Since arriving in Calistoga I have been working on journaling daily with my little brother Dylan. Personally, I find journaling cathartic. I love to write down day to day stressors, things I am grateful for, goals and memories. Dylan finds daily journaling VERY tiresome. Let’s just say if he didn’t need to write daily for school he certainly wouldn’t be doing it. Every time I force him to sit down at the table with his journal he grumbles about a lack of inspiration. Writing a single page (his assignment) feels impossibly difficult. He has a very early case of writer’s block! What I find funny is that the kid has no lack of imagination. From the moment I pick him up from school he has something to say. He’ll tell me about his day, ask me “would you rather” questions, come up with inventions and crazy scenarios. All of which makes perfect writing material for a nine year old!
As adults we face similar challenges writing. Sure no one is making you sit down and journal every day to help improve your hand writing but we often set goals for ourselves and fail to meet them when journaling seems too intimidating a task. I’ve been there! I started journals and abandoned them because I couldn’t break through the “lay in bed at the end of the night and write about your day” mold. Some days were SO boring that I didn’t want to recap what I ate for breakfast and wore to work. Writing down the mundane just to have something in your journal can feel a bit like pulling teeth.
Blogging appealed to me at first because I wanted to document the magical moments of my every day life. Eventually blogging evolved into something more-I realized I could write about anything that struck me from the way I handle a panic attack to my own love story to reviews of the books I read most recently. Journaling is really similar! You needn’t confine yourself to boring drivel about your day at the office unless it compels you. Write about a quote that speaks to you, a moment that made you feel something or as I like to say “when in doubt list it out” (;
If you still need a little journaling inspiration there’s no harm in using prompts to get you started. It’s like 11th grade English class but a whole lot less Hamlet involved.
1.Why are you journaling? Do you want a space to analyze your thoughts? Do you like to make lists? Do you need help visualizing your goals? What do you hope to gain from this private space for your thoughts?
2. Envision your ideal schedule. Write it out in detail from the time you wake up, when you eat breakfast, work, excercise, socialize, etc. How can you use this vision to alter the way you spend your days now?
3. What made you happy as a child? Spend time describing your childhood interests and hobbies-how have those interests evolved? Is there a way you can become more in touch with your inner child?
4. Make a list of your best friends, what qualities do they have that you admire, why are these friendships so important to you?
5. Think about a MAJOR goal you’re working towards right now. Maybe you want launch a business, run a marathon or learn to code. Whatever your goal is visualize the steps it will take to get there and write down your vision in descriptive detail. Reread your vision daily or weekly to help you achieve your goal.
6. Think about someone in your life you would like to get to know better. What intrigues you?
7. Reflect on your previous romantic relationships. What worked and what didn’t? How haven relationships from the past changed your ideas of what love should look like and what you want for he future?
8. If you could pass on five valuable life lessons to a friend, younger sibling or child what would they be?
9. How do you envision your “ideal” self in five years? Focus less on specific goals (ie. running a business) and more on specific traits (ie. Confident, cultured, wears red lipstick, etc.) Describe how you see yourself evolving and how that is different from the person you are right now.
10. Write about a quote that has resonated with you recently. Share the quote and what it means to you.
11. What makes you feel most beautiful? Is it spending time with people you love? A swipe of eyeliner? Great skin? Giving back to your community? Think about beauty in general and what it means to you. Who do you consider beautiful and why?
12. Do you have any habits that constantly make you feel down? Do you hate follow anyone on Instagram or spend time with friends who make you feel mean/gossipy/insecure? Write about this negative habit and how it makes you feel. What can you do to change the experience to a positive one or engage in the negativity less often?
13. Write a letter to someone who has hurt you, don’t hold back!
14. Make a list of books that have made an impact on your life. How have these reads shaped your thinking?
15. Hit shuffle on your iTunes account (or Pandora station or Spotify playlist) and listen to the first song that comes on the station. Listen to the lyrics as if the artist is speaking directly to you-how do the words apply to your life right now? Be as serious or as silly as you like!
16. Think about INDULGENCE. What is your favorite way to indulge yourself? Describe an indulgent day and list out your guilty pleasures. Do you spend enough time on self care? How does it effect other areas of your life?
17. “How we met” stories are always fun to read and look back on. Write a detailed account of how you met your significant other/a past love/a best friend or anyone who is meaningful to you.
18. Try your hand at poetry. Write a silly poem about your day or a serious poem about loss. Even if you are not a gifted poet it can be interesting to express yourself through a different medium.
19. What is your relationship with “things”? Do you collect too much clutter? Are you a bit of a shopping addict? Are you sentimental about pieces given to you from family or friends? Does your relationship with “things” bother you? Or are you just the opposite- are you a complete minimalist? Do you have trouble buying things you need?
20. Bullet journal your day-how much sleep did you get? Which tasks did you accomplish? How much water did you drink? What did you eat for each of your meals? Save a section to recap how you felt by the end of the day.
Looking for a new journal to get you started? I’m a total sucker for cute notebooks!
P.S. Be sure to read the first twenty journal prompts I shared for more writing inspiration.