1. Pretend you are writing a letter to yourself. This is the most common way to go about journaling. It may feel silly at first but it is the easiest way to identify your thoughts. Eventually you will completely forget how weird it feels when you begin writing things that have been buried for years. Have fun with it. “Dear John, I feel goofy writing to you. I mean I should know what you’re thinking since I AM you … but I have the feeling that I keep a lot from you so here goes nothing … or ... hopefully something! Ha ha!”
2. Do you like magazines? Need to get rid of a pile? Cut out ads, words, sunsets, shells, lakes, moons. Images inspire us and help us tap into an imagination most of us don’t use on a regular basis. Spend twenty minutes just cutting things out that make you feel good. Then choose as many as you like to glue or tape to pages. Add words around the clippings.
3. Get a joke book, a trivia book or a book of prayers and open it up to any page. Write it down in your journal and do some free-associating. Whatever comes to mind. The point is to JUST WRITE. These exercises are about freedom of expression. Maybe today you won’t know what to do but laugh at this suggestion but next week you’ll write a knock-knock joke in your journal and remember a conversation with a cousin about how much you want to swim with sharks.
4. Don’t let your boss catch you daydreaming. Get it out of your head and onto a post it note, stuff it into your pocket or purse and write about it later. When you whip out your journal, write down exactly what you wrote on the scrap of paper or glue it onto the page. Follow the thought. It popped into your noggin for a reason. Trust me on this one!
5. Play the “If I were a ____” game. I have long ago stopped writing angst-filled prose in my journals. I prefer play. Check this out. "If I were a color/car/animal/movie character today, what/which/who would it be and why?" Neat huh?
With practice, you will start coming up with your own prompts. Here’s to a better life through journaling!