Who Are You? 3 Journal Prompts for Exploring Yourself

Humans have many facets. This does not mean one is necessarily deceptive; it just means that we wear ourselves like clothes- often rearranging ourselves for that which is appropriate for the setting.

With this in mind, here are 3 journal prompts to explore three of our facets.

  • Who are you in private?
  • Who are you with those closest to you?
  • Who are you in public?

Remember to be gentle with yourself as you explore.

Peace,

Deborah

Music as Journal Prompts

Music 🎵 can sweep away the cobwebs of the mind and give us great fodder for our journals.

Here are journal prompts utilizing songs or music.

  • Playlist – Make a list of the music or songs that you have listened to this week or this month. Overtime, the list becomes a unique look into your mindset and your world.
  • Song Exploder – There is a podcast called Song Exploder where an artist is asked to explain the various layers to one meaningful song on their album. For your journal, find a song that resonates with you and try to write why that is the case. What makes you choose that song? Why is it meaningful? Which part or parts speak to you the most?
  • Mood Thermometer- What music or song describes how you feel right now? Why?
  • Mood Thermostat- What music or song could regulate your mood? Which mood? Why?
  • First Song- What is the earliest song or music you recall from childhood?
  • Compare/ Contrast- Choose two songs and muse how they are similar or different. Do you have a favorite? Which one and why?
  • Important Dates- Are there songs or music connected to important dates in your life? e.g. “Pomp and Circumstance” at your graduation. If so, what are they? Why are they connected to that point in time? Is this a pleasant experience? Why or why not?Does the piece reoccur throughout your life? In what context does it reoccur?
  • Special Person or Place- Does a piece of music or song remind you of a special person or place? Which song? Which person or place? Describe what you think of when that piece of music plays.

The power of music takes you to an intimate space in your mind, unearthing memories. Have fun with these prompts, if you can. Be gentle with yourself if these prompts bring you unpleasant memories.

Peace,

Deborah

Book Store Serendipity

Enjoy the journey of finding the proper journal for your needs. I currently use a certain brand that has worked for the needs of my main journal for the last few years. I do not anticipate moving on from them.

However, in earlier days, I would randomly search the shelves of a book store or two for a new diary. I still do, from time to time, to see what is available.

I recall once spotting a journal on the shelves of an independent bookstore during my university days. It had a magnetic closure. 7 inches by 9 inches – just wide enough for my hand to fit inside and rest on the pages as I would write. It sported pastel, horizontal stripes.

It had a name – Tribeca by Peter Pauper Press. The stripes were to mimic the awnings in New York City’s Tribeca area. How charming.

However, the stripes reminded me of a skirt that Pier Angeli wears in a photo shoot with Vic Damone in the 1950s. She wears a dark blue turtleneck, black belt, an a-line, tea length skirt with light blue, white, and black horizontal stripes. Old Hollywood reminds me of my childhood when we would watch such people play around on the screen at home and marvel at the talent.

Thus, every time that I would write in the Tribeca journal was a pleasure. To this day, long after I have filled its pages to the brim with thoughts and ramblings, I still smile when I see it in my collection.

There is something wonderful about the serendipity of finding a journal in a store. Take a journey through a store and see the many different choices that await you. You might find one you like or inexplicably love.

Peace,

Deborah

Holiday Journal Prompts

Holidays can be a sensitive topic for many people. A journal can be the perfect place to download your feelings and attain a bit of relief from a stressful time. Conversely, if you enjoy festive seasons, journal writing is the perfect time to remember as much as you can about the day or days that you celebrated.

Here are a few prompts to get you started.

Journal Prompts for Holidays

  1. Recall your earliest memory of the holiday or festivities.
  2. Do you have related ephemera that you can attach to the journal? e.g. A photo, a concert ticket, a leaf from a long walk?
  3. Do you have a favorite part of the holiday? Is your favorite part when it is all over? Write that down.
  4. Where were you during the holidays?
  5. If you celebrate with others, who attended the festivities?
  6. If you celebrate with others, what excites you about the gathering?
  7. If you celebrate with others, what could be improved in the gathering?
  8. If you celebrate with others, what is it about this gathering that induces you to attend?
  9. Was there travel involved? Describe the trip. Was it fun? Why? Why not?

I wish you peace,

Deborah

Use the Acronym G.L.A.D. as a Daily Journal Prompt

Perhaps you can use a regular set of prompts for your journal. I like to use the acronym G.L.A.D. as headings for some of my daily writing. I grabbed this prompt from somewhere on the internet years ago. This article from Norton Healthcare is the closest I have come to finding its origin: Try the GLAD technique to foster gratitude and push out negativity

Here is my way of doing this popular journal prompt technique.

G is for Gratitude. I write a sentence about that for which I am grateful. This gets me out of any sour mood that I might have when I realize that life isn’t as bad I think. Or perhaps it IS as terrible as I think, but there is still a rainbow in the clouds. I like looking back on this section of my diary whenever I feel gloomy. This is a challenging one as I want to be able to look back on more than just “I am grateful to be alive.” I force myself to dig deeper for gratitude, to be specific, for my future self.

L is for Lesson. I have to write down a lesson learned for the day. That is actually difficult for me. However, in anticipation of this part of the journal, I make sure to learn something during the day to incorporate into this section.

A is for Accomplishment. What did I achieve today? Even if the achievement is that I hopped out of bed when I did not feel like it, or that I have been consistent in some goal, I write it down. It does not have to be an epic accomplishment every day.

D is for Delight. For some reason the idea of delight means to me to remember your day as if you were a child. What would have been awe-inspiring to your younger self? When I think of the answer to that question, somewhere in there, around the corner is a sense of delight for me. You may interpret the word “Delight” in any way you choose. It is just another way to appreciate your day.

From G.L.A.D. to G.L.A.A.D.E.- an Expansion

This week, I have expanded G.L.A.D. to G.L.A.A.D.E. which is not nearly as pithy and catchy, but it helps me to remember what I want to write about. I have added an A and an E to expand what I want to write about every day.

G is for Gratitude

L is for Lesson

A is for Accomplishment (Today)

A is for Accomplishment (Expected Tomorrow). This is to remind me to plan more.

D is for Delight

E is for Encourage Yourself. Give yourself a pep talk. Say things such as,”I know this day did not end the way you wanted, but you have weathered this before and you can do it again.”

Hopefully this can be of use to someone.

Peace,

Deborah

Your 5 Senses as Journal Prompts

Here’s one way to journal if

… you have not yet started

…do not know what to say

… would like to recall a moment more vividly later

…or have not journaled in a long time and need a boost.

Use your senses!

Ask yourself the following:

  1. What do I see right now?
  2. What scent or scents do I smell right now?
  3. What do I hear?
  4. What do I taste right now?
  5. What texture is in contact with my body? Or what does my body feel right now?

It has been my experience that when you are this detailed, you remember the moment better. I do this prompt at funerals when I want to remember not only who was there, but the texture of the pew, the smell of someone’s perfume as they hug me, etc.


Truth be told, the taste one is usually the one I have to stretch to find. I am not usually eating and journaling simultaneously. I often end up describing the taste of toothpaste,but that is ok. It is the truth. Tailor the prompts to fit your reality and your world.

I bid you peace,

Deborah

Image as Journal Prompt

Use an image as a journal prompt.

It can be a personal image or one you randomly find online or in a print publication. Allow the image to evoke an idea or a memory.

If it is a personal photo, who is in the picture? Where are they? Let yourself tell the story of what led to this moment in the photo, or what happened after. Or perhaps, you can use the personal photo to write details about an individual that you know.

If the image is not personal to you, such as an image from a magazine, you can still use it as a journal prompt. You can recount why you selected that image, where it comes from, what it reminds you of, how it inspires you (or not).

Peace,

Deborah

Addressing the YOU of five years ago in your journal

The leader of a Facebook group recently asked a question similar to the following, a question which might be a great journal prompt:

What have you accomplished which would have impressed YOU five years ago?

That’s a mouthful.

This prompt is meant to help you understand the progress you have made in life.  Have you done something that five years ago you didn’t expect to have done? Have you accomplished something that, five years ago, seemed out of reach? Have you altered your life in ways that you had not even considered back then?

Contemplate it and record your answers.

This prompt can also be used to get your ideas flowing for what’s next. What might impress you in the next five years?

Peace,

Deborah

How to Use a Journal to Remember a Recently-Deceased Relative

When a loved one dies, you might wish to remember the person by writing about your experience in your journal, writing about the deceased and keeping mementos.

Here are a few things that I have done with a journal during Aunt C’s recent illness and  death:

1. Print Text Messages

These days, some are irritated if you call them on the phone without advance notice. Instead, we send short text messages on our cell phones or other mobile devices when it is more convenient than voice-to-voice or face-to-face communication.

I’m so glad that this is the case, because text messages from loved ones who are now deceased become written (or, rather, typed) keepsakes.

I have texts from Aunt C that I will print out and place in my journal, including her last one in which she thanked me for sending a book about cancer and hope – not know the deceased very well, the speech tends to be an impersonal lecture. However, he or she might still have a few words worth worth your time; take notes. I do not put too much pressure on myself to summarize the eulogy if the person did not know the deceased; I just grab one concept from the whole speech, then write about something else.

At some funerals, there is a point in the service when audience members may go to a microphone for a couple of minutes and reflect on the life of the person who has died. Usually, the audience member tells a story about one moment in time when the deceased was kind, or entertaining, or a welcome presence, etc. These are often stories that I’ve never heard before, so I take notes. I summarized these 2-minute reflections about Aunt C in my journal during her funeral.

You may decide to do all of this in your journal later at home. However, I have found that I tend to forget some of the things I want to record unless I’m taking notes in the moment, as if it is an important class.

(Actually, a funeral can be an important class in life. Everyone is thinking about death and what is important to them. It’s a time of reflection.)

5. Consider an heirloom journal

Let’s say that the deceased did not leave much of a personal record of themselves – their opinions, their thoughts on life, their thoughts on the family, etc. There’s little you can do about that.

However, you can consider leaving YOUR journals behind so that your relatives have a keepsake from you.  The heirlooms might be your daily journals or a separate journal specifically dedicated to what you want your relatives to know about you, about life, about concepts that you find important.

Aunt C did not keep a journal (at least, not that we know of); she was a private individual. However, after her death, a few relatives perused her papers to get a better sense of who she was, that which she never really told us about herself. It was a bit impersonal since the papers were diplomas, certificates, office papers, bills, etc., but they still told a story. It would have been nice to have something a little more personal from her.

Give the gift of your personal story to your loved ones by leaving your journals in your will.

Peace,

Deborah

P.S. If you are worried about what can happen to your journal after you die, read this article to consider your options: Journaling Q and A, Part 1.

Journal Prompts -After Listening to a Music Album

Have listened to a music album recently and wish to write about it in your journal? Here are a few prompts to get you started.

Journal Prompts for Listening to a Music Album

  1. Name the album. Why did you choose it?
  2. Is it your first time listening to this album? If you listened to it before, what spurred you to listen to it again? What prompted you to listen the first time?
  3. Who is/are the artist/ artists?
  4. When did you first hear of the artist?
  5. What was your initial impression of the artist? Has your opinion remained the same? Changed?
  6. How would you describe the genre?
  7. Do you have other albums of this artist? Which ones?
  8. How does this album rank with that of this artist’s other albums?
  9. How does this album rank, in your opinion, with that of other artist in this genre?
  10. How do you think future music will be consumed? – we’ve had records, CDs and now digital downloads. What is next?

 

All the best,

Deborah

Journal Prompts for After a Concert

Do you need journal prompts after attending a concert? Here are a few prompts to get you started.

Journal Prompts for After a Concert

  1. What concert did you attend?
  2. What is it about this artist that induces you to spend time at one of their concerts?
  3. Recall the first time you ever heard a composition or song from this artist.
  4. Who attended the concert with you?
  5. Why did you attend this particular venue (as opposed to buying tickets for this artist at a different venue)?
  6. Affix the concert ticket (or a copy of it) to the journal page and write about the process of buying it.
  7. Affix any other ephemera (or a picture of it) to the journal page. E.g. A concert program, a piece of confetti shot out of a cannon. Write about its purpose at the concert. What excites or interests you about it?
  8. What did you wear? Why?
  9. Describe the process of traveling to the venue. Was it fun? Why? Why not?
  10. What are your two favorite compositions or songs from this artist? Why?
  11. How many more of this artist’s concerts would you like to attend?
  12. Has this artist inspired you in some way? Describe how.
  13. What do you think this artist’s career will be like in ten years?
  14. Where did you go after the concert? Who was there with you?
  15. Will you ever be able to return to life as usual? (Sure you will. Just give yourself a couple of weeks. :))

 

All the best,

Deborah

Journal Prompts for Aunts and Uncles

You are an aunt or uncle and you have read the tips for being the best aunt or uncle ever. Tip number six is to savor the moments. One way to savor the moments is through journal writing.

The following writing prompts are not only to help you capture the moments, but also to help you think through the relationship that you would like to have with your nieces or nephews, whether they are minors or adults.

Let’s get started.

Journal Prompts for Aunts or Uncles

  1. How many nieces and/or nephews do you have?
  2. How would you like them to remember you?
  3. What traditions would you like to begin or maintain in the lives of your nieces /nephews?
  4. What does being the best Aunt or Uncle mean to you? What does it look like?
  5. How can you set aside time to know your nieces /nephews and their goals in life?
  6. How can you help them achieve their goals?
  7. What is your relationship like with their parents (or the people who are raising them)?
  8. How can you improve or maintain your relationship with the parental figures so that you may continue to have access to the little ones?
  9. If your nieces /nephews are adults, what do they need from you now that you did not or could not provide in their childhood (For instance, a routine or act might not have been appropriate for the age or mental development of the child)? How can you incorporate whatever the newer elements are into your relationship?
  10. If your nieces /nephews are adults, what should you now omit from your relationship that was appropriate when they were children, but does not help them to progress today?
  11. If your nieces /nephews are adults, what traditions will you continue from their childhood?
  12. “I feel loved when my Aunt/ Uncle does______.” How would your nieces /nephews complete that sentence?
  13. What are your Aunts /Uncles like?
  14. What have your Aunts /Uncles taught you that you will add to the relationship you have with your nieces /nephews?
  15. How can you encourage your nieces/nephews to write in journals?
  16. Create journals about your nieces/nephews which…
    • …Record thoughts you want them to remember
    • …Capture words or concepts that they have uttered to you
    • …Include pictures of them, pictures of them with you
    • …Include notes from them
    • …Tell them about your childhood relationship with your sibling(s)
    • …You present as a gift to them at some point (You can leave the journals to them in your will, even.)

Peace be with you,

Deborah

Heirloom Journals – Prompts for the Journal That You Will Leave to Your Children

Not all journals are for yourself exclusively. Some would rather leave their writings to their children as heirlooms. Here are  a few writing prompts to get you started.

Journal Prompts for a Journal That You Will Leave to Your Children (Heirloom Journals)

  1. Tell your children how much you love them.
  2. List and explain life concepts that you find imperative to know.
  3. What is your name? What is the name of the other parent?
  4. How did you meet the other parent? Describe this relationship.
  5. What are your children’s names? Why did you name them this?
  6. Describe something that is unique about each of your children.
  7. Describe a special moment that you have enjoyed with each of your children.
  8. When were you born?
  9. When were your children born?
  10. Where were you born?
  11. Where were your children born?
  12. Where did you live during childhood? Did you enjoy it? Why? Why not?
  13. Where did you raise/are you raising your children? (Author’s note: The early years are especially crucial to record, since the children might not recall the details.)
  14. Who raised you? What is your relationship like with your parents or parental figures?
  15. Describe your childhood.
  16. Describe what you hope your children will take from their childhood.
  17. Do you have siblings? List your siblings. Explain what your relationship was like with them in childhood and what the relationship is like now.
  18. Describe what you’ve learned from your relationship with your siblings.
  19. Did you have pets as a child? How was that experience for you?
  20. What were your favorite toys?
  21. What from your childhood have you incorporated into your parenting?
  22. What from your childhood have you not permitted in your parenting?
  23. What traditions would you prefer that you children maintain?
  24. How would you prefer that your children remember you?
  25. Share quotes from your favorite people – e.g. relatives, authors, speakers, neighbors, etc.
  26. List and explain books, songs, or other media that you want your children to remember.
  27. What are your food preferences?
  28. What are your dietary restrictions?
  29. Are any of your food choices related to significant family traditions? Explain them.
  30. Quote your children, anything that stands out to you. (Author’s note: It has been my experience that older children ask, “What was I like at the age of X? “ “Did I have a catchphrase back then?”)
  31. Affix notes from your children into the journal and explain the circumstances under which you gained possession of them.
  32. Who is someone important to you that your children never met? (e.g. Their deceased great grandfather) Describe that person.
  33. Explain why journaling is important and why you have given this journal to your children.

Journal Prompts for After Watching a Movie

Journal Prompts for After Watching a Movie

  1. What movie did you screen?
  2. Summarize the plot.
  3. What would you change about the plot?
  4. Why did you watch that movie?
  5. Where were you?
  6. Who was with you?
  7. Were there snacks involved? Which?
  8. Do you have a favorite actor in this film? Who?
  9. What would you change about the casting?
  10. If this is an old film, how would you re-cast it with actors working today?
  11. If this is a new film, how would you re-cast it with actors from the past?
  12. If it is a film from the early 20th century, compare it with the radio version of the film.
  13. Is this film up to the usual standards of this actor/ director/ writer/ studio/franchise? Why?
  14. How was the soundtrack? How was the score?
  15. Did you like the film? Why? Why not?
  16. Does this movie remind you of a different one?
  17. Is this a reboot, remake, sequel, pre-quel? How does it compare to the original?
  18. If this film is part of a series, rank each one.
  19. If this film is part of a series, what do you think is misunderstood about the series or its fans? What do you think is great about the series or its fans? What do you think could be better about this series?
  20. If you watched it in the theater, do you plan to purchase a copy later? Why? Why not?
  21. Discuss the poster art/ cover art for this film.
  22. Discuss the advertising for this film. Did it intrigue you?
  23. Is there memorabilia accompanying this film? Do you plan to purchase any? Why?

 

All the best,

Deborah

Journal Prompts for After a Play or Musical

Have you attended a play or stage musical recently? Here are a few journal prompts to get you started writing about your experience.

Journal Prompts for After a Play or Musical

  1. Which Play/Musical did you attend?
  2. Where was the venue?
  3. What is interesting about the venue?
  4. Why did you attend this play?
  5. Who attended with you?
  6. When did you first hear of this production?
  7. Do you know people in the play (or behind the scenes) by name? List them and discuss why they interest you.
  8. Describe the plot.
  9. Does the plot (or do the characters) remind you of a different play?
  10. Does the plot (or do the characters) remind you of a different form of art or different discipline in life? E.g. The two lead characters in The Taming of the Shrew remind me of two boxers going in for the kill.
  11. Which actor caught your attention the most? Why?
  12. Which character surprised you the most?
  13. Which character is your favorite? Why?
  14. How were you dressed?
  15. Attach a photo of the evening (such as a selfie taken in the lobby or a picture of the program) and discuss it.
  16. Where did you go after the play? Why?
  17. What play/musical do you plan to attend next? Why?

All the best,

Deborah

Journal Prompts for Writing about Childhood

Hi! It’s Deborah.

I’m part of a journal writing group on Facebook. One of the members mentioned that he has used old family photos as journal prompts. You start writing whatever the photo brings to mind and get a glimpse into your own mind, or record an old memory. What a great idea!  Especially if you add a copy of the photo on the journal page.

Do you need journal prompts for writing about your childhood? Here are few to get you started:

  1. What is your earliest memory? [The other year, I read What Your Childhood Memories Say about You . . . and What You Can Do about It” by Dr. Kevin Leman. In it, the author posits that since the brain always remembers what happens to you, the memory that you subconsciously select as your earliest one reveals your true perspective on life.]
  2. What is one thing that you enjoyed doing as a child?
  3. Did you have pets as a child? Which was your favorite? Why?
  4. Choose a piece of childhood memorabilia. What stories does it bring to mind? How did it come into your possession?
  5. Where did you attend school? Did you enjoy it? Why? Why not?
  6. What did imagine you would do as an adult? Did you do it? Why? Why not?
  7. What foods did you enjoy as a child? Which ones did you dislike? Do you still enjoy/dislike them? Why?
  8. Write about your parents. What are their names? What are their occupations? How would you describe your childhood relationship to them? How does that compare with your adult relationship with them?
  9. Were your parents great with handling money? Why? Why not? Did you learn anything from the way they handled finances in your childhood?
  10. List 2 people other than your parents who stand prominent in your childhood memory. Who were they? What relation were they to you? Did you enjoy that relationship? Why? Why not?
  11. What were the family traditions? Have you changed any of them in your adult life? Would you like to change the traditions? Why?
  12. If you’re the letter writing type, write a letter to someone from your childhood in your journal. (You do not need to send it. This is simply a device to help you explore your past.)
  13. How is your spouse’s childhood similar to yours? Or does it differ? How have you dealt with this?
  14. What childhood would you like to provide for your children (or future children)?

That might hold you for a fortnight (or longer if you’d rather not write in your journal every day).

Peace be with you,

Deborah