Creative journalling can help us figure out who we are, what we need and what we want. It can help us make better decisions, to focus on the very things that support us in taking compassionate care of ourselves and others. As our thoughts and feelings flow through the ink-filled pages we can not only take control of our emotions but discover a lot about ourselves.
For some, the best way to keep a journal is to write down or represent whatever is passing through their mind, for others using prompts gives them inspiration and a guideline. Even the most experienced journaller might need a helping hand some days.
You could easily write all or some of the prompts below on strips of paper and put them into a large jar, choosing one at random when needed or you could print off the PDF and work your way through them. How you use them is your decision.
Seventeen Journalling Prompts
What is one of your earliest memories? What are the sights, sounds and smells?
What is going well for you at the moment? How are you achieving that?
What is something you regret doing? Why?
What is something you regret not doing? Why?
Think about something you wish you had known 15 years ago. If you could go back and give yourself the advice you needed at the time, how would your life change?
Write about an achievement you are proud of, no matter how small it may seem. How does this make you feel?
I got where I am today because ___
Imagine you have a crystal ball that can give you the answer to one question about your future. What would you ask? What would you hope to see when the mist cleared?
What do you need more of in your life? How will you achieve this?
What are your main coping mechanisms? Are they serving you well?
Salvador Dalí said: “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.” Was he right?
What scares you?
Who would be your perfect dinner guests? Why?
What makes you unique?
I spend too much time on ____
What makes you happy about the place you live?
Tomorrow, I’m finally going to ____
Make lists, using the following ideas and embellish with drawings, images and other visual stimuli:
Five places you’ve enjoyed visiting and what made them so enjoyable.
Five things you’ve done that you thought you could/would never do and how each one made you feel.
Three people you most admire and why.
Your top ten favourite books and what appeals about each one.
Your top ten favourite films and how each of them makes you feel.
Your top ten favourite songs and how many of them remind you of a person? Where are they now?
Five of your long-term goals and how you will achieve them.
Leaf through old magazines and cut out any images that catch your eye. Use individually or collectively as a prompt.
Look through your photographs and choose one to write about.
Create a collage to express yourself and add words and phrases as prompts for extended pieces of writing.
Use song lyrics, lines from a poem or quotes as prompts.
Write a letter to your past/future self.
You may find that some prompts lead you to stray off-topic — sometimes, the best insights come from going off on weird tangents. There is no rule to say that this is not allowed or that you can’t use these prompts to inspire more creative journal entries. The most important thing is to keep journalling.