Hello kindred spirit! I’ve been camping and on the road, driving through Italy this past week, and without routine, I have found cozy solace in my journal. Journaling is a simple practice we can turn to time and time again for an array of different subjects – when we’re going through good times and bad, when we’re sorting out projects and creative ideas, outlining our wildest and simplest dreams, even writing letters. My journal is my sweetest companion, a dear friend. It’s a place I go to for me and myself alone. And it’s an empowering practice that steadily gave me courage, strength and a self-assuredness in my younger years that I don’t think I would have developed if I hadn’t journaled. There is something magnetic about holding a pen in your hand and sharing yourself openly and vulnerably to a blank page.
And for these reasons, I want to share with you some tools and prompts that may inspire you to keep a journaling practice that you love! Whether you’re an avid journal enthusiast or frequently hop off and on the journaling train, (or even if you’ve never kept a journal a day in your life and this is all new to you), I hope this post inspires you to start writing! 🙂 You won’t ever regret the time spent connecting with your heart through journaling, I can assure you!
Let’s start with the basics: pens! I have found that picking up materials that bring you simple pleasures while using them will make your journaling practice a task you look forward to! Ask yourself whether an array of brightly colored pens or a simple black one would make you more excited to write. Personally, I adore a classic black clicky Pilot G-2 07 pen (the silky ink is such a joy to dance across the page with!), and if I’m lucky while snooping around pen stores in the city, I’ll find some magenta pink versions! I also adore journaling with these Gelly Roll pens; the pastel colors are so fun to write with, and I find separating my different paragraphs and topics with different colors makes rereading my entries easier. But the point is: get a pen that you LOVE! Whether you prefer no-nonsense clicky ballpoint pens or using an old-fashioned quill or even a scratchy fountain pen, make it a fun experience that you’ll look forward to!
Now it’s time to pick up a journal that makes you squeal with delight every time you pick up the binding! Consider every darling detail, from the smooth thickness of the paper, the cover, the binding. Will you choose a spiral-bound journal (one that you can bend and flip around) or a sturdy hardcover? One that has an intricate clasp or one that opens easily for quick jots? These are details to consider! The more you love your journal, the more it is a joy for you to hold, feel and look at, and the more devotion you will want to give it. I have over 60 journals I’ve used over the years, and my favorites are the Thoreau journal, Fringe’s spiral-bound journals, and a classic black Moleskine. This is the journal I use currently!
I bring a pocket journal with me absolutely everywhere. If I’m not carrying a purse, I slip a small pocket journal in my back pocket. These are so helpful to have when you’re on the go, traveling, and while taking public transportation. Most of my pocket journals I’ve picked up from stationary store sales, but my absolute favorite pocket journal is Rockbook as the paper is made of stone paper, making it beyond smooth and silky to write on! Combine this heavenly waterproof paper with a Pilot G-2 and you will find me in blissful ecstasy. Owning a pocket journal helps with creating the daily habit of bringing a journal with you everywhere….which leads to my next point:
Just like bringing along a book to places, carrying a journal with you everywhere you go will encourage you to write more! I love to journal when I have unexpected time to kill while out and about. You can whip it out in those unexpected moments such as when there’s a delay or you’re waiting for the train or for a friend to arrive. You can stuff it in your purse in the morning and bring it out while waiting for an appointment. There will always be slow periods and delays in life, but it’s how we choose to spend those moments that matter. Bringing your journal with you every day is a great way to pass the time and find joy and connection in those precious, spare moments.
I use a series of grounding and healing prompts every morning when I journal, and I’ve compiled them for you in a simple PDF here! Use this as guidance and inspiration if you ever need some motivation 🙂
This is a fun project that I do every year or so and it’s a simple way to look forward to your future self! Write a letter to yourself in the future and seal it in an envelope before taping it to the back of your journal. I love to add personal touches to it to make it pretty to look at such as wrapping the envelope in twine, sealing the envelope with wax and including a shipping tag with a handwritten “open June 1 2024.” It makes it fun and exciting to open!
One of the things that automatically kills the inspiration to journal is monotony. When we approach journaling as a chore that we have to do everyday, in a similar style and structure, it can quickly become a bore. Instead, ask yourself what would feel the most FUN to write. You may think that journaling is just writing a recount of your day’s activities, but that is barely scraping the surface of journaling! I love to switch up my entries everyday. Somedays I’ll add lyrics to a song or a poem I’m writing, scribble a short story inspired by an event I witnessed in a city or I’ll jot a few simple thoughts or phrases that crossed my mind. I write lists, scribble out my dreams and feel into it as if they’ve already come true. I write letters to myself, telling myself what I’m letting go of, things I’m picking up. I ask my intuition questions and receive a lot of answers back. There are so so many ways you can journal. You can write what you experienced that day or use it as a place to pour out your heart. Go wild and play with it! When you experiment and treat each entry as something different to journey into and explore, journaling will be anything but boring.
This is a powerful practice when you want to get something off your chest and share your heart with someone, but you’re not comfortable actually sending it their way. Write letters sharing your heart openly to those from your past – to the one that got away, to old frenemies, past loves, to those that have hurt you and those that you think about. You can write letters to them on the Full Moon (a great time for letting go and moving forward) or even write letters to yourself! I’ve found from personal experience that writing letters to people I’m still hurting from (and actively confronting, loving and forgiving them in the letter), then reading it out loud and burning it has completely eliminated them or the memories associated with them from coming back into my subconscious. It’s a powerful practice and anytime I’m thinking about someone too much, whether it’s someone I know or a stranger I’ve never met, doing this has lightened my energy and mental clarity immensely.
Below I’ve included some journaling ideas I read about from author Elizabeth Gilbert. One of the ideas is to write a letter to yourself from your enchantment to serve as a reminder to you of all the things you love doing, but don’t do enough of in your life. Think about your simple joys, your favorite places or people you love to see. Write about what enhances and what kills your magic, that sparkle of life and vitality that blazes through you. Focus on your passions and write about the things that spark your flame. This is a great way to feel instantly connected with your true self!
Write yourself letters giving yourself permission to do the things you’re scared or worried about doing. Author Elizabeth Gilbert has shared this practice of writing “permission slips” to yourself from people that you’ve sought approval and love from in the past. It might be a parent, teacher or mentor, but the act of writing out permission slips from that person can be super empowering and motivating! Make sure to write tangible, specific and actionable things, not just generalities. For example, “I give you permission to start that blog now” or “I give you full permission to go treat yourself and buy that cute dress in the shop window. It will bring such a spring in your step and you have the permission now to do so.”
This is another writing prompt Elizabeth Gilbert has shared in the past – writing yourself a letter from your persistence reminding you of all the challenges and obstacles you’ve overcome, reminding you all that you’ve endured and rose above. I also recommend keeping a list in your journal of all the things you’ve done and accomplished, acts of service, healthy habits you’ve built, the nice things people have said about you. This is quite helpful to look back on when you feel inadequate. I have a list that I look back to when I feel insecure or when I feel like giving up on creative projects I’ve attempted, and it encourages me to just keep going.
This is a practice that I actually do ALL the time! Anytime a troubling thought or fear crops up for me, I write directly to my fear, telling it that I’ve got it all under control. Often I find my intuition takes control of the flow of words. It’s in these moments when I’m in that flow of writing, that my ego steps aside and my inner voice leads the way. Write a letter to your fear, from your divine self (inner voice, intuition, higher self). When you get stuck, take deep breaths and exhale sharply. On the exhale, allow the pen to guide you.
example: Hello fear, I see you, I hear you but it’s all going to be alright…I’ve got this. You’re scared because of ______ but you don’t need to be.
I hope you found these free journaling prompts and tips helpful and that they inspire you on your own writing journey. Journaling is such an individual practice – we all have different ways we approach self-reflection, but I hope that in me sharing openly what has inspired and worked for me in my own life, it may provide inspiration for you.
Sending you such a big hug and lots of simple joys! 🙂
Some of the ideas in this blog post were inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert here.
July 10, 2021
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