal entry with a clichéd first line, such as, “It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time,” and see where it goes naturally.
#7 Write about the best smell you have ever experienced
What memories does it remind you of? How does it make you feel?
#8 Describe Your Utopia
What does your ideal government look like? How about your perfect city? Who’s in charge? Is urban farming a thing, or do we all live in space? Design an ideal utopia… and then start thinking about all of the possible flaws in your plan. How could your perfect future city turn into the next teen dystopia novel?
#9 Write about a memory
Is there a memory that sticks in your mind? Write it out as a scene with as much detail as you can remember. If no particular memory stands out to you, try writing a vivid description of a favorite childhood toy, pet, or home.
#10 Use Visual Journaling Prompts
Leaf through some of your photos or a couple of magazines and cut out any images that catch your attention. Use each one as a prompt.
#11 Plan your dream dinner party
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? You can pick any guest: living, dead, or fictional. Describe your guests, the conversation you would have, and what sort of food you would serve. Consider: do your guests like the food? Are they from this century? This reality? What questions would they have for you?
#12 Think about your ‘firsts”
What was your first holiday like? Your first day of school? Your first time seeing a particular movie? Make a list of at least ten “firsts,” and write a sentence about each of them. You’ll probably find yourself smiling as you reminisce…
#13 Gratitude List
There is no better place to start an exploration of happiness than delving into gratitude. Just think of all the things you are grateful for – big or small. Stop for a moment and visualise them in your mind and contemplate for a minute or so why you’re grateful for each.
#14 Positive People
Identify the people in your life that give you energy; those that are optimistic and who make you feel happy and appreciated, Who are they? Write each of these people down and why you feel they are a positive influence in your life.
#15 List your silver linings
Think of something that made you feel sad or angry and take a moment to reflect on as many silver linings as you can. What good things, however indirectly, came out of these experiences that you didn’t seem positive at the time?
#16 Take a moment to “Be Present”
Stop whatever you’re doing, and engage all five of your senses. Write down what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste, right at this moment.
#17 Thinking about the week just ended
- Who made you feel good?
- What did you do this week that moved you closer to reaching your goals?
- Is there anything you did this week that you wish you’d done differently?
- What did you most enjoy doing this week?
- How did you procrastinate on important tasks?
- What did you learn?
- What’s the funniest thing that happened to you?
#18 Write about a secret superpower
What is your secret superpower? Not “which superpower would you want?” but rather, “what is your best-hidden talent?” Are you great at getting lids off jars? Do you know a frightening amount about Russian history? Write down one (or more!) secret superpower that you have, and then think up a scenario in which this talent could save the day.
#19 New things
Brainstorm some ideas of things you’d love to do that you haven’t done before. Another idea you could try is to write simple ways you could break routines and change the things you do every day.
#20: Make Lists
List your classes, your goals, your favorite breakfast recipes. List the movies you see and the daydreams you have about that cute barista at the corner coffee shop. List quotes you find inspiring and books you want to read. Don’t pressure yourself to write in full sentences, but do break out the multi-colored sharpies. Personally, I like keeping my journal separate from my planner, but you might want to use your journal to organize your life and express your creativity in one fell swoop.
You Might Like…
If you’re looking for a journal kit that comes complete with scrapbooking supplies, check out our Unicorn Journal Set / Scrapbook Kit