As we’re fresh into the new year, but past all the busy-ness of new year’s celebrations, I thought I would share a few journaling prompts for those of you interested in getting back into daily writing, or looking for some inspiration to get the ink flowing.
You can use these however you like – print this out, and stick it in your journal for a rainy day, cut out the prompts you like and glue them onto a page, type out a response into an email to a friend or write it in a letter.
The only piece of advice I have to writing regularly is that instead of focusing on “the best” ideas or “most interesting” insights, focus on quantity, like a number of pages or writing for a certain amount of time. This is counter-intuitive, since no one sets out to write nonsense, but if you just fill up a page without worrying about saying dumb stuff, you never know what gems might come up. The more dumb stuff you come up with, the more you might find a good idea or two.
Here we go:
When I look back in 2020, this is what I will be glad to have started today.
If it’s going to the gym once a week, and then I will have gone to the gym 52 times in a year. …Or if it’s picked up a correspondence with an old friend, or begun going to your local library every Thursday evening, or started a notebook keeping track of recipes you’ve tried, or started a blog and posted every two weeks. You get the drift.
If I could do one thing for myself, once a week, every week this year, it would be this:
Describe in detail all the steps you would take, being as descriptive as possible. What would you wear? What route would you take? What would you get to eat? What would the weather be like? What would you hear in the air?
– a hot bath with a locked bathroom door
– an hour at neighbourhood cafe with a book
– a walk to the dog park with the dog
– an excellent chocolate treat from a local specialty chocolate maker
– seeing a movie
If once a week isn’t doing it for you, maybe once a month, or try something smaller. You’re not actually committing to doing these things, you’re just dreaming. And who knows what might come of it.
Write a description of your bedtime routine, from what you do in the bathroom to all the sensory details of how your sheets feel when you crawl in.
How do you feel about your sleep routine? How much sleep you get?
How much sleep did you get five years ago? Ten? When you were in school?
In any case, I’ve titled this blog post January Writing Prompts because, perhaps (ho ho ho) I will try and do these once a month. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, leave a comment or send an email if you have any requests.
For some extra reading, here are a few links.
How to Keep a Journal – The Paris Review
A Gift to the Future: In Defense of Keeping a Journal – The Millions
Getting Started with Daily Journaling – an old blog post