New journal, unknown possibilities, fresh start. You ever flip through your blank journal, wondering what stories, lists, and scribbles will land there? Where will your life take you while you are filling these 120 pages?
How do I best start off this new phase? For some reason, the integrity of these bound pages depends entirely on how I choose to fill the first few pages. Here are the best ways to start a fresh journal.
When I finish a journal, it signifies the end of a life chapter; whatever happened within those pages is now in the past. A fresh journal is a fresh start. Because of this, I often visualize specific periods of my life with what journal I used at the time. My year in Scotland? Ahhh, the red hardcover. My tiny apartment Portland, Maine; teaching, getting married, and preparing for Germany? That’s the era of the turquoise lined soft cover. My life fizzles down into a bunch of Moleskines.
For the lover of all things ‘Harry Potter’, find inspiration in these 5 magical writing prompts to get you motivated.
Part of a writing group or class and need ideas? Look no further!
Many prompts and exercises we do in my writing group depend on the participation of the other group members. I realized that the most engaging sessions, the greatest group memories, and funniest stories come from ideas generated within the group.
Throughout life, each person we come across can be a teacher. Not necessarily a school teacher, but a teacher brought to us to impart a meaningful lesson. List people you would consider your personal teachers and jot what lessons you’ve learned from them along the way.
Journaling at night takes a different tone than journaling in the morning, often a more knowing tone, one that has grown and seen more. It’s strange how 15 hours can alter a person’s mindset, then reset the following sunrise.
Every day, I notice new videos and blogs popping up about people’s morning routines. I think the part of ourselves that is desperate answers, for productivity, to create a life we’re not living, is attracted to these seemingly perfect people suggesting how we can start our day.
Stress manifests in our lives in different ways. You can spend 10 minutes pouring back into yourself to find your center of balance and refocus on your goals. If you’re feeling stressed and have a bit of spare time, sit down, take a breather, and write.
Get your thoughts flowing and your memoir started with these life writing exercises that only take a few minutes.
Look into the bonds your characters share with others by following these exercises and prompts.
Choose a relationship pairing on this list. Write your character through interactions within this pairing.
Traveling can be life changing. A single trip can alter the course of your life and give you your most memorable experiences. It can also be stressful, mundane, and make you want to go home. Your journal should show every angle of traveling, the highs and the lows. It should not look perfect, because traveling is not perfect.
One of my worst writing habits is the inclination to write happy and descriptive scenes, rather than action filled, stressful ones. In my head, it seems to all fall into place so neatly, though when I take the time to write, I realize how unrealistic it feels. People, and characters, experience pain in their lives. How they confront these stressful experiences is what molds them, and ultimately, what makes them interesting to read. Check out these prompts to give depth to your characters.
Sitting down with a notebook or a laptop and immediately feeling inspired to write is a huge expectation we put on ourselves, and not one that is easily achievable. I’ve found that focusing on my physical environment can kickstart the flow of ideas. Do you have a book lying around? How about a whole library? Here are three ways to use the literature existing around you to write your own.
While drafting a timeline of chapters for your creative writing story, create another character with the help of a few random idea-generating lists. Will this character belong in your story?
Pick a name on this list and start writing.
Today we’re zoning in on an exercise and a prompt that will begin the process of putting together the pieces you’ve been building. We started at creating a character, now we’re filling in the gaps.
Starting a creative writing session with a stream of consciousness can empty out any personal thoughts or details that are lingering in your mind. You might be surprised by the gems that you write during this “zone out” time. Since I’ve started this routine, I have a difficult time beginning my creative writing time without emptying my thoughts and starting with a clean slate.
We can learn a lot about each other by discovering our fears. The same can be said when developing a fictional character. You’ll be creating a list (rooted in their history), then creating a confrontational situation for your character.
Struggling to write your character through an emotional experience? Follow this series of writing exercises and prompts to open your character up to emotional experiences.
Choose emotions on this list to have your character experience. Try writing your character through multiple emotions, either due to an external circumstance or an internal realization.
Dig deeper into your character by following these writing prompts. To create a well-rounded character, you must include a range of traits, positive and negative. Choosing their zodiac sign can be a great tool for this, along with writing them through a stressful situation.
Choose a situation on this list to have your character live through. Writing your character through traumatizing and stressful situations can show you who they truly are.
Let’s continue creative writing by putting your newfound character into situations and see how they respond. Follow these quick exercises and prompts to get the most out of your character writing.
Pick a location on this list and start writing.
If you’re like me, you love the idea of writing stories. Having your words be read by others. Publishing your work. If you’re like me, you’ve figured out how difficult that can be, especially if you’re creating characters and a story line from scratch. Today can be the very start of this journey – the seed that will grow into something beyond you. Let’s start with a character.
Ahhhh, another Wednesday writing session. This is a time where you shut off the white noise in your life, reflect, and hopefully end up with writing you’re proud of. Since we are focusing on life writing still, we’re now honing in on intrinsic and extrinsic qualities of character building. The twist is, you’ll be writing about someone you intimately know.
We’re officially in another week of life writing practice, this time focusing in on including those key sensory detail that make your writing come alive.
Feeling blocked? Pick one of the following prompts at random and get those creative juices flowing again. If you have suggestions for more, or want to share your writing, do so below!
Need ideas to unblock your creativity? Interested in writing but you don’t know where to get started? You can follow this life writing playbook with a friend, a group, or by yourself.