This post is a list of journal prompts and journal ideas for beginners.
Consider this journaling 101 because we’re about to get into some journaling ideas and concepts that will shape your entire journaling journey.
What intimidates you about journaling?
For me, it was the fear that I didn’t have the discipline to write something deep and profound every single day (which in my mind is what I thought journaling needed to be).
Maybe you have the same concern?
Or maybe you’re worried that you don’t have enough time to spare. Or maybe you don’t know what to start writing about.
Or perhaps you’re a new bullet journal-er and you’re finding the whole system pretty overwhelming.
It could even be that the crisp blank pages of your new beautiful notebook are intimidating you! You’re thinking to yourself, how could I possibly tarnish this gorgeous book with my imperfect handwriting and half-formed thoughts!?
If you have any thoughts like the above, don’t worry! I’ve got some tips that will ease you into the process and make this journaling journey a lot less scary.
related : 12 different types of journals to keep
How to Journal
When You’re Not Sure Where to Start
The benefits of journaling are plentiful. Keeping a journal helps you to become more self aware, organize complex and confusing emotions, express creativity, clear up your thoughts and track your progress- all in a safe and private environment.
We all need that.
Unfortunately, when you first start, it can be intimidating to figure out exactly how to do a daily journal and reap all those rewards.
Freewriting is “freeing” for some, but for others, it’s intimidating. Journal prompts are perfect for beginners because it gives them a place to start and a direction to go in.
I’ve come up with these journaling ideas for beginners, to help you get started.
Keep in mind that these are journaling examples. Which means that if the prompt doesn’t exactly apply to you, you don’t necessarily have to skip it; you can tweak it and make it applicable to your life. These prompts should also act as inspiration to help you come up with even more things to write about.
65 Beginner Ideas for What to Write in Your Journal
When you need inspiration and ideas to start writing, you need a question or statement that starts your mind going. These are known as journal prompts.
With these prompts for beginner journalers, you never have to wonder what to journal about again. There are enough prompts here to get you through your first couple months of journaling if you choose to write on one journal prompt a day.
Make this process fun by printing off a list of prompts and then cutting each prompt out separately. Then, fold each prompt and put them all in a jar or basket. Every day, blindly select a prompt to inspire your journal entry.
Feel free to use the list below!
It’s likely that over time, you will get into a groove and find a journaling practice that feels natural and comfortable to you, and you may not want (or need) to use prompts any longer. That’s normal.
Until then, here are some great journaling ideas to get started with.
- Is there a part of your daily routine that you don’t enjoy? How could you improve it?
- How do you think others see you?
- Are there any areas of your life that need improvement? What are they?
- Do you have a dream or goal you would like to achieve? Describe it.
- Is there anything you want to learn more about? Make a list.
- Have you ever been disappointed with something that happened? Describe and analyze the situation.
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
- What is one thing you are grateful for?
- How can you be kinder to yourself?
- What is one way you can help someone else today?
- What makes you happy?
- What would you change about your personality if you had the chance?
- What is one thing about yourself that you dislike?
- What do you know now that you wish you knew earlier?
- How do you picture your future?
- Who has influenced you the most? What about them made such an impact on you?
- What’s something people always say you should do, but you can’t seem to find the time to?
- What is one thing no one knows about you?
- If you could live to be 100 years old, how would you spend your life?
- What’s the best book you ever read? What did you like about it?
- What is one thing you really hope gets better?
- What is something you think the whole world needs to hear?
- What is one thing in your past that you regret?
- What is your best memory? What made it so good?
- What is your dream day from sunrise to sunset?
- What did you learn from your last difficult experience?
- What do you value most in life?
- What is one thing worth doing even though you might fail?
- What mood are you in most often? What can you do to change it (if needed)?
- What do you want to remember most about today?
- Do you think you are living up to your potential? Why or why not?
- What do you want to try at least once in your lifetime?
- What do you want to accomplish this week? This year?
- What are some things nobody can ever take away from you?
- What is one thing your parents taught you as a child that you still practice today?
- Do you have an idea that you would love to pursue someday?
- What is one thing people say about you that isn’t true?
- When are you your happiest?
- When do you feel most self-confident?
- What is one thing only you can do for yourself?
- How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Why do you think you feel this way?
- What is one thing each of us can do to make our lives better?
- What are you afraid of? What could you do to overcome that fear?
- What can you learn from past mistakes?
- What is one thing every human being needs to learn?
- What can you do today to make the world a better place?
- Who are you most thankful for?
- What makes you smile?
- Describe the best day of your life so far.
- What has been your biggest accomplishment?
- What is your favorite movie and why?
- Are you worrying about things beyond your control? What are those go-to worries?
- What is your favorite family tradition and why?
- What inspires you toward greatness?
- What motivates you most to take action even when you don’t feel like it?
- Describe a perfect soulmate.
- How would you describe yourself to someone that has never met or seen you?
- List your core values and beliefs.
- What do you miss most about the past?
- Which situations in your life have shaped you the most and why?
- What embarrasses you?
- What was your favorite thing about today?
- How do you manage stress? What can you improve about it?
- What do you need more of in life?
- If today was your last day, describe everything that you would do.
If you’re journaling for self esteem, try these self love journaling prompts next.
Tips for Using Journal Prompts
When You’re Just Getting Started
Remember There’s No Pressure (Your Journal Doesn’t Need to Read Like a Novel)
Notice that there is no guidance above about how to answer the listed journal prompts. That’s because it is completely up to you.
A few words or a few pages. A poem, an essay, a letter or a drawing. It’s all up to you.
Your journal is your world to create, build and/or mess up. So, let go of any expectations of perfection.
That being said, here are some tips to lessen the pressure:
- Get something quick onto that first blank page so that it doesn’t sit there and intimidate you.
It can be a journaling quote, song lyrics, a drawing or even a big ol’ scribble! The idea is to get through that nerve-wracking feeling of breaking in a brand new journal, as quickly as possible.
- Write in your journal like you are speaking to someone else, whether that be a friend, someone that needs your help, future you or past you.
- Don’t feel like you have to write in the morning. If that isn’t a convenient time for you to stick to, that’s perfectly fine. Keep reading for tips on how to best incorporate journaling into your day.
Make Journaling a Daily Habit
Until it becomes second nature to journal, be intentional and set a time to journal every day.
Trying to journal whenever you feel like it is probably going to end up with your journal sitting in a corner somewhere collecting dust. So, here are some tips to help you journal daily-
- Attach your journaling time to another habit that you are already used to doing religiously.
For example, if you drink coffee daily, come rain or come sunshine, making your coffee time your journaling time will help you do it daily. The same can be done with a nightly skincare routine or prayer time or daily stretching or anything else you do consistently.
- Choose some standard questions to answer every single day such as “how are you feeling today” or “what am I grateful for today“?
This makes your journaling time more predictable and thereby, less intimidating.
- Make your daily journaling time a pleasure by indulging your senses.
Maybe you light some candles. Or sip some special tea or wine. Or perhaps you turn on a favorite playlist or record and enjoy the tunes. Create an ambiance.
- Add journaling to your habit tracker.
Try the Timer Method to Get Words on Paper
If you’re stuck, set a timer and write until time is up.
Just put pen to paper.
After time is up, you can choose to keep going or decide to stop. Oftentimes, you’ll find that you want to keep writing.
You can even attach a journal timer to your journal if you want to make this a consistent strategy.
related : Art Journal Ideas for Beginners
Change Up the Scenery if You Start Feeling Stuck
Different scenery wakes up the senses and gives you new subject matter to write about.
So, if you usually write on your balcony, try switching it up to your front porch or in your family room. If you usually journal indoors in your bedroom, try journaling outside or while looking out a window or try journaling at a coffee shop.
Changing up your scenery doesn’t just have to mean changing where you journal.
You might need to change up how you journal.
I’ve done some of my best reflecting on the Notes app on my phone and laptop.
Yes, writing on paper can be soothing and cathartic but for those of us that can type more quickly than we can write, we can capture our thoughts much more effectively and thoroughly by typing. It lets you just get it all out!
There’s no harm in doing it both ways. And if you’d rather keep all your thoughts in one place, you can print out whatever you type and paste it into your journal- I’ve done that too. And it works out just fine.
Try to Incorporate Gratitude into Every Journal Entry
A good journaling practice when you’re first starting out is to write about gratitude.
(Gratitude journaling can actually be a whole genre of it’s own but I believe that it’s a good idea to sprinkle it in no matter what type of journaling that you do).
It’s about mindset.
Make your journal an encouraging place to be.
I’m in no way trying to suggest that you shouldn’t use your journal as a place to vent or explore and untangle any dark and negative emotions that you have. What I’m recommending is that you make it much more than that.
Positive energy is positive reinforcement. It will make you more fond of your journal.
Whereas, if your journal is a pit of darkness and negativity, you won’t even want to touch it when things are going well or when you are seeking to be uplifted and encouraged.
Share some gratitude to make your journal a place you want to go to.
Keep a Notebook Handy to Record Moments You Want to Remember & Write About Later
One of the best journal ideas for beginners is to keep your notebook on you on a day to day basis. Especially if you struggle to figure out what to write or say.
Throughout the day, when you need to vent or you hear something interesting, you can write it down and mull it over later in your writing.
You can also use it to pass time when you’re stuck somewhere waiting, like at the doctors office or at the bank. If spending less time on your phone is a goal that you have, carrying your journal around with you can definitely help with that.
Keep Your Journal Private
It’s human nature to speak differently if you feel that you may have an audience.
This may mean that you censor yourself and tone down your feelings, thoughts and emotions. But it can also mean playing your emotions and reactions up, in order to send whoever you think might read it a message or clue.
Keeping your journal private allows you to write as your most authentic self.
I know that can be a big ask if you live with other people, so if you need ideas, read this post on how to keep your journal private.
My favorite thing about journaling is being able to look back and see how my thought processes and life have developed over time. However, the only way that that can even happen is by getting some words onto those pages in the first place!
These journal ideas and daily journal prompts for beginners can help you do just that.
I encourage you to just start writing and see where it all takes you. They say the hardest part about journaling is getting started!
And if you need more inspiration, be sure to see my journaling category page for more ideas and tips.
Happy Journaling Friend!