How to Write a Journal
Journal writing has been a very healing activity for many people. Research shows that people who have experienced traumatic or difficult life events have received therapeutic benefit from regular writing.
For some people knowing how to write a journal seems obvious. They get paper and pen and thoughts come gushing out. Others find it more difficult to know how to get their thoughts focused on paper. This page includes some basic journal writing tips, creative writing tips, and finishes with some journal prompts.
How to write a journal: Basic journal writing tips
- Regularity: Many people find that if they have regularly scheduled time, they will write more often. Writing can be a source of healing, but you need to make space for it to happen.
- Quiet and comfortable space: Obviously you will write more if you are free of interruptions, as well as a place where you can feel free to write whatever you need to write.
- Go for non-stop writing: Try for at least 15 to 20 minutes of non-stop writing. Don’t think too much about it, and don’t worry about spelling or grammar. If you run out of things to write about, just repeat what you have written. The point is that getting things out can be therapeutic. If you just keep going, more will come.
- Writing materials that work for you: A beautifully bound book. A computer. An unlined sketchpad. Experiment until you find the best way for you to write.
- Write deep: Diary writing might sometimes be about recording the events of the day or week. But writing about your deepest thoughts and feelings will have greater therapeutic value. You can write about significant experiences, but also include your reaction to the experiences and what you learned along the way.
- Writing for the long-term: If life gets busy and you don’t journal for a while, don’t give up. Just start in again where you left off.
How to write a journal: Creative Writing Tips
- As you write are you subconsciously (or consciously!) seeking someone’s approval other than your own? If so, you may need to do some writing to examine your need for that person’s approval. Journaling should be about you doing your own healing work, not about winning anyone’s approval.
- As you write are you being true to your own voice? To your own questions? If you are writing about your doubts, fears, and struggles, do not squash those concerns with pat answers you may have heard from others.
- What is it that makes you pound the table with passion during a conversation? Do you remember the last time that you were so caught up in conversation that you lost track of time and the world around you? Write about these things.
How to keep a journal: Journal Prompts
These links for pages throughout the site provide many creative ideas that can help add variety to your journal writing. If you are lacking for inspiration, you will find ideas here to spark your creative process.
Creative writing prompts
provides ten suggestions for journal prompts.
gives suggestions for how to use photos to prompt reflective writing.
gives suggestions for using poetry to spark your journal writing. There are also some ideas for writing your own poetry.
at the bottom of these pages you will find reflection questions to spark journaling.
The Psalms of Lament
provide an interesting structure that can be used to spark your own writing.
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