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.