Beginners Guide to Journaling: 5 Prompts to Get the Juices Flowing

Open notebook

If you’ve read our Ultimate Guide to Journaling, we hope it got you excited to get started. You went out and bought the perfect journal, now all you have to do is fill it. However, staring at a black page can be intimidating. Even experienced journal-ers can get writer's block sometimes. Here we will share with you some prompts to get the juices flowing whenever you feel stuck. 

1. Write about your day

Women writing in yellow notebook

Good, bad, or ugly write a synopsis about your day. Remember, your journal is for your eyes only, so don’t worry if your day was mundane or your writing doesn’t tell much of a story. This prompt will work best with stream-of-conscious writing. With stream-of-conscious writing, you write down whatever comes to mind without putting too much thought into it. Give yourself a time limit, say 3 minutes, and keep your pen moving the entire time. You can start off writing about your day, like what you had for breakfast, and let the pen dictate where you go. 

2. Try minute-detail writing

Close up of an apple

Minute-detail writing involves writing about an object, place, or person in extreme detail. Pick one subject like an apple, your mom, or your favorite beach, and then write about it as vividly as you can. You should write like you want someone to be able to see the exact image as you see it. Don’t be afraid to add memories or metaphors if that will help convey your message. 

3. Make a list

Open notebook

Some days it’s hard to feel motivated to write. Making a short, simple list can be a great way to keep up the habit of journaling without burning you out. You can make a list about anything: a shopping list, a bucket list, an itinerary, or a workout routine. If one of your goals of journaling is to help you live the moment and increase positivity, give writing a gratitude list a try. It’s a great exercise in remembering all you have. 

4. Write a letter to a loved one

Woman writing in notebook

Pick someone in your life and write them a letter. Don’t plan on sending it to them, although you can if it comes out really good. Writing a letter to someone without the intention of showing it to the will open you up to saying whatever you want. Maybe you are mad at someone about something and writing about it like you’re talking to them helps you realize how silly it was. Or, maybe, you write about something you like about someone that surprises you. You can always just write your letter about your favorite shared memory with the person. 

5. Write a 6-word story 

Open book

Hemmingway made the idea of a 6-word story famous. While this idea may take a little more brain power than the other prompts, it’s still a great way to break out of writer’s block. The idea is that you tell a whole story in just 6 words. This a nice, quick brain teaser that is perfect for the day you don’t know what to write. The extremely short format forces you to think about words differently as you try to piece together a whole story. 

We hope this helps you as you embark on your journaling journey. Let us know in the comments what prompt you’ll try next time you have writer’s block!


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