Journal Prompts

Journal Prompts
When sitting down to write in your journal it can be hard to know where to start. You psych yourself up to write, sit down with your journal and then stare blankly at the page. I know I have wasted a lot of time doing this. So I have developed a list of journal prompts to overcome the journal block!

 

Daydreams:
  • Describe your dream: partner, job, house, holiday.
  • If you were to organize a dream party whom would you invite and why?
  • What superhero/magical power would you like to have? Why? What would you use it for? Good/evil?
  • If you had 3 wishes, what would they be? Why?
  • If you were to win the lottery what would you do with the money?
Memories:
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • What is your most embarrassing moment?
  • What’s something you were afraid of as a child, or are still afraid of now?
  • What has been the most difficult thing you have done or decision you have made?
  • Who is someone you’ve lost? What are some of your memories about that person?
  • Describe your teachers at school/university.
  • Describe your work colleagues.
  • Describe your best childhood friend and your relationship with this person then and now.
  • What are your favourite or least favourite memories about holidays?

 

Write about your first:

  • Day of school/high school/university
  • Crush/partner
  • Best friend
  • Car
  • Home
  • Pet
  • Job
  • Child
Milestones:
  • Graduation
  • License
  • Wedding or divorce
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Job or career change, retirement
All about you:
  • What is your favourite place, food, movie, book, song, colour, animal, season, flower, and why?
  • What kind of day are you having, and why?
  • What do you like to do, and why? How does it make you feel?
  • Describe your happy place.
  • What is your relationship with your family?
  • If you have brothers or sisters, how are you similar to them or different from them?
  • What are your views on religion or politics?

There are so many more journal prompts out there. Try typing it into google and seeing what pops up!

119 Journal Prompts for your Journal Jar – Marelisa Fabrega

Journal Writing Prompts – Penzu

 

The Art of Journaling

 

The Art of Journaling

I had never been one to keep a journal, and the few times I attempted, the entries were spasmodic and few between. The closest I came to consistent journaling was a book my best friends and I kept back in high school of letters we wrote to each other. It was very cathartic and maybe one day some of those letters will form a bestseller! But I never thought of myself as the type of person who kept a journal.

Then I read some articles about how journaling can be a very useful tool for writers. The premise of the articles was that journaling is a great way to improve your writing, as well as a great warm-up activity that stimulates ideas and gets the creative juices flowing.

One article I found that inspired me to keep a journal “What is a Journal and Why Keep One?” on the Creative Writing Now website. The article also has some useful links to other pages about journaling, in particular how to keep a creative journal, and some great journal prompts.

Seeing as I have knuckled down and become serious about my writing I thought I should give it a try. What could it hurt? Since then I have been writing in a journal almost everyday. Despite my initial hesitation it has really helped to get all the chaos out of my head and onto paper. It may not make sense to anyone else, but no one else has to read it! It makes sense to me, and it has definitely helped to inspire and stimulate thoughts and ideas for current and future projects.

In my recent experience of journaling I have found that it is not only therapeutic but a great place to record all those snippets of scenes, or vague ideas for writing projects that seem to float through your mind at random times. I’m sure you know how frustrating it is when you are staring at a blank page, that great idea eluding you because you cannot fully remember it. If only you kept a journal, you could have jotted the idea down and come back to it when you had the time to bash out the details!

It is also great in the case of writers block. I read back over my entries and find inspiration. I have a colour code system where I highlight certain things in my journal so when I am flipping through for ideas to do with my writing projects I just look for that colour, as opposed to having to read every single entry. This may be a little nerdy and too much like a control-freak for you, but it works for me! And that’s the point of any writing exercise, to adapt and change it to suit your needs and style.

Your journal can be anything from a simple notepad to an app on your computer. It can be as dull or as fancy as you like. It doesn’t matter what or how you choose to journal, the point of it is to write everyday, or as often as you can. Try work it into part of your routine, whether it’s just before you sit down to work on your current project or just before you go to bed. Find what works best for you. I have a set time before bed each night where I will write in my journal. I use this time to reflect on the events of the day and how my writing is progressing. However my journal is never far from my side these days as I have learnt to jot down those fleeting thoughts and ideas as they enter my head. I know some people who scribble their ideas on scraps of paper or napkins (whatever is handy at the time) and later stick these into their journal. Once again, it is about finding the habit and technique that suits you.

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Coffee and Journal, the simple things in life!

 

Journal Ideas.

If the idea of keeping a “dear diary” journal doesn’t appeal to you, there are many other ways to journal that still achieve the same goal of establishing the healthy habit of writing every day. We all know that the more you write, the better your writing becomes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. People watch. You can use people who are already in your life, or take your journal to a café, a bookshop, a hotel lobby, anywhere you go where there are people. Make notes about the people you see from their physical appearance, the sound of their voices and laughter, to their body language and the way they relate to people and the environment around them. Use your imagination to come up with their back-story. These character descriptions could very well kick-start your next story, provide a new character or even revamp a character in your current book.
  2. Listen to all the conversations happening around you. To family and friends, strangers on the train or in the café. Listen to the unique rhythms and cadence that make up their speech, the words they use, the pauses and the tones. This helps you learn how to capture different voices that will provide added depth to your writing. And you may even overhear an interesting conversation that will inspire your next story!
  3. Take a walk or an excursion. Take a walk outside and describe what you see. Not just the sites, but also the sounds, smell and feel of the walk. You can also take an excursion to a place you need to describe in your book, like a movie theatre or hospital. Write down the details, no matter how big or small that make up the place. And once again don’t just focus on what you can see but use all of your senses to help add depth and authenticity to your writing.
  4. Use real-life stories. Have you ever heard or read a story in the news and wondered what exactly lead to that event? Use that as inspiration in your journal. What is the story of the people involved, what led to the event; what where they thinking and feeling; what will happen next?
  5. Free-write. Set your timer, 5 minutes should be sufficient, and keep writing for that length of time. Don’t stop. If you can’t think of anything to write, then write that you can’t think of anything to write. You can keep writing the same thing over and over again until something else comes to mind. Do not stop to edit, judge or correct. The point is to warm your “creative muscle” up and get the words flowing, to limber your mind!
  6. Try different points of view. This could be describing the same scene from many different points of view (first person, third person, omniscient etc). Or you could describe the world around you from the point of view of a child, or animal, or object. For example, how would a cat describe your living room? How would a cat describe you in the living room? What parts of the room would attract the cat, or would they overlook?
  7. Collect words and expressions. If you hear a word or an expression that you liked jot it down in your journal. Research the meaning or story behind it; it can be quite an adventure. For example, the old saying “cat got your tongue”. This is used quite commonly and dates back to the middle ages when witches were feared. The story goes that if you spotted a witch her cat would steal your tongue to stop you from telling anyone.
  8. Collect creative writing ideas. This is just simply jotting down ideas that pop into your head for your creative projects. From names of characters, places, events, topics and themes.
  9. Dreams. Wake up in the morning and record what you remember of your dreams. It is surprising what your subconscious dredges up!

There’s so many more prompts out there you can use. There is another list of journal prompts I have compiled simply by googling and asking other writers I know who write in their journal everyday. Feel free to use it!

Journaling everyday helps to foster a healthy writing habit, and can inspire and limber up your mind. It can be as personal as you want, or simply utilizing one or more of the journal topics above. The point is to write whatever you want, as often as you can to keep your creative mind active.

 

 

 

Warm-up your creative muscle!

Warm-Up Your Creative Muscle

You stretch before exercise so why not “stretch” before exerting your creative muscle? Warming up before beginning whatever writing project you are currently working on can assist with flow of thought and productivity. It helps to eliminate distractions and limber up your mind.

It may sound like a bizarre concept, but in many artistic and creative pursuits people warm-up. A singer will perform throat exercises to loosen their vocal cords; an artist will draw rough sketches to warm-up. So what can a writer do?

There are many different writing warm-up exercises you can employ. I have briefly described a few exercises I find useful below; however, you can click on the link to go through to a more detailed explanation of each warm-up. These are just a small sample of what I have found worked for me. There are so many more out there, and you can even develop your own. It is simply a matter of finding what works best for you and your writing style.

  • Journaling – helps to stimulate thoughts and record ideas.
  • Free Writing – write non-stop whatever thoughts fly into your heard for a set amount of time.
  • Word Jar – have a jar full of random words, pick one out and write about it for a certain length of time.
  • Random word link – Pick 3 random words and link them together in a short story or paragraph.

It doesn’t matter which one or how many warm-up activities you choose to use, the point of them is to get the writing process started and the words rolling. Generally speaking, getting started is the most difficult part of writing. It is much easier to carry over this flow of words and thoughts the warm-up exercises produce into your current project when your mind has been engaged in this manner.

To further enhance your writing ability, creativity and productivity form a routine that includes warm-up time. A routine that incorporates a warm-up can help activate the right frame of mind to approach your work. It is easy to use these exercises as another excuse to procrastinate, so be sure to set a time limit on how long you will warm-up for. About 10-20minutes is an ideal length so that you relax into your writing and hopefully when you start your project you wont be staring at a blank screen for long.

HELPFUL SITES

As mentioned earlier there are many different warm-up activities you can perform before (or during) writing. Here is a quick list of sites with some great exercises and ideas for warming up.

10 Writing Warm-Up Exercises – Writers Inkwell

Don’t Ever Write Without This Writer’s Warm-Up – ProBlogger

5 Great Writing Warm Up Activities…And What They Lead To – Adam Simpson

Writing Warm-Ups – WriteShop

Experiment and mix it up until you find a routine and warm-up that suits your needs and writing style. It may seem like a lot of hard work now, but you will be grateful when you settle into it and discover how much time it really saves. You will greatly reduce the amount of time you stare at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to hit. And if you find that at any time during your writing you get stuck, you can use one of the activities to loosen up and get the words flowing again.

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
Jane Yolen

My Journey So Far

MY JOURNEY SO FAR

I moved to the city from the country when I was 18 to study a Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Health Promotion. As much as I miss the country, and try to get home to visit as much as possible, I love the city too. I am sure that eventually my little family and I will make the move back to the country, as that is where our hearts truly lie. But for now, the city is where we want and need to be.

I have now been nursing for many years, which in itself is an adventure. I have met many colorful people, witnessed many happy times, and many sad times, I have been present at the end of life and at the beginning, and I have had the privilege of hearing many amazing life stories. I will continue to nurse whilst pursuing my writing career. You hear so many remarkable stories in hospital that can serve as inspiration and great character development. It is a hard, rewarding job and I hope to use my experiences in nursing to write some great novels and stories.

I am married, with one son whom only recently came into the world. It is true that becoming a parent turns your world upside down! He is the light of our lives, and provides life’s greatest (and hardest) adventure. Next to having a baby I am sure writing and becoming published will feel like a breeze! Ha!

I have always had an avid interest in reading and writing. Some of my earliest memories are of my mum reading to my siblings and I. It was always one of the happiest parts of my day. My parents strongly encouraged this reading habit, and as I grew I found I had a broad taste in genres. Romance, fantasy, sci-fi, non-fiction, autobiographies, mystery, war, crime; anything and everything I could get my hands on. I have found that this hasn’t changed overtime, and I hope to pass this passion onto my children.

I have always dabbled in writing. I am sure I bored my family with all my scribbling I used to make them read. I have never pursued this passion as a career, until now. I have so many ideas for novels that I have plotted and jotted down, but have yet to flesh out. I have now picked one to concentrate on. In the mean time I am entering into writing competitions, and trying my hand at freelance writing. It is hard to know where to start, which I believe is what held me back in the past. That, and also fear of rejection. But if you let fear hold you back then you will never achieve anything. So this is me putting myself out there and hoping to gain the title of published writer and reputable freelance writer.

Here’s to a grand adventure, full of ups and downs, as my life ambition slowly unfolds.

Welcome

WELCOME

The process of writing and becoming published can be long and arduous. This blog and website is a place where you can find ideas; tips and tricks; and tales of my writing adventures. The hope is you will find this a place that reflects your own experiences and to draw inspiration and information for current and future endeavours.

 

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour