Online Academic Resources - Writing

On Keeping a Journal

Keeping a private notebook or journal is an excellent way to…

  • Think
  • Grow awareness
  • Understand yourself and your circumstances
  • Create meaning and possibilities
  • Create a record of your life experiences
  • Practice writing

Process: Take ten or fifteen minutes a day to write freely about whatever you wish.

Journal Writing Prompts: Use a prompt to begin your writing….
(adapted in part from

  1. Right now, I… This works each and every time you sit down to write. It’s always a new “right now.”
  2. A topic for everyday of the month: Write a list of 31 ideas, issues, concerns, people…a list of things you already pay attention to in your life, or you want or need to pay attention to… 31.
  3. On any given day, select an item from your list and begin writing about it.
  4. Think of someone you know who does good work. What qualities does that person show in carrying out that work? Begin writing about them….
  5. Write about an experience that changed a long-held viewpoint or opinion that you had.
  6. Courage. Write about a time when your courage was tested.
  7. Fear. Write about a time when you acted a certain way because of fear.
  8. Joy. Write about something that has recently given you joy.
  9. Kindness. Write about the kindest thing someone did for you OR you did for someone else.
  10. Reflect on the contents of your mind. List thoughts that you think over and over again. Which ones are unproductive and should be cleared out, deleted? Which ones are worth saving?
  11. Write about three things you are confident about.
  12. If it’s true that there is something of divinity in every human being, what does this mean for how we are to treat ourselves and others? Write about what you do, or can do, to honor another’s divinity.
  13. It’s true: we learn the most from the difficult situations in our life—from our mistakes or from difficult circumstances. Write about a difficult time and what you ended up learning that perhaps you wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
  14. Wishes, goals, dreams: what are they? And what are you doing about them? Write about one important goal and your plan for realizing that goal.