Journal Prompts as Liquid Plumber for Your Soul

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Keeping a Journal

by Dunbar Green

We suggest writers journal like a chivvy, never letting an opportunity to write something down pass by. At a minimum, spend 15 minutes three times a week writing journal entries. Journal entries should be entered on different days. This type of journal writing involves personal interpretation, reflection, evaluation, summarizing, and the questioning of concepts, impressions, and ideas. Write anything you want to write. You may even wish to draw your opinion of an experience or thought. These journals have no set format, style or structure, and your pages should reflect that spontaneity. You may use pencil, crayon, blood, ink, etc. The journal is where you can let your ideas and interpretations flow unabashed and unabridged. Professional writers sometimes use journals to create and keep notes, and to jot down ideas. Journals are a place for written reflection, meditation and edification, as opposed to a diary, which is simply a recording of daily events. Try to ­write for at least ten minutes on each entry. Have fun while writing in them – get to know yourself; ponder life’s deeper mysteries.

Here are some suggestions of material you might consider for your journal:

  • List new words and concepts and explore them.
  • Write about the progress of your courses or experiences, people, and feelings; about what is happening and what you are, or are not, learning.
  • Respond to readings, both those assigned in class and personal ones. Write about personal associations as you read: your reflections, reactions, evaluations, etc. Paraphrase (restate in your own words, or summarize) what you read. Copy memorable, significant, or especially important passages and comment on them.
  • Prepare for upcoming class meetings and/or assignments. Write about the main ideas from readings and discussions. Then write about the relationship of new ideas to other ideas you have learned in this and other courses.
  • Summarize course discussions. Distill the contents of readings, lectures, etc. down to the most significant or basic parts). List questions, observations and any other comments you have about the ideas or information discussed.
  • Record observations and overheard conversations. Write sketches of interesting people who catch your attention.
  • Write for ten or fifteen minutes every day about whatever is on your mind. Focus these meditations on your new experiences and on your past to better understand, interpret, reflect and incorporate them into your life.
  • Organize your time. Write about your goals, aspirations and priorities, or list specific things to accomplish, such as what, when, and how you plan to accomplish them. However, don’t make your journal a mere “today’s to do list” -look at the bigger picture.
  • Keep track of a particular event or project as it unfolds over the course of several days, weeks, or months. It might be an event in the news, at school, at work, or at home.

Remember, the main thing is simply to write, and keep writing for as long as you can!

Journal Entry Prompts

You may write your journal entries on any topic you choose.  These prompts are intended only as suggestions to prompt writing for those people who want ideas.  If you have your own, please use them instead of these prompts.

  1. The best day of my life was when. . . .
  2. The worst day of my life was when I. . . .
  3. I hate writing because. . . .
  4. The worst injury I ever had was when I. . . .
  5. One time I really wanted to help someone, but. . . .
  6. I am sure glad I helped out when. . . .
  7. What I am proudest of is my. . . .
  8. For fun, I like to. . . .
  9. In five years, I will be/have/be doing/achieve. . . .
  10. If I had a bazillionmillion dollars I would . . . .
  11. I sure hate it when people. . . .
  12. I love it when people. . . .
  13. One thing I am really good at is. . . .
  14. My favorite book is about. . . .
  15. The best meal I ever ate was. . . .
  16. The prettiest thing I have ever seen was. . . .
  17. I didn’t get arrested that time when. . . .
  18. The thing I dislike most about myself is. . . .
  19. The most dreadful weekend I ever spent was when. . . .
  20. The way I spend a typical day is. . . .
  21. The worst vacation I ever took was when I went to. . . .
  22. I felt very out of place when I. . . .
  23. When I want to help someone, I . . . .
  24. I needed help when. . . .
  25. The most eccentric person I have ever known was. . . .
  26. The best teacher I ever had taught me. . . .
  27. The most significant event in my life was when. . . .
  28. My favorite political topic is ???? because. . . .
  29. I hate politics because. . . .
  30. The world would be a much better place if. . . .
  31. I would be perfect if. . . .
  32. I will be happy when. . . .
  33. I believe in extraterrestrial life because. . . .
  34. I don’t believe in gravity because. . . .
  35. I think other people. . . .
  36. When I graduate I am going to. . . .
  37. I like to write because. . . .
  38. The best book I ever read was. . . .
  39. The moment that changed my life was when. . . .
  40. My favorite pet is/was. . . .
  41. The mountains/beaches/forests are the best geographical feature because. . . .
  42. I like/hate to exercise because. . . .
  43. My favorite holiday is. . . .
  44. My favorite activity is. . . .
  45. I wish I had a giant, smart brain so I could. . . .
  46. What I regret most is. . . .
  47. One bad habit I can’t break is. . . .
  48. My best characteristic is my. . . .
  49. Drinking/beverages (anything)
  50. Elderly drivers
  51. What would it be like to live in a different time period? (your choice)
  52. Gardening (flower and/or veggie)
  53. Spring fever
  54. The perfect vacation
  55. The magic ink pen
  56. An unusual pet
  57. Boredom
  58. Soul mates
  59. The ideal house
  60. If you could be any animal, what would it be?
  61. My biggest fear
  62. In ten years, I’ll be…
  63. Fun with food
  64. My future car
  65. The ideal friend
  66. Alone in a cemetery (Halloween)
  67. What I hate about winter (or spring)
  68. What I love about winter (or spring)
  69. Rain
  70. Write about a dream and what you think it indicates.
  71. The color red
  72. My pet peeve
  73. A rainbow in the night
  74. My favorite animal
  75. The perfect job
  76. If I had more time, I would …
  77. What I hate about love
  78. The best things about summer
  79. What’s wrong with hair
  80. The most unusual experience I’ve ever had was…
  81. A sailing ship
  82. Watching clouds
  83. A blank piece of paper
  84. A locked door
  85. The scent of a rose
  86. Thoughts about reading
  87. What am I?
  88. The best day of my life was when. . . .
  89. The worst day of my life was when I. . . .
  90. I hate writing because. . . .
  91. The worst injury I ever had was when I. . . .
  92. One time I really wanted to help someone, but. . . .
  93. I am sure glad I helped out when. . . .
  94. What I am proudest of is my. . . .
  95. For fun, I like to. . . .
  96. In five years, I will be/have/be doing/achieve. . . .
  97. If I had a bazillionmillion dollars I would . . . .
  98. I sure hate it when people. . . .
  99. I love it when people. . . .
  100. One thing I am really good at is. . . .
  101. My favorite book is about. . . .
  102. The best meal I ever ate was. . . .
  103. The prettiest thing I have ever seen was. . . .
  104. I didn’t get arrested that time when. . . .
  105. The thing I dislike most about myself is. . . .
  106. The most dreadful weekend I ever spent was when. . . .
  107. The way I spend a typical day is. . . .
  108. The worst vacation I ever took was when I went to. . . .
  109. I felt very out of place when I. . . .
  110. When I want to help someone, I . . . .
  111. I needed help when. . . .
  112. The most eccentric person I have ever known was. . . .
  113. The best teacher I ever had taught me. . . .
  114. The most significant event in my life was when. . . .
  115. My favorite political topic is ???? because. . . .
  116. I hate politics because. . . .
  117. The world would be a much better place if. . . .
  118. I would be perfect if. . . .
  119. I will be happy when. . . .
  120. I believe in extraterrestrial life because. . . .
  121. I don’t believe in gravity because. . . .
  122. I think other people. . . .
  123. When I graduate I am going to. . . .
  124. I like to write because. . . .
  125. The best book I ever read was. . . .
  126. The moment that changed my life was when. . . .
  127. My favorite pet is/was. . . .
  128. The mountains/beaches/forests are the best geographical feature because. . . .
  129. I like/hate to exercise because. . . .
  130. My favorite holiday is. . . .
  131. My favorite activity is. . . .
  132. I wish I had a giant, smart brain so I could. . . .
  133. What I regret most is. . . .
  134. One bad habit I can’t break is. . . .
  135. My best characteristic is my. . . .
  136. I hate it when my teachers. . . .
  137. I love it when my teachers. . . .
  138. I learned the most from. . . .
  139. When I graduate I want to. . . .
  140. The reason I want XXX for president is. . . .
  141. I facilitate my spiritual growth when I. . . .
  142. I like English because. . . .
  143. The last good book I read was about. . . .
  144. My favorite magazine is XXX because. . . .
  145. I think XXX is the best poet because. . . .
  146. I like the songs of XXX because. . . .
  147. I like to research because. . . .
  148. I am happiest when I am. . . .
  149. I hate writing in this journal because. . . .
  150. The biggest fish I ever caught was at. . . .
  151. I do/don’t want to have XXX children because. . . .
  152. My best friend always. . . .
  153. I like it when. . . .

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