Journal Prompts for Dreamers

journal prompts

Dreamy journal prompts.

Where do dreams come from? Many philosophers, psychiatrists, and other experts, as well as everyday people, have made conjectures about the sources of our night visions. But they remain a mystery.

Some dreams are obvious, of course. We’ve all experienced dreams that are clearly relevant to what’s going on in our lives or dreams that are some reflection of the past. Some people claim they’ve dreamed events before they actually happened — precognitive dreams that allow a dreamer to peer into the future.

Some of us remember every single dream we have. A few of us may even take time to jot down our dreams in a dream journal. Others cannot remember any of their dreams and will claim they don’t dream at all. There are those whose dreams are so vivid that they are induced into sleepwalking, and there are those whose dreams carry the essences of their greatest fears — nightmares.

Some dreamers are so attuned to their dreams that they can actually control a dream while they are having it (this is called lucid dreaming). They decide to fly in a dream, and they are off, soaring through the dream-sky. Read more

The Benefits of Journal Writing

journal writing

The creative benefits of journal writing.

Practice makes perfect, right?

That’s exactly why journal writing is essential for writers.

Do all writers keep journals? Of course not.

But most of us have kept journals at some point, and for most of us, journal writing has been instrumental in generating ideas, developing a strong voice, and learning how to flesh thoughts out onto the page.

Journal writing is an excellent way to improve your writing by taking a little time out of each day to hone your skills. It’s perfect for stashing all those creative writing ideas that you don’t have time to develop right now, and journal writing gives you an opportunity to explore your thoughts in greater detail and to access those thoughts that are somewhat elusive. Read more

Writing Tips: Keep a Reading Journal

journal writing

Journal writing and reading go together!

Journal writing is something I’ve done on and off since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to keep a reading journal, but usually I inhale books, leaving little time between chapters to jot down my thoughts and reactions.

And by the time I finish reading, it’s often the wee hours of the night and time to fall asleep, which means I’m far too exhausted to post entries in a reading journal.

Next thing I know, I’m on to the next book without a minute to spare.

But lately I’ve been trying to capture my reading experiences by writing down notes about what I’ve read, and I find it incredibly helpful.

The Benefits of a Reading Journal

Keeping a reading journal:

  • Increases retention
  • Pushes you to contemplate the material you’ve read and study it as a writer while broadening your understanding of the material
  • Provides a time and space for writing practice

Most writers already practice regular journal writing. There’s no reason you can’t start including your reading entries there, or if you like to keep things neatly separated, start a separate reading journal. Use a Word document, launch a blog, crack open a notebook. The important thing is that you record your thoughts and your reactions or observations about what you’ve read.

Creative Writing Ideas and Journal Writing

A reading journal can also help you grow as a writer, because you can note what works and what doesn’t. Which scenes in the novel were compelling? What character traits made you fall in love with the protagonist or loathe the villain?

You can keep notes about all your reading, not just books and novels. Jot down your thoughts after reading a magazine article, news story, or blog post. If you really want to get all-inclusive, you can even include music lyrics, movies, and TV shows. All of these are sources of inspiration.

Even if you don’t want to start a whole new reading journal, try writing down your reaction to whatever you read over the weekend. Look for writing techniques, such as plot twists and brain teasers, and make notes on the writer’s style and voice. See if knowing that you’re going to make notes changes the way you read something, and see if those notes benefit your own writing.

Do you keep a reading journal? Is there another genre of journal writing that you prefer? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.

Journal Prompts to Tickle Your Funny Bone

journal prompts

Journal prompts to make you laugh.

Have you ever tried to write comedy? It’s not easy.

Artists are often regarded as a tortured bunch. From drug-addled rock stars to alcohol-infused writers, we’re all known for madness and melancholy.

But comics form the ranks of some of the most talented artists in the world. The gift of laughter is a rich one, and writing funny material can enrich your work.

After all, art must reflect life and life is a balance of highs and lows. So for today’s journal prompts, we’re going to work on humor.

Journal Prompts

Use these journal prompts to bring a smile — or better yet, a giggle — to someone’s face. Who knows? One of these prompts might lead you to write a hilarious scene for your next short story.

  • Write about your favorite comedy film or TV show. Who’s the funniest character? Is the comedy physical, emotional, or intellectual? Why does it appeal to your personal sense of humor?
  • Think about someone in your life who always gets a giggle out of you. Can you remember some of the funny things that person has said or done, which made you laugh? Write them down.
  • Off-the-wall comedy is silly and ridiculous. How do you feel about slapstick?
  • Think back on some embarrassing moments that you’ve experienced, especially ones that invoked laughter. Write those moments as scenes and infuse them with humor.
  • Many dramas use comedic relief to add balance and realism. Write about how this is done successfully and the positive impact it has on readers.

When you’re writing, don’t forget about humor. Hopefully these journal prompts will help you keep humor in mind, even if you’re writing a dramatic piece or if humor isn’t your specialty.

And always remember, laughter is good medicine! Keep writing.

Did you find these journal prompts helpful? If you use any of these, share your experience by leaving a comment.

Creative Writing Prompts

A Few Favorite Journal Writing Tools and Resources

journal writing

Journal writing tools and resources.

We usually understand a journal to be a place for writing about ourselves, but journals can be used for plenty of other purposes, many of which are especially useful to writers.

I’ve had my share of adventures in journal writing. As a teen, I kept a diary. Later, I had a poetry journal. I tried dream journaling, art journaling, and sometimes I keep a gratitude journal.

I believe journal writing is a huge boon to writers, especially when we’re not working on a specific project or when we’re looking for our next big project.

Today, I’d like to share a few of my favorite journal writing tools and resources.

A Place to Create




It’s been said a million times: If you want to be a writer, you have to write. I would add that if you want to be creative, you have to create. Sitting around and waiting for a big, blockbuster idea won’t do you any good. You’ve got to practice. And keeping a journal is a great way to practice writing and foster creativity every single day.

What I love best about my journal is that there are no rules. It’s my own little creative space. I use it for freewriting, sketching, and writing down my thoughts. I don’t write in my journal every day, but before I started blogging and writing professionally, I was pretty diligent about using my journal for routine writing practice.

I’ve been poking around the web in search of some of the best tools and resources for journaling with an emphasis on creativity and writing. Here’s what I found:

Moleskine Journals

moleskine notebooks

Moleskines are the most popular notebooks for writers and artists. They come in various sizes ranging from pocket-sized to 8 x 10 (inches) and with various paper, including blank or lined pages, thick paper, or regular note paper. There’s a pocket in the back, a placeholder ribbon, and a strap that keeps the journal closed. Moleskines were popular with Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway, so they’ve got solid endorsement. I’ve had one for several years but only recently started using it and discovered that I absolutely love it.

The Artist’s Way

the artists way

This classic book for writers and artists is well known for giving us “morning pages.” It has inspired writers and artists to create on a daily basis. The Artist’s Way has become a staple among all kinds of creatives from filmmakers to crafters. You’re sure to find something to help you establish a writing routine, improve your writing skills, or overcome writer’s block in this book, which includes a twelve-week program packed with activities and exercises that you can do.

Paper Mate Profile Pens

papermate profile pens

I’ve never been into fancy, expensive pens. Frankly, I go through far too many pens to spend a lot of money on them, and we all know how easily pens get lost. I also like to have a range of colors at my disposal. I’ll use a color that matches my mood, or I’ll use colors to create outlines and mind maps that are color coded and easy to navigate. These Paper Mate Profile Pens are the best! They write smoothly, have a nice grip, and are affordable. Plus, you can buy them singly or in a package of assorted colors. They’re also great for doodling and sketching in the margins!

Day One Journal App

day one journal app

One of the great things about technology for writers is that it provides a simple way to create, organize, and store your work. Gone are the days when we filled notebooks with novels and then transcribed them on typewriters. New technology is just as useful for journaling and keeping notes. Day One is a journal app available for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It’s one of the most popular journal apps with features that include password lock, calendar view, photos, and inspirational messages, plus it syncs with iCloud and Dropbox.

Wreck This Journal

wreck this journal

Wreck This Journal unleashes your inner artist and allows you to be creative without fear of failure because the journal is designed to be wrecked. It’s a great way to get your creativity out of the box. As you work your way through the journal, you’ll cut, tear, and thrash the book. You start letting go of constraints and inhibitions, allowing yourself to make mistakes and create poorly crafted prose, giving your creativity the courage it needs to take risks.

A Few More Goodies

  1. I love this: 1000 Journals traveled from hand to hand throughout the world.
  2. Here at Writing Forward, we’ve talked a lot about writing groups, but did you know there are also journal groups? (I didn’t!)
  3. Before Moleskine, this was my favorite journal: The Watson-Guptill Sketchbook. I’ve been using these for well over a decade and they house my most precious journal writing material (freewrites, poems, reflective journals, drawings). They come in various sizes and colors, and they feature hard covers and blank, unlined pages.
  4. Last but not least, this lovely little video explains the art of journaling and the freedom that a journal brings:

People use journals for a variety of purposes: for self-improvement, personal reflection, heritage preservation, creativity, tracking professional progress, and writing practice. Do you keep a journal or use a notebook? How has journal writing helped you? Got any journaling tips or resources to add to this list? Leave a comment, and keep journaling!

Adventures in Writing The Complete Collection

Journal Prompts for the Fearless and Fearful

journal prompts

Journal prompts for facing your fears.

Fears. We all have them, and we all have to face them sooner or later.

Some people are plagued with fears that interfere with their ability to live a normal and healthy life. Others dance around their fears, cleverly avoiding those things that give them a nervous twitch. Still more people simply live day to day with minor, almost meaningless fears that are a source of mild irritation.

But how often do we sit down and ask ourselves what am I truly afraid of and why?

Today’s journal prompts might not get you over your fears, but they will certainly make you more aware of them and how they might be benefiting you or holding you back.

Fear and Courage

It’s important to note that fears are vast and numerous. Some fears seem rather silly, such as fear of tiny spiders. Others are somewhat reasonable, like fear of war or death. And there are many more fears in between — fears that are rational, irrational, dangerous, or helpful.




You could boil all fears down into two types: those that protect us and those that inhibit us.

The fears that protect us keep us safe from danger. When you’re walking alone down a dark street and hear a rustle in some nearby bushes, your fear might prompt you to cross to the other side of the street. Fears like these keep us safe, so we should heed them.

But the other fears — the ones that inhibit us — those are the ones that we can work on eliminating. We can identify them, analyze them, and finally, dismiss them and move past with a brave smile — the smile of victory.

Journal Prompts

Today’s journal prompts ask you to examine your fears. You don’t need to face them (yet). You just need to identify them and ask yourself a few questions about why you’ve acquired them and how they affect your life and your goals.

This exercise might make you a little nervous, depending on how deep your fears run and how willing you are to dig within yourself to unearth the smallest or greatest of your fears.

  1. What are five things that make you nervous or uncomfortable?
  2. What is it about each of those five things that bothers you?
  3. Where does this discomfort come from?
  4. Write down one thing that truly terrifies you. Is it keeping you safe or preventing you from living the life you want?
  5. How likely is it that you will encounter this thing?
  6. Why are you so frightened of this thing?
  7. If you did encounter this thing, what would happen next?

Try to put on a brave face as you work through these journal prompts. Good luck, be brave, and keep writing!

Got any ideas for more journal prompts? Post them in the comments!

Creative Writing Prompts

Artistically Inspired Journal Prompts

journal prompts

Get artistically inspired with these journal prompts.

We, the people of the arts, feed off each other.

A painter is inspired by a song. A musician is inspired by a novel. A photographer is inspired by a sculpture.

So we come full circle by inspiring one another.

Journal prompts are a useful tool for getting inspired. When you want to write but find yourself without any ideas, you might think your muse has gone MIA, but ideas abound. You need only look to the arts, where there is a whole world of inspiration waiting to move you (and your pen).

Journal Prompts Inspired By the Arts

These journal prompts get you thinking about the arts and entertainment from a fresh perspective. Instead of sitting back and taking it in, look for new ideas in the art that you experience. With these prompts, you can enjoy a session of journal writing while thinking about the broader community of artists.




  • Art is all around. You can purchase books packed with images of art. You can visit museums and galleries. You can simply surf the web in search of paintings and sculptures. Choose a piece of art that speaks to you and write about it. Describe the piece. How does it make you feel? What details give it power or make it captivating?
  • Music makes the world go round. Listen to your old favorites or explore some brand new music. Choose a song or album that you have a visceral response to. Maybe it makes you want to dance, laugh, or cry. Write about it. Is it soft and tender? Hard and brash? Hip and groovy? What moves you? The lyrics? The melody? The rhythm?
  • Film is one of the greatest forms of entertainment. The audience gets to sit back and snack on junk food while the movie plays and takes us on a wild ride through someone else’s life. We all have our favorite films. What are yours and why? What do you love most about them? The characters? The plot? The special effects?
  • Literature is a writer’s home. This is where we eat, sleep, and breathe. And where would we writers be today without our predecessors who, through their art, contributed to the literary canon and years of bestseller lists? Which novels or poets inspired you to become a writer? Which authors embody a voice that resonates in your soul? Which genres are you most drawn to?
  • Dance is one of the most under-appreciated art forms. Dancers are stuck somewhere between the arts and sports. But think about this: dancers get out there and do their thing and the only tools they possess are their own bodies. No pens or computers, no cameras, no paintbrushes, and no instruments. You can watch dance performances on TV, in music videos, or simply by searching through YouTube. Watch a few dance performances and then write about them. Discuss how the dance is tied to the music. Make observations about how the dancer brings the choreography to life. Compare dancing to writing. Are there similarities?

Have fun exploring these journal prompts, and keep writing!

Do you use journal prompts for your writing sessions? Do you have any favorite prompts or ideas for prompts? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Creative Writing Prompts

How Keeping a Journal Makes You a Better Writer

keeping a journal

Keeping a journal makes you a better writer.

The more you write, the better your writing becomes. That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact. Experience breeds expertise, so if you write a lot, you’ll become an expert writer.

Writing every day is the best way to acquire lots of experience.

Writers who come to the craft out of passion never have a problem with this. They write every day because they need to write every day. Writing is not a habit, an effort, or an obligation; it’s a necessity.

Other writers struggle with developing a daily writing habit. They start manuscripts, launch blogs, purchase pretty diaries and swear they’re going to make daily entries. Months later, frustrated and fed up, they give up.

When weeks have passed and you haven’t written a single word, when unfinished projects are littering your desk and clogging up your computer’s hard drive, you can give up entirely and take out a lifetime lease on a cubicle in a drab, gray office. Or, you can step back, admit that you have a problem, and make some changes.




Keeping a Journal

One thing sets successful writers apart from unsuccessful writers: commitment. When you’re committed to the work, your chances for success increase exponentially. And one of the easiest, most natural, and creative ways to commit to your own writing and produce better writing over time is keeping a journal.

Writers who are not working at the professional level are juggling their writing projects with full-time jobs, families, school, and a host of other obligations. Writers also get stuck. You’re working on a manuscript and then one day, the ideas stop flowing. You decide to step away for a day or two, and three months later, you’ve practically forgotten all about that book you were writing. In fact, you can’t remember the last time you sat down and actually wrote something.

Journals can be used for many things, but first and foremost, keeping a journal is a solution. Journaling is best known for its artistry and highly recognized for its self-help or vent-and-rant benefits. But few young or new writers realize that a journal is a writer’s most sacred space. It’s a place where you can jot down or flesh out ideas, where you can freewrite or work on writing exercises when you’re blocked, and where you can tackle writing prompts when you’re short on time. It’s a space where you develop better writing skills and learn new techniques through trial and error. And it’s superb for fostering a daily writing habit.

In other words, keeping a journal can make you a better writer. That’s not to say it’s the only way (there are many ways to become a better writer), but it’s a good way.

Inspiration and Productivity

The three biggest barriers to a writer’s success are writer’s block, time management, and procrastination.

Writer’s Block

If you’re working on a big project and writer’s block sets in, a good solution is to take a break and work on something else for a while. Too many writers take “something else” to mean “a different novel.” Instead of breaking from one big project to launch another big project (and ultimately ending up with several unfinished projects), use the break to write in your journal. This gives you time to step away from the project that is stuck and provides a space for you to continue writing (and possibly work through the problems you’re having with your project).

Time Management

Everyone wants to write a book, even people who don’t consider themselves writers and who don’t want to be writers. But who has the time? Aspiring writers often complain that they’d love to take their writing hobby to the next level, but they are too busy. Journal writing is an ideal way to bridge that gap. Keeping a journal provides a time and space where you can explore ideas, develop good writing habits, and sharpen your writing skills, so when there is finally time in your schedule to write that book, you’re ready for it.

Distractions and Procrastination

You can keep a journal on your computer (or you can use an old typewriter, if that kind of thing appeals to you). But most writers use a good, old-fashioned notebook: pen and paper. While we can certainly crank out more words when we type, we are also at risk for the many distractions of the computer and the Internet. When your journal writing sessions are offline, your productivity may increase tenfold because you spend the entire session writing. After all, your journal doesn’t have Twitter or solitaire on it. There are no distractions, so you’re less likely to procrastinate.

The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

The truth is, you don’t have to write every single day to be a professional or published writer. Daily writing is the best practice, but many writers keep a regular, five-day work week. A few writers get by on the binge model, writing heavily for a few months and then not writing at all for a while. But one rule remains firm: those who succeed treat their writing as a job and they commit to it.

Keeping a journal is an ideal way for writers to fulfill that commitment. When you keep a journal, you rid yourself of excuses. You can no longer say that you’re stuck on a plot twist because you can write in your journal until the plot becomes untwisted. In fact, writing in your journal may help you do just that. When you’re short on time, you can always turn to your journal for a quick, ten-minute writing session, even while larger projects are sitting on the back burner. And your journal is distraction-free, so you can stay focused during your journal writing sessions.

Do you have to keep a journal in order to succeed and become a professional or published writer? No, of course not. There are many paths to better writing and journal writing is just one trail on the mountain, but it’s a trail that is entrenched with the footprints of successful writers throughout history who have benefited from keeping journals.

Do you keep a journal? How do you use your journal writing time? How often do you write in your journal? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

10 Core Practices for Better Writing

Journal Writing Ideas: Fusing Art and Words Together

journal writing ideas with artistic flair

Journal writing is an art unto itself.

Journal writing is most definitely an art, but how often do we actively use art in our journals?

We writers are passionate about our journals and notebooks, those sacred spaces where some of our best ideas manifest.

So it makes sense to rig our journals so that they inspire us as much as possible. And what’s more inspiring than art?

Let’s look at some ways we can fuse art with journal writing in order to cultivate inspiration and creativity.

The Art Journal

Artists keep journals just like writers do. But instead of filling their journals with words, artists fill them with images — sketches and paintings. Like writers, artists fill their journal pages with ideas, and they treasure their journals as sacred creative spaces.




What happens when we fuse art and words together, when an image is accompanied by a few lines of text or when a paragraph is accented with an illustration?

Words and images complement each other. And since writing is an art, writing and art can live side by side in your journal, coming together to keep you inspired and motivated.

Fusing Art and Words for More Creative Journal Writing

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So why write a thousand words when you can say it with an image? Save the words for whatever can’t be said with a picture or use words to expand on what an image represents. Next time you sit with your journal, experiment with art and illustration.

Here are some ideas for merging art with your journal writing:

  • When words won’t come, doodle in your journal instead. You don’t have to be a trained or skilled artist to draw symbols and stick figures.
  • Use your journal to sketch pictures of your fictional characters. Again, they can be stick figures. Use colored pencils to shade in their hair, eyes, etc.
  • Start collecting images that inspire you. Pick up postcards that capture your imagination and clip images from magazines, and then paste them into your journal. Use them as prompts and write about what you see.
  • Practice writing descriptions. Tape an image in your journal, then write a full-page description. Does the description you wrote render the image in the reader’s mind? Imagery is an important element in writing, and crafting descriptions will help you hone your imagery skills.
  • Mix journal writing and art within the pages of your notebook. Draw a little, write a little. Let the words run over the pictures and vice versa. Use light-colored markers to create big, bold shapes and then fill the shapes with words.

You can add more art to your journal, too. Jot down your favorite song lyrics. Describe a favorite piece of music. Include your favorite photography. Allow all of the arts to come together by merging journal writing with other creative forms of expression.

And don’t worry about artistry, except when it comes to words. Lots of writers enjoy other arts, but it’s impossible to master them all. Stay focused on writing if that’s your greatest strength, but allow yourself to explore the full potential of your creativity.

Do you have any journal writing tips? Got any writing ideas to add or experiences to share? Leave a comment, and keep writing!

Adventures in Writing The Complete Collection

Creative Writing: Reflective Journaling

reflective journaling

Reflective journaling cultivates personal awareness.

Technically, a journal is a chronological log. Many professionals keep journals, including scientists and ship captains. Their journals are strictly for tracking their professional progress.

A writer’s journal can hold many things: thoughts, ideas, stories, poems, and notes. It can hold dreams and doodles, visions and meditations. Anything that pertains to your creative writing ideas and aspirations can find a home inside your journal.

Today let’s explore an intimate style of journal writing, one in which we write about our own lives: reflective journaling.

Creative Writing Gets Personal

Some personal journals are diaries. A diary is merely an account of one’s daily activities and experiences. In a diary, we record what we did each day.

A reflective journal is similar to a diary in that we document our experiences. However, reflective journaling goes deeper than diary writing; it strives to gain greater understanding of our experiences rather than simply document them.

Reflective journaling is a form of creative writing that allow us to practice self-reflection, self-exploration, and self-improvement, and through reflective journaling, we gain greater awareness through observation, contemplation, and writing. By chronicling and then examining various aspects of our lives, we become more self-aware.

Reflective Journaling

We all have stories to tell. With reflective journaling, you write about your own life, but you’re not locked into daily chronicles that outline your activities or what you had for dinner. You might write about something that happened when you were a small child. You might even write about something that happened to someone else — something you witnessed or have thoughts about that you’d like to explore. Instead of recounting events, you might write exclusively about your inner experiences (thoughts and feelings). Reflective journaling often reveals tests we have endured and lessons we have learned.

The Art of Recalibration (by Kristin Donovan, who is a sisterly spirit but no relation) is a perfect example of reflective journaling in which stories about our lives are interwoven with our ideas about life itself.

Reflective journaling has other practical applications, too. Other forms of creative writing, such as poems and stories, can evolve from reflective journaling. And by striving to better understand ourselves, we may gain greater insight to others, which is highly valuable for fiction writers who need to create complex and realistic characters. The more deeply you understand people and the human condition, the more relatable your characters will be.

Do You Keep a Journal?

I guess I’m a journal slob because my journal has a little bit of everything in it: drawings, personal stories, rants, and reflections. It’s mostly full of free-writes and poetry. I realize that a lot of writers don’t bother with journals at all; they want to focus on the work they intend to publish. But I think journaling is healthy and contributes to a writer’s overall, ongoing growth.

I once read a comment on a blog by a writer who said she didn’t keep a journal because she couldn’t be bothered with writing down the events of each day; I found it curious that she had such a limited view of what a journal could hold. A journal doesn’t have to be any one thing. It can be a diary, but it can also be a place where we write down our ideas, plans, and observations. It can hold thoughts and feelings, but it can also be a place where we doodle and sketch stories and poems.

I’m curious about your journal. Do you keep one? What do you write in it? Is your journal private or public? Is it a spiral-bound notebook or a hardcover sketchbook? Does journaling inspire or inform your other creative writing projects? Have you ever tried reflective journaling? Tell us about your experiences by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

Adventures in Writing The Complete Collection

Warning: Old content
disclaimer