No one decides to have writer’s block. No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “I feel like having writer’s block today.”
On the contrary, getting stuck in a writing rut is something that everyone tries to avoid. What’s the best way?
Writing! Journaling, specifically.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “How can the cure be exactly what you want to do when your inability to do it is what’s ailing you?” It’s not. At least, not exactly. Let me explain.
Why Journaling Is Good For Writers
Your brain is a muscle. I’m sure you’re aware of that. The more you use it, the easier it is to use. The more you study for a test, the easier the test is to take. The more often you work puzzles, the easier they are to work.
When you exercise your brain, you see results.
You may have noticed how just the act of writing a chapter in your book will often spark ideas for the next chapter, or later chapters. Sometimes just creating an outline can generate ideas and cause you to start fleshing them out.
This is where journaling comes in—it’s a way to exercise your brain.
“Hold on,” you’re thinking. “What am I supposed to journal about?”
There will be some days when you write whatever comes to mind. But there will be other days when your brain will not cooperate. That’s known as writer’s block.
This is the perfect opportunity to use daily journaling prompts to unlock your creativity.
- Why Journaling Is Good For Writers
- How To Use Journaling Prompts
- 43 Daily Journal Prompts That Will Make You A Better Writer
- Journal Prompt Questions About Life
- Journal Prompts For Letter Writing To…
- Journal Prompts For Story Telling
- Journal Prompts For Observations
- Journal Prompts For Being Creative
- Poetry Journal Prompts
How To Use Journaling Prompts
Journaling prompts are quite easy to find online. Google turns up 6.5 million pages for the phrase “journaling prompts.” That’s a lot of prompting!
Two of the most popular ways to use journaling prompts involve creating a list.
You can then either check them off as you use them, or cut the list up into individual strips and place them in a jar (pull out one each day, tape into your journal, and write).
You may choose to journal in the morning if you write later in the day.
Or, you may choose to journal and then move straight into working on your manuscript while your thoughts are flowing.
If you’re feeling a bit blocked, you may want to journal daily for 10-15 minutes before you begin working on your manuscript, just to keep the momentum going.
As a way to make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of 43 writing prompts for you to get started.
These prompts are organized into six categories with five photo prompts separating them.
The prompts themselves will get your mind thinking as you read the words and come up with “answers” to write.
The photos are included to get you to really stretch your imagination. You may describe the photo, use it as a ‘scene’ in a story, or write about how it makes you feel.
Perhaps it will spark a memory which you can write about. However, you choose to use the photos is fine as long as you don’t skip them.
Use that muscle between your ears and write!
43 Daily Journal Prompts That Will Make You A Better Writer
Journal Prompt Questions About Life
1) What is the most amazing animal you can think of? What makes this animal amazing in your eyes? Try using it in a story setting, or write up an article about it.
2) What are your earliest memories of your mom/dad/a grandparent?
What were you doing, how old were you, and where were you when these memories originally took place?
3) Who is your best friend? What makes him/her so likable?
Write about some of the adventures you’ve had together. Don’t forget to create a character profile for your friend, including a physical description!
4) Think back to your first job interview—the one where you didn’t get the job. What could you have done differently?
How would your life be different if you had gotten the job?
5) Think about your first job: why did you leave?
How was your next job different?
What were the “office dynamics” like at your first job?
If you had been in management, how would you have changed the way things were run?
6) What has been your favorite job so far?
What responsibilities did/do you have?
How has the job changed your life?
7) Think about all the vacations you’ve had in your life. Which one was the most fun? Write about where you went and what you did and who you met. Which one was the most adventuresome? Which was the biggest fail — and if you could go back and do it over, how would you change things to make it awesome instead of a failed vacation?
8) Think about a time when you messed up — how would life be different if you hadn’t? What can you do today to fix a past mistake?
9) What makes you angry? Create a list of “pet peeves” and explain why each one made the list. What makes you happy, sad, or anxious? Think of ways to get more happiness into your life, then create a step-by-step plan to make it happen!
10) If dogs could talk, what would yours say? (If you don’t have a dog, substitute your pet. If you don’t have a pet, think of a friend’s dog.) Think about a day spent with your dog and write down all the various conversations that take place that day.
11) It’s time to fess up: name a character flaw you have (if you’re human, you have at least one!), and create a 3-5-step plan to fix it. It’s never too late to change!
12) What was your last phone call/text message about? How did it affect your life and the life of the other person who participated? How would life be different if it hadn’t taken place?
13) Take time to write out a Bucket List if you don’t already have one. Why did you choose the activities you listed? Write out the steps needed to accomplish at least two of the items on your list within the next two years.
14) Write about this image:
Journal Prompts For Letter Writing To…
15) … your grandchildren. Tell them about your own childhood, and offer some tips for transitioning to adulthood.
16) … the mayor. Let him/her know what you like best about your city. Or, if there is something that needs to be changed, discuss that in your letter.
17) … the clerk at the grocery store. Did you appreciate her cheerfulness, or did she seem preoccupied? Express your gratitude, or offer a pep talk to help her get through the day.
18) … your future self (in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years). Where do you hope to be as you reach each of these milestones in regards to your physical needs, work goals, and emotional well-being?
19) … “family back home” as if you were one of the first settlers in your town/city. If you know your town’s history, incorporate that into your story. If you don’t know it, how do you think it was settled?
20) … “family back home” as if you were the first person in your ancestral line who came to America. What is this new country like? What do you see and experience that you couldn’t see or experience in your home country?
21) … One of the people in this image.
Journal Prompts For Story Telling
22) Josh slammed the door shut. Why is he so mad?
23) Susan waited patiently for the light to turn green. Where is she going?
24) Create a story from a recent dream. Jot down everything you remember, and then fill in the gaps to make it flow smoothly.
25) Start a story about this image.
Journal Prompts For Observations
26) What do you see outside your window right now? If you are not near a window, what do you think the world is like on the other side of the wall next to you?
27) What sounds do you hear right now? (Other than the hum of your computer, that is.)
28) What types of smells did you encounter today? What do you smell right now?
29) Choose three objects that are in front of you. What do they feel like? If you cannot reach out and touch them, describe what you think they feel like.
30) What taste is in your mouth? What do you wish you tasted right now?
31) Describe someone you know casually, such as your banker teller, a store clerk, the waitress at your favorite restaurant, etc. Talk about their physical traits, all their favorite things, personality quirks, and family life. You don’t need to know them really well – just make stuff up!
32) Describe the perfect meal. Who are you with, where are you eating, and what is on your plate?
33) Describe colors to a blind person. How can you make them understand the differences in the colors of the rainbow?
34) Describe your observations related to this image:
Journal Prompts For Being Creative
35) What did you do last Saturday? Create a “How-to” article to teach it to someone else.
36) Create a complete character sketch. What do they like and dislike? What are their religious beliefs and political leanings? How about their favorite color, number, food, etc.? What is their full name, how many siblings do they have and have they ever had a traumatic experience? What else can you tell about them?
37) Pick up a dictionary or encyclopedia and open to a random page. Choose a word/entry and then create a story/article around it. Or, tell how it would fit into a story or article.
38) What’s your favorite song? Write the backstory for it. Why was it written, who was it written about or for, etc.?
39) Think of five quotes. Use all of them in a pretend dialog. (Yes, all five should fit in somehow, not as quotes, but as casual conversation. If needed, alter the quotes slightly—but don’t lose their context—to make them more personal.)
40) Write something creative about this image.
Poetry Journal Prompts
41) Write a Haiku.
42) Write a Limerick.
43) Create a Dr. Suess-style poem.
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After 43 Days
After you’ve spent 43 days using these prompts, pull up your favorite search engine and find a new list.
Or better yet, create your own prompts.
Stretch your brain muscles! You may surprise yourself with how creative you can be.
Can you think of a few more prompts to add to this list? Leave them in a comment for others to see.