Use these journaling prompts to unlock your inner writer (and overcome writer’s block)

When you are trying to write getting any words down on the page can feel like a real challenge. This is where journaling prompts can help. Many people enjoy journaling and there are a lot of benefits to journaling regularly.  Sitting down regularly and journaling can set up a writing habit that is sustainable. 

I wrote more about the benefits of journaling here and the different types of journaling here.

But journaling is not always easy. Even if we are only writing about ourselves. This is why I have come up with this list of journaling prompts to help you. 

These journaling prompts are not designed to help you think of story ideas (although that might happen). They are to help you learn more about your self as a writer. In answering these journaling prompts you will be able to understand some of your biases better.

For example, one of my biases is that to take myself seriously as a writer I need to write in a garret/attic by candlelight. I’m not sure exactly where that idea came from but it also fits the narrative of the writer suffering for their art. It was also limiting where I thought I could write and be creative.

Once I identified my limited thinking, I was in a better position to challenge it and change it. It’s still a work in progress but I’m getting there. Now, I’m expanding my thinking about what I need to write and be creative. 

I use journaling to help me uncover areas where my thoughts are holding me back. When I get stuck with my writing it is because my mindset is holding me back. So now, part of process is to use journaling prompts to figure out the root cause of my blockage.

Here are ideas and prompts to help you with your journaling. Some are general and some are specific to the process of writing and creating. 

The idea of these prompts is to get you thinking about your own writing process. How do you previous experiences affect your current writing? Are you trying to meet other people’s expectations? Do you know what you really want your writing to be for you?

Getting clear on some of these questions will hopefully give you clarity and reduce your stress about your writing.

Journaling prompts for when writing is easy and fun. 

  • How do you feel about your writing?
  • What happened during your day to help your writing?

It would be fantastic if writing was always good. So, knowing when it felt good can increase our chances of having more amazing writing sessions. Keeping track of the easy writing sessions can also motivate us during the harder writing sessions. It can give us a goal to work towards.

Journaling prompts for when writing is hard. 

  • How do you feel about writing today?
  • What are you using as a measurement of success?
  • Is this possible to achieve today?
  • If you change your parameters for success does this make it easier to write?
  • What is outside of your control right now?
  • What can you change?

It is not always possible to avoid writing. In fact, writing through the bad days will improve our skill as writers and make us more resilient. There is a lot to gain by trying to write as much as possible. But there is a helpful way of ‘pushing’ and challenging ourselves and an unhelpful way.

Acknowledging that we are struggling and then adjusting our expectations can help us to achieve our goals. Criticising our efforts and bullying ourselves will make it harder to write on the next ‘bad’ day. 

These journaling prompts are not designed to prevent the hard days. That is outside of our control. I created these journaling prompts to help you change what we are in control of. We can always change how we think and use our thoughts to make the most of a bad situation. 

Journaling Prompts for how you see yourself as a writer/ Looking at the big picture.

  • Why do you want to write?
  • How do you want to feel when you are writing?
  • What do you like to write about?
  • Do you want other people to read your writing?
  • How do you want people to feel when they are reading your writing?
  • What writer(s) inspire you to start writing?
  • Where do you find inspiration?
  • When do you feel most inspired?
  • What does your ideal writing day look like?
  • How long would your ideal writing session be?
  • What would you achieve during your ideal writing session?

If you are feeling unsatisfied with your writing it could be that your image of what a writer ‘should’ be is different to how you are writing at the moment. 

By using these journaling prompts you will be able to understand what you want from your writing. Earlier, I shared that my internal image of a writer is of a person hunched over a desk in an attic. I live in a dormer house so I was able to create a writing space under a sloping roof. I positioned the desk to create a cosy nook. Now, I have a welcoming writing space that matches my internal image of what a writer ‘should’ be. It creates an extra level of satisfaction and joy with my writing.

Journaling prompts for looking back over your writing.

  • When did you feel the worst about your writing?
  • What happened?
  • How did you get past it?
  • When did you feel the best about your writing?
  • What happened?
  • Can you recreate it?

Reading back over our writing can be tortuously difficult. But it is necessary if we ever want to finish any writing project. These journaling prompts are to help you review your writing with a focus. If you have used the other journaling prompts then you are ready to be more understanding of the writing you produce on a ‘bad’ writing day. 

These journaling prompts are also to help you develop your editing mindset. So, when you hit a moment of imposter syndrome or perfectionism you know to include it as part of your process instead of becoming blocked completely. 

Action Steps for how to use these journaling prompts to unlock your inner writer

Read over the questions. 

Pick out one that gets you thinking. Find a journaling prompt that will help with writer’s block, any fears or goals about writing that you have.

Write 3 paragraphs on your answer to that question. 

More help with your writing

How to use other writer’s routines as inspiration for your own

12 Quotes to Inspire You to Write

How to find your writing niche

How to get the first words onto the page