Journaling Prompts and Techniques
Just try these five easy steps. You’ll be writing!
It’s Easy to W.R.I.T.E.
W- What do you want to write about? What’s going on? How do you feel? What are you thinking about? What do you want? Name it.
R- Review or reflect on it. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths. Focus. You can start with “I feel…” or “I want…” or “I think…” or “Today….” or “Right now…” or “In this moment…”
I- Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Start writing and keep writing. Follow the pen/keyboard. If you get stuck or run out of juice, close your eyes and re-center yourself. Re-read what you’ve already written and continue writing.
T- Time yourself. Write for 5-15 minutes. Write the start time and the projected end time at the top of the page. If you have an alarm/timer on your PDA or cell phone, set it.
E- Exit smart by re-reading what you’ve written and reflecting on it in a sentence or two: “As I read this, I notice—” or “I’m aware of—” or “I feel—”. Note any action steps to take.
In summary….it’s easy to W.R.I.T.E. !
W hat topic?
T ime yourself
E xit smart
By Kathleen Adams
Originally posted at Journal Therapy
Why does ____ drive me crazy? Journal on and see what the write answer is!
He said, "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that." What would (or wouldn't) you do for love? Write away.
Tired? Frustrated? What's the deal? Well, start journaling with "Today, I don't feel like writing because..."
What's your favorite toy? Write about it.
Start with "What's on my mind right now?" Write, without taking your pen from the page, until you've purged your thoughts.
Pick your favorite four-letter "F" word, like Fate, Fear, Feel, Food, Find, Fuel or... Write that word down after you've dated the page, then see what your Journal has to say.
"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." - Anna Quindlen. Write about this.
"Life isn't about what you have; it's about what you have to give" - Oprah What is the best gift you ever gave?
Pick a person (that includes you!) and write him/her a letter extolling his or her virtues and expressing your gratitude for what s/he brings to the world.
Our body is a wonderland, but we treat it like a garbage can quite often, don't we? When you have a pain, notice how you may automatically reach for the pill bottle. With your current pain, reach for your journal before the pain pill, and diagnose what your thoughts and feelings have to do with the message your body's sending you.
What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Make a TA DA List. Note your uniqueness, your talents, your mahvelousness dahling! Be sure you have enough journal pages. This will be a looong list!
What one word describes how you're feeling today? Look up its definition in your journal.
"There are two kinds of winning: (a) beating the other guy, and (b) getting what you want. People confuse the two - but there is nothing to confuse. The better choice is getting what you want." - Matthew R. Versaggi. What is your experience?
Pick a quote you disagree with and write about why you disagree and what you'd say instead.
When you have an argument with someone or are upset with someone, write a letter to him/her, letting out all the anger inside out through your pen. Then, fold the letter into the journal (or it can be written directly into the journal). A week later, see how much calmer you are.
Paste a picture in your journal and write about it. Write down the words that you see, hear, smell, touch and taste from it. Write about why you chose it, what it means to you.
What have you learned in therapy? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite part? Write or draw a picture to show a special memory or lesson you want to take with you from therapy.
14 Writing Techniques for Your Journal
1. Sentence Stem. A sentence-completion process. Fill in the blank with a word or phrase. May be very universal (Right now I feel———-) or highly customized to an individual’s immediate question, problem or interest.
2. Five-Minute Sprint. A timed writing process designed to bring focus and intensity in short bursts. Excellent for those who are resistant or aversive to journal writing, or who are uncertain about how to start, or who state they do not have time to write journals.
3. Inventory. An assessment of life balance in major areas of living (health, family, home, work, spiritual/religious, emotional well-being, etc.) Gives a quick picture of which life areas might need attention.
4. Structured Write. A series of Sentence Stems grouped and sequenced to reveal consistently deepening layers of information and awareness.
5. Clustering. Visual free-association from a central word or phrase. Lines and circles connect key thoughts and associations to the central core. Work quickly to maximize results. A brief writing to synthesize findings may follow.
6. Lists of 100. A list of 100 items, many of which will probably be repetitions, on a predetermined theme or topic. Repetition is an important part of the process. Topics can be about any current issue (for example: 100 Things I’m Sad About; 100 Things I Need or Want to Do; 100 Places I Would Like to See). At the end of the list, group the responses into themes and synthesize the information.
7. Alphapoem. Write the alphabet, A-Z, or any collection of letters, vertically down the side of a page. Then write a poem in which each successive line begins with the next letter. Excellent for groups as it promotes a high level of participation and sharing. Adolescents and reluctant writers respond well.
8. Captured Moments. Vignettes capturing the sensations of a particularly meaningful or emotional experience. Written from the senses with strong descriptors. Captured Moments of beauty, joy, blessing, calm can add balance, hope and perspective to a challenging time.
9. Unsent Letters. A metaphoric communication to another that is written with the specific intention that it will not be shared.
10. Character Sketch. A written portrait of another person or of an aspect of the self. Can also be written about emotions by personifying an emotion and giving it a characterization – an appearance, a style of dress, a personality and temperament.
11. Dialogue. A metaphoric conversation written in two voices. Anyone or anything is an appropriate dialogue partner. There is no constriction by time, space, physical reality or literal voice.
12. Perspectives. An alteration in point of view that provides a different perspective on an event or situation.
13. Springboard. A free-write with a prompt. Starting a free-write with the smallest structure of a question, thought or topic can focus and frame the writing session.
14. Free Writing. Unboundaried, unstructured, unpaced narrative writing. Useful for creative flow or spontaneous writing sessions. Can be structured by adding a time limit or page limit
By Kathleen Adams
Originally posted at Journal Therapy