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Personal Journal Writing Prompts

Updated on May 12, 2016

A Little Inspiration

Whether you journal with pen or with a keyboard this list of journaling prompts will help keep you writing when you feel you have nothing to write about.

Search the list of 365 journaling prompts until you find a prompt you feel like writing about then have a go at it.

Do not find one that speaks to you? That is no excuse. Use your finger and pick one at random to write for fifteen minutes on the chosen topic. Once you start writing you will find your own direction.

Citation: image from Microsoft.

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How To Journal

One of the common statements I have heard is "I want to journal but I don't know how." For someone who has been journaling a long time or even all their lives this may seem like a silly statement and the likely response may be "You just pick up a pen and start writing." If you have not had an affinity for journaling it really is not that easy.

If you want to journal the first thing you need to ask is "Why?" Do you want to journal to clear your head and work through your problems or do you want to journal to capture the history of your life? Perhaps you just want a daily recollection of your activities.

The next question you need to ask yourself is what kind of journaling you want to do. Do you want to use the traditional book and pen or a computer? There are benefits and disadvantages to both.

The Book and Pen

Using a book and pen gives you a different tactile experience than a computer. Your hand has to move across the page. We have been writing since we were small children. It is automatic and doe not involve as much thought as typing on a keyboard. A particular uniqueness to using a book and pen is your handwriting. It is unique to you and no one anywhere will write the way you write. The downside, over time, is they take up lots of space.

The Computer

The computer allows for different avenues of journaling. You can use your word processor like Microsoft Word or Corel Wordperfect. You can store endless entries in numerous files all in one place. A computer also allows you to journal online in blogs or on a personal website. The downside comes when viruses, power outages or thefts occur. And to continue a rhythm you need to know how to type or at least know where the letters are.

Personally, I like to use a mixture of both. What you need to decide is what is going to work best for you. If you spend all day on the computer, writing in a book may be a nice escape. Try both to figure out what you like. In the beginning, go with the book and pen. Get a small book so you can work through it quicker and feel a sense of accomplishment in filling it.

The Rules

There are no rules! You can write whatever you want whenever you want. It is your journal. The biggest hurdle you will need to get over is the value of your writing. Many give up journaling because they think what they are writing has no value. If it did not you would not have started in the first place. When you get these feelings write through them. What is important is to get started and keep going. The more you do it the more ideas you have and the more your direction will become apparent.

Prompts

Sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Prompts are words or phrases you can use to get the mental juices flowing. Here are a few prompts for beginning writers (they all do not need to be used at once). Pick one for your first entry or spend the week working on them.

* Why do you want to keep a journal?

* Have you ever tried to keep a journal before? What did you like about it? What didn't you like about it?

* How important is your privacy?

* List ten of your favorite possessions and why they are your favourite?

* How do you feel right now?

Now you are journaling!

A Prompt a Day Will Fill Your Journal

Search the list until you find a prompt you feel like writing about.

  1. Journal about a bad cut you received. Or about a bad cut you witnessed on someone else.
  2. Make a list of 25 escapes you would like to indulge in.
  3. The smell of cinnamon reminds me of...
  4. Journal about your first kiss. Not the romantic kind, the first kiss that you remember.
  5. Write a childhood game you played with someone in your neighborhood.
  6. Journal about the first pet you remember. Start from when it came home and work chronologically until it passed away.
  7. List 100 things you would like to try.
  8. Journal about your favorite color. Has this always been your favorite color? What other colors have been your favorite? Why have they fallen out of favor?
  9. Write about playing the lottery? Have you ever? Did you ever win? Do you have favorite numbers? If you don't play then write about someone you know who does or why you don't.
  10. Journal about a book you are reading now. Not like a review. Pick a theme or thought from the book and elaborate on it in your own terms.
  11. Journal about a fear that you carry.
  12. Journal about a dream you had last night.
  13. Journal about someone you love and lost.
  14. Journal about a celebrity. Be sure to include ten things you love about them.
  15. Journal about the neighbor across the street. If you don't know anything about them then write about not knowing them and what you would like to know about them (or not know).
  16. List 50 wishes.
  17. Journal about a story your father told you about his childhood.
  18. Journal about a bodily injury that scares you.
  19. Journal about the day you lost a parent.
  20. Journal about an anger you still carry.
  21. Journal about being alone. Do you like or hate it?
  22. Journal about your first lost tooth. Or your child's.
  23. Journal about finding love. How did you meet your current partner? What makes them perfect right at this moment?
  24. What's your favorite pet.
  25. Journal about the name you wish you had been given.
  26. If you had a million dollars you would...
  27. What five colors best represent your personality traits?
  28. If you were a superhero what would be your first task?
  29. To hit or not to hit?
  30. Land or Sea?
  31. Journal about a place you would like to return to.
  32. Satisfaction comes to those who...
  33. I like to read...
  34. Dogs are like...
  35. Wool or Silk?
  36. What was the best concert you attended?
  37. How old were you when you had sex?
  38. Do you still have a relationship with the first person you had sex with?
  39. Journal about the importance of sex to you?
  40. Sex after 60, yay or nay?
  41. Is religion more important when you are younger or older?
  42. Should faith be solitary or communal?
  43. What is good about our society?
  44. What do you appreciate about government?
  45. Make a list of 25 people who have made a positive influence to your life.
  46. Journal about a healthy lifestyle.
  47. Write about fixing something.
  48. What job would you have liked to have tried?
  49. How did you choose your current profession.
  50. Write about the child you didn't have.
  51. Mustard or Ketchup?
  52. Journal about a place you have lived.
  53. Journal about the best part of you.
  54. Journal about what these three words have in common: misery, money, friendship.
  55. Do you want to get married? Or how do you feel about marriage.
  56. Tea or coffee? Why? Favorites?
  57. Do you want to have kids? Or more kids?
  58. Why is discipline important?
  59. If you were dying, who would you want by your side? Why? What would having them there mean/do for you?
  60. 10 people who make you feel good about yourself. Practice in your journal but then write them a real letter and mail it -- the focus being on how wonderful they are.
  61. Journal about a fear you have over come. Did you do it alone? Who helped.
  62. How important is the truth to you?
  63. Journal about your experience with the Dentist. How much work have you done and how did you react to it.
  64. Are you afraid of needles? Why or why not.
  65. Give Blood? Not to a vampire, a blood bank. Why and how often?
  66. Death List. Make a list of people you know personally who have died. Expand on each one.
  67. Who is the oldest person you know? What do you know about them?
  68. Do you do a breast self-exam? Why or why not?
  69. What does creativity mean to you?
  70. What would life be like with one foot?
  71. Write about the moon. Do you remember any moon lore?
  72. Winnie-the-Pooh or Paddington Bear?
  73. Journal about your feelings on war.
  74. Journal about someone you know who has fought in a war.
  75. Journal about your thoughts on the death penalty.
  76. Journal about a way you wouldn't like to die (finish with how you would like your final moments to be).
  77. Journal about the importance of war. This is also a good exercise if you disagree with the value of war. Write from the opposite perspective.
  78. Journal about the importance of accountability during war.
  79. Do you think the yearly flu shots are important (how about the h1n1 vaccine)?
  80. Journal about the autumnal glow.
  81. Journal about your Halloween beliefs. Do you participate in Halloween events?
  82. What is your favorite Halloween costumes and why?
  83. Who supports you no matter what? Journal about that person and the way the support you. How do you support them?
  84. List ten obstacles you experience at work. For each one write about a possible solution and how you can instigate it.
  85. List 50 skills you bring to a work environment. Don't go with the obvious.
  86. If you were to give a seminar at work what would it be about.
  87. Journal about your reactive emotions.
  88. Are you selfish or selfless?
  89. Journal about an unrealistic fear you haven't shared with anyone.
  90. Is the profession you are working now your ideal? If barriers were not a factor what profession would you choose? Why? What do you think makes this profession perfect for you.
  91. What do you want to know about yourself?
  92. What non-physical trait would you like to change about yourself?
  93. Make a list of 100 things your are thankful for. Your list can include people, things, or privileges.
  94. Journal about the perfect thanksgiving dinner. Include the best food dishes and the best company.
  95. What should you be more thankful for than you are?
  96. Journal about how thankful you are for your government (leave out the stuff you are not thankful for until next week).
  97. Write about someone you miss at Thanksgiving.
  98. Was Thanksgiving more of an event when you were a child than it is now? Journal about the difference in detail.
  99. Journal about your favorite family Thanksgiving recipes. Be sure to include where they came from.
  100. Journal about the importance of celebrating Thanksgiving every year regardless of feelings.
  101. Make a list of fifty words that inspire thoughts of thanksgiving.
  102. Journal about the difference between thankfulness and gratitude. Include an example or two.
  103. Vampire or Werewolf? Why?
  104. If you were trapped on an island which book would you want? Don't just give the title. Write a synopsis of the book. What you like about it and why it would give you comfort in the solitude.
  105. What would you give for a slot of uninterrupted time? And what would you do with it?
  106. Are you a good person? What makes a good person? What makes you think you are a good person? Do others think you are a good person? Are you lying to yourself just a bit?
  107. What are you afraid of most?
  108. Can you be alone with yourself?
  109. Open your journal and write including these three words...Tension -- Harbor -- Green.
  110. How do you want to die?
  111. If you could live forever what would you do with the time?
  112. Journal about the lines on your face / veins on your hands.
  113. Five traits you wish everyone had but doesn't.
  114. Twenty reasons why women should vote.
  115. Journal a page about the person you want to be.
  116. Journal about your earliest Christmas memory
  117. Christmas memories... Make a list from 1 to however old you are. Then go back through the list and journal about about a memory from each one (only a line or two). For the years you can't remember ask someone else who might be able to help you fill in the blanks.
  118. Journal about your favorite treat in December
  119. Journal about the most important aspect of Christmas Day for you.
  120. What do you want to instill in others during the Christmas season?
  121. The perfect Christmas mean entails...
  122. Write a poem about Christmas using the letters of the word to star off each sentence. C H R etc...
  123. What are you grateful for at this time of year? Or what do you think you should be more grateful for?
  124. Journal about a favorite Christmas TV show or movie that you enjoy each year.Include the title, who is in it, what it is about, why you like it.
  125. Growing up, what did you really want for Christmas but never received.
  126. Write about three foods you wouldn't eat. Not even if someone paid you!
  127. Journal about a place you visited with your parents... that you would like to return to with your children.
  128. What is better? Being an only child or having siblings? Journal ten pros and cons for each and where you fit in.
  129. How did you pick each of your children's names?
  130. Were/Are you loose?
  131. Make a list of the men you have been with. Expand on each one in a separate entry.
  132. Ever on crutches? Journal about what led up to it and some of the funny things that happened while you were on them.
  133. It hurts to...
  134. Journal about the types of gifts you like to receive... Favorite flower, chocolate... whatever.
  135. What scares you more... Not being able to see? Or not being able to talk? Elaborate on the why, when, what, etc.
  136. Something crazy you did in your twenties.
  137. Your beliefs about Karma.
  138. Any difficulty communicating your feelings.
  139. Where your empathy begins and ends.
  140. What is your passion.
  141. Why you get up in the morning.
  142. Delve into the ways you handle stress.
  143. Are you feminine or masculine.
  144. How's your body health.
  145. Your stage of menopause... Not even close? What are you feelings on the menopause of someone in your life.
  146. Journal about three personality traits you wish you had.
  147. Journal about an old boyfriend you've thought about in passing.
  148. Journal about each name of your child and while you chose it.
  149. Journal about your name. Research: what it means, why your parents chose it.
  150. Journal about an instrument you would like to play but know you will never learn.
  151. List 20 pieces of food you would like to try. Could be an entrée or something singular.
  152. How did you learn to swim? If you haven't learned journal about why you haven't.
  153. 10 Reasons for Being Polite. This is not a list. Explain each reason for two or three lines.
  154. Journal about three things that rub you the wrong way.
  155. Have you ever skinny dipped?
  156. My imaginary friend growing up was...
  157. My best friend in grade school was...
  158. My favorite toy when I was eight was...
  159. In grade school, I kept my hair...
  160. My current hair style is... Include why, who does it, how often you have it done, what it means to have your hair styled, costs involved etc...
  161. Real nails for fake nails?
  162. Shower or Bath?
  163. The recipe you couldn't live without...
  164. When you go out with friends what kind of drink do you usually order? Why? Do you remember the first time you had it? What makes it special?
  165. How do you like to be romanced?
  166. How your parents met.
  167. How you met your current partner.
  168. Top Five Family Get Togethers You Look Forward To (Or don't look forward to).
  169. Journal about dealing with someone else's loss
  170. What makes you a good person?
  171. What makes you a bad person?
  172. Three things you appreciate about your best friend.
  173. 356 Things You are Grateful For. Get a little notebook. Carry it in your purse or bag. Every day as you come across something you are grateful for add it to the notebook. Number them and continue adding until you have 356 notations.
  174. If you were a plant, what kind would you be?
  175. If you were a superhero what "power" would you want to have?
  176. What is something you want to accomplish this week beyond the usual?
  177. What holds you back?
  178. What change would you like to incorporate this week?
  179. What makes you feel vulnerable?
  180. What is your most prevalent negative thought and how does it impede you?
  181. What was the most important thing that happened yesterday?
  182. If you could relive one moment from yesterday what would it be. Describe it in detail.
  183. What do you value most at this particular moment?
  184. How do you react to stillness? Can you be alone with yourself and still be comfortable in your own skin?
  185. What relationship would like to work on this week? List seven things you can do to improve it (one for each day) and how can you put it into action. Follow up journaling with your action and outcome.
  186. List ten simple short goals for this month.
  187. How did your parents affect your view of religion?
  188. How does your personal belief system differ from your religion?
  189. Would you die for your religion? Kill for it?
  190. What is the main goal of your religion?
  191. What don't you like about your religion?
  192. What does your religion ask of you?
  193. What do you ask of your religion?
  194. What about your religion or belief system sustains you from the day to day?
  195. Have you practised other religions? What? Why?
  196. Who are the religious people that have touched your life?
  197. Has someone else's religion affected your opinion of them?
  198. Do you think your religion has affected others view of you?
  199. What are the qualities of a perfect religion?
  200. What are some of your religion's prestigious holidays?
  201. What are the little white lies you've committed to avoid your religion?
  202. If you had the last dollar in your hand that you would ever have what would you spend it on.
  203. Five acts you feel guilty about.
  204. Write a memory about a hot and sticky day.
  205. Who would you like to talk to today? Dead or alive.
  206. Journal about a road not travelled.
  207. How you liked to spend time with grandparents.
  208. A favorite story a grandparent told about their childhood / growing up.
  209. What do you like about being a grandparent?
  210. Ten things that you look forward to when you get old?
  211. Ten things that scare you about getting old?
  212. Every have blisters on your...
  213. I once broke my...
  214. I've always wanted to try...
  215. Once I was locked in a...
  216. The love the smell of freshly picked...
  217. The smell of fresh apple pie reminds me of a time when...
  218. The possibility of life on other planets...
  219. I'm most at peace when...
  220. I would never touch a...
  221. Life is...
  222. Death is...
  223. Happiness is...
  224. Regret is...
  225. Solitude is...
  226. Success is...
  227. Forgiveness is...
  228. Anger is...
  229. Children are...
  230. Relationships should...
  231. Five things I love about relationships...
  232. Five things I should give away but won't...
  233. If I could nap in the afternoon...
  234. My idea work day would include...
  235. Five Ways To Stay Alive When the World has Succumbed to Zombies
  236. Five situations I would literally kill someone over...
  237. Five Things I've Forgiven People For and Why.
  238. Five Things that Tickle My Funny Bone
  239. My favorite quote this week is...
  240. I'm reading ??? right now because...
  241. Journal about an unusual place you have had sex (or would like to have sex).
  242. Saddle or bare back?
  243. Jeans or Sweatpants?
  244. Edward or Jacob?
  245. Lestat or Louis?
  246. Apples or Oranges?
  247. Contacts or glasses?
  248. Lake or Ocean?
  249. Blue eyes or brown eyes?
  250. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
  251. Journal about your favorite Christmas. Or your least favorite. Or both.
  252. What was the best Christmas present you ever received.
  253. What are your favorite Christmas traditions.
  254. What is your earliest Christmas memory.
  255. What Christmas traditions do you hope your children will carry on after you are gone?
  256. When did you stop believing in Santa Claus and why?
  257. Do you go to church on Christmas? Why or why not?
  258. How would you spend your ideal Christmas?
  259. What do you really want for Christmas that you haven't told anyone but hope you get?
  260. What are your thoughts on spending and the holidays?
  261. Journal about whether you will see space in your lifetime. Will your children.
  262. What are your thoughts on space exploration?
  263. What is your favorite star constellation and why?
  264. Do you remember the first time you learned about constellations? Do you remember how to find any?
  265. Journal about your history of acne? Include any treatments you use(d).
  266. Have you ever been involved in a fire? Know someone who has?
  267. What would scare you more? Death by drowning or death by smoke inhalation (fire).
  268. My favorite swear word is... but the one I use most is... Journal your history of using swear words from the first time your remember using to your current use.
  269. If you had a huge wall in your bedroom that needed to be painted, what color would you paint it and why?
  270. What piece of technology couldn't you live without? Give at least 10 reasons why.
  271. I really get annoyed when...
  272. I tend to procrastinate when...
  273. When you ask for an opinion so you really want it?
  274. Ten ways I show those I love I care are...
  275. What did you dream about last night?
  276. Could you live without today's current technologies? Computers, phones, televisions, microwaves etc.
  277. If you were going to lose your memory because of weird disease but could keep ten which would they be?
  278. Three things you are glad you tried but will never do again because...
  279. List 30 things (no people) that make you feel happy.
  280. List 30 people that make you feel happy.
  281. Favorite desserts as a child? What did your mother make you? Your grandmother? Do you still have the recipes? What's your child's favorite recipes. Write them all down on cards and pass them along.
  282. The kiss you miss.
  283. The kiss you still think about.
  284. Kissing the opposite sex.
  285. Dog kisses.
  286. Baby kisses.
  287. Grandparent kisses.
  288. Taboo kisses
  289. How are you a rebel?
  290. Your memories of the hula hoop.
  291. Your memories of roller skating.
  292. My top ten all time favorite television shows. This can be broken up into "as a kid" and "as an adult".
  293. What a crazy person looks like and do you qualify or do you know someone who does. In other words, have you ever met a crazy person?
  294. What era would you have liked to have lived in. Include at least five things from that era you like and why you think you would have fit in.
  295. Flats or high heels?
  296. Tights or panty hose?
  297. Jeans or suspenders?
  298. Have you ever been proposed to? Describe the event from beginning to end and include your feelings and any other sensations.
  299. Is there someone in your family that embarrasses you?
  300. Do you think you embarrass your family?
  301. What habits by other people make your nervous.
  302. Have you ever felt exploited sexually or otherwise?
  303. Have you ever exploited someone else sexually or otherwise?
  304. What's the difference between sexual assault and rape?
  305. Have any of your friends ever been raped?
  306. "The most beautiful adventures are not those we go to seek." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
  307. Have you ever seen a fairy?
  308. Have you ever been on a 4 seater plane? Journal the experience from an emotional point of view like it was the first time.
  309. Are you addicted to your cell phone?
  310. Do you like to socialize?
  311. Are you good in crowed rooms?
  312. Journal about a book you read as a group in grade school.
  313. Manicures and Pedicures...
  314. Journal the history of your period from your childhood until present.
  315. Journal about your coping skills.
  316. Describe your ideal working environment? Do you have it now? Why or why not?
  317. Describe your ideal working attire? Do you have it now? Why or why not?
  318. At what age do you want to retire? Will you actually be able to retire at that age? How?
  319. Will you still work when you retire from your current job?
  320. Have you ever been ripped (conned) by someone? Describe the circumstances leading up to your discovery of the rip off.
  321. Have you ever fired a gun? Describe the experience including any feelings you felt.
  322. What was the worst thing you ever saw? Why didn't you look away? How often do you think about it?
  323. If someone you loved was dealt a semi-mortal injury what would you do? In other words would you freeze or do what needed to be done -- dress wound, call for help etc.
  324. Who are three people you find humorous? What makes them funny? How would you describe your sense of humor?
  325. What is the most prominent color in your wardrobe?
  326. Write your obituary.
  327. Write a fictional diary for a week... from the perspective of a porn star. In the last entry end with, "April Fools!"
  328. Write about someone you saw when you were out today. It doesn't have to be anyone you know. Try to include something nice.
  329. What is your favorite sandwich and how must it be made to make it perfect?
  330. What hurts today?
  331. What feels good today?
  332. On top or on the bottom?
  333. Wine or Beer?
  334. What makes you tolerate other people's eccentricities?
  335. List 50 fun things you like to do.
  336. The chicken recipe ever is...
  337. Winnie-the-Pooh is...
  338. Three wishes I have today are...
  339. The top three things you most fear happening to your child are...
  340. Do you like chocolate Easter rabbits?
  341. Is Easter an important holiday for you?
  342. Do you like Easter egg hunts?
  343. Do you decorate eggs?
  344. Who do you think would make the best World Ruler?
  345. Have you settled for someone else?
  346. List ten things you have in your purse and why it is absolutely necessary that you carry them around with you every day.
  347. Do you like walking in the rain?
  348. What parts of spring do you enjoy the most?
  349. Do you care about the latest Royal wedding?
  350. Do you hang your own pictures or get someone to hang them for you? Why?
  351. 10 Things I'd Do if I Were Rich-I like dogs because...
  352. I like cats because...
  353. The most interesting person that I have never met is...
  354. I would like to learn how to...
  355. My morning routine consists of...
  356. My sanctuary is...
  357. The graffiti in our neighborhood makes me...
  358. Ten things I love about my friend...
  359. When I look in the mirror I see...
  360. When I hear someone telling a racist joke it makes me...
  361. I love vampire movies because...
  362. 10 Places I Would Like to Visit Before I Die.
  363. I think gun registration will...
  364. I often think that ____ will make me crazy.
  365. Would you sacrifice your life to save humanity.

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