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Some Journaling Prompts


Write a list of five to ten journaling prompts of your own that you can use from time to time.

Or ask a friend to suggest some additional prompts for you to use. Make the alphabet your friend. Challenge yourself to put downpour thoughts entry by entry with titles that start, with each letter of the alphabet for 26 continuous entries. Or challenge yourself to start each entry itself for 26 days with words that begin with the alphabet's letters in order. Or write 26meditations, one each on each letter of the alphabet.

After you read books, write reviews of them in your journal. Go to library online catalogs and investigate a subject and writer. Search for some of the books. Write about your search. Write about your creative writing class, your writers' group, your reaction to a writer you are reading. Turn on the radio or TV for twenty seconds. Write about what you heard.

Invent journal entries your friends or relatives or bosses might write. If you are a fiction writer, invent journal entries your characters might write. Invent a persona for your journal -- a character who is employed as a journal writer for you, whose job it is to make entries on schedule you propose, someone whose creativity in dreaming up new ways to approach the genre will be rewarded. Write the job description in your journal. Write the interview with the job applicant. Assign this persona a wardrobe, a history, a reason why he or she wants this job. Write your new employee's entries. Let him or her react to the world and the people around him other.

Use the journal to write whatever it is you want to write! There’s no wrong way to keep a journal; it is for your eyes only or for the eyes of exactly who you want to see it. However you do it, you will probably come to an understanding as the poet does in Lydia Davis' novel, The End of the Story(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1995). She considers a title for her collection of material and thinks: The best possibility may be MATERIAL -- TO BE USED, which does not go as far as to say that it is ready but only that in someway it will be used, though it does not have to be used, even if it is good enough (there’s that judgment again!).

If you look at journal material the way other people do, keeping a journal becomes the best kind of inventory --always there and never judged. It might need some dusting off, but that is part of the pleasure for a writer who reaches into old material and begins to use it for essays, poems, articles and stories.

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