5 Easy Journal Prompts When You Don’t Know What to Journal About
As we roll into the new year, it can be a good time to either come back into journaling or start journaling as a regular practice. There is something quite satisfying about cracking open a fresh notebook on the first of the year—the notebook and the year ahead both full of potential and new adventures.
And sometimes it can be nice to have a little warm up before we get to the first of the year, or any time of the year really. Journaling can be but doesn’t have to be and certainly is not always heady and serious and reflective and emotional and life-changing, but can really just be clearing out the cobwebs, looking for a few treasures.
If you’re having a hard time getting started on the page, and especially if you feel like you don’t know what to write about, I thought I would offer a few easy ins. This is also great if you’re already writing regularly but maybe want to shake things up and try something new.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting a few words on the page, and trust that the rest will follow. Some time ago, I wrote A Beginner’s Guide to Journaling, which was a bit more theoretical, and here I wanted to offer a few ideas for people who have their notebooks open and are waiting for inspiration to arrive.
Here are five super easy, every day journal prompts.
- Start off with the date, time and where you’re sitting (even if it’s mostly the same location every time).
Give it enough time, and it’s fun to see the location change, when you’re writing from a cafe or on an airplane or a park, but even when you’re at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee on an unexpectedly free afternoon, or when you’ve got the cat curled up in your lap.
- When I woke up this morning…
Thoughts, feelings, on-time, late, light through the window, alarm, radio, pyjamas, breakfast, dreams, dread, backaches, headaches, energy, excitement, blankets, temperature…
- Today I ate…
I certainly don’t mean to be sending you off into a food log, unless that’s something you’re interested in doing. But we eat everyday, and this is one way to reflect back on our day, with the time markers of meals and snacks, who we ate with, when we ate, why, how, what.
- Make a to-do list.
This can be good for mental clarity: offloading all the things that are swimming top of mind—errands, chores, work tasks, groceries, children’s activities—before seeing what else floats up.
- Take a minute and look up at the sky. Maybe take a literal minute, or count to 30 before diving in (taking the time before you do this can sometimes be important). The sky right now…
The whole point is to not let your days whoosh by you without living in them, noticing the moments, enjoying the journey. To take stock of and make sense of the time we’ve been given.
If you’re having a hard time sitting down and getting going, you can start with any or all of these prompts and see where it leads you. The prompts are mostly meant to stir the pot a bit, prime the pump, get the ink flowing. Once you get going, you can see what else is there. Some days it might just be one line, or a few, other days you might go on for a bit on the surface, laying out the day’s events, and maybe every once in a while you dig a bit deeper.
Once you get in the habit, it gets easier and easier. You start noticing more things, you start itching to get out your pen. Seeing the pages fill up is a very unique kind of satisfaction, both tangible and intangible.
Also, please join my journal club! We meet twice a week, Monday and Thursday evenings, 9 pm EST. I share a journal prompt and then we all write together into the night. It is a lovely community of people who just enjoy writing in our notebooks.