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September 12, 2014

The Prompted Life: 15 Ways to Jumpstart Your Journal and Enrich Your Life. ~ Andrea Leda Wilborn

Source: Luigi Anzivino at flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ilmungo/43496328/

Keeping a journal certainly isn’t a new idea, or even a trendy one, but journals are powerful.

They are a snapshot of our lives and they help us explore it at the same time.

Journal writing is so much more than record keeping or a diary entry. It is full of mindfulness, reflection, and exploration. It may just be the safest place on Earth for our stories, experiences and our voices to be heard. It’s also a way for us to hear and to really listen to our own hearts and minds.

I’ve kept journals since I was 14 years old. Back then, my journals were more about who I had a crush on than life introspection, but I’m grateful I began such a wonderful practice at a young age.

Since then, my journals have gone on adventures with me across the world. Journaling has helped me carve out new careers, steered me through spiritual awakenings, kindle and rekindle love, grieve loss, and explore new places.

There is so much to gain from something as simple as taking pen to paper.

However, many may sit down to a blank journal page and feel totally unsure what the first word should be. Journal writing is actually a creative process, and like most creative processes, it doesn’t always flow.

Here are a few journal writing tips, plus a list of prompts to get you started—

  • First, if you get stuck, try using a timer and only write for 10 minutes. Timed journaling forces you to get started and stop over-thinking what to say. Your writing will flow when there is less time to ponder what to write. Once your pen hits the paper, do your best not to stop, no matter what words come out.
  • Don’t judge or edit your writing.
  • Date your journal entries. You won’t remember when you wrote in your journal without a date. Even if it was a couple days ago, it’s that easy to forget. Dating your entries also allows you to go back and see themes through the seasons or years. Plus it’s fun to have a dated collection of your writing.
  • Finally, have fun with it!

The Ultimate Journal Prompt List has 15 jumping off points for writing. Take one to a blank page and let it take you wherever. Don’t be surprised at how much comes through your pen.

The Ultimate Journal Prompt List:

  1. If I knew I could not fail…
  2. Happiness means…
  3. What I still need to know is…
  4. Forgiveness means…
  5. I believe…
  6. I love myself because…
  7. The adventure I most want to go on is…
  8. If my wise self were here, he or she would say…
  9. I am grateful for…
  10. What’s missing is…
  11. What I want now more than ever is…
  12. Closure looks like…
  13. If I took care of myself I would…
  14. The change I’m ready to make is…
  15. What comes next is…

As well as we think we know ourselves, our journal can show us more. Enjoy creating a journal practice and make it your own. My hope is that it takes you on many adventures!

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Apprentice Editor: Karissa Kneeland / Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Luigi Anzivino at flickr

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Andrea Leda Wilborn