Journal Writing: Using Writing Prompts

For today’s post I wanted to share some ideas for journal writing prompts.  Using writing prompts is another great way to start the process and can help create focus and provide direction for your writing.  There are several different writing prompts that you can use and I will just share a few of them here.  At the end of this post, I provide some links for online classes available to you which will allow you to explore journal writing at more depth.  The below prompts are taken from the literature found at

Sentence Stems
Sentence stems are good to use if you have trouble knowing where to begin your writing.  You may use some of the following prompts to get started:

  • “Today I feel…”
  • “I would like to focus on…”
  • “My goals for today are”

As you become more comfortable using sentence stems I encourage you to begin creating your own.

Five-Minute Sprint
A 5-minute sprint is a timed exercise.  This is good to use if you have a limited amount of time in your day, but want to do some focused processing.  You can use a sentence stem to start or pick a specific topic or question you may have.  You should then set a timer and write for the 5-minutes on that one topic or question.  When the timer goes off, the exercise is complete.

Structured Write
A structured write is when you group several sentence stems together. This process can be used to help you uncover more layers of a particular experience.  One way to structure this exercise could be ask yourself what topic or theme you would like to explore.  Based on this, create different sentence stems that would allow you to uncover more details about this experience.  Set a time limit for yourself of maybe 10-15 minute taking 1-2 minutes on each sentence stem.

Lists can be another great way to get started with journal writing.  Instead of focusing on  writing in sentence or paragraph form, you can use single words or short phrases.  The following are some topic ideas for generating lists:

  • “Things I’m Grateful for”
  • “Things I would like to learn”
  • “Reasons I feel hopeful”

For even more information about journal writing and its therapeutic benefits, please go to  If you are interested in exploring art journaling, which incorporates writing and imagery,  please check out the links below for some online classes:

As always, your comments are always welcome, if you would like to share your experience about using any of the above or your own writing prompts.

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