I adore Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down the Bones*.
She’s best known for exploring writing as zen practice and inspires you to take the leap and write creatively.
Though her advice is mainly focused on different aspects of the writer’s craft, she has a lot of great advice that can be applied to journaling as well.
Journaling is a practice that helps you comprehend the value of your life and a wonderful tool for profound self-knowledge through deep internal exploration.
I thought it would be fun to put together a list of writing prompts inspired by her book Writing Down the Bones*.
- Tell about the quality of light coming in through your window. Don’t worry if it’s night and your curtains are drawn, describe it anyway.
- Begin with, “I remember when…” and write down your memories. Start with the small ones, if you fall into a big one, write that. Everything that isn’t happening right now is a memory, and you bring it alive when you write it down.
- The love/hate/don’t care approach. Take something you feel strongly about. Write about it as if you love it. Then write about it as if you hate it. Then write about it as if you’re feelings about it are neutral.
- Choose a colour. Take 15 minutes and leave your desk to observe where you can see that colour – inside or outside. Then sit down and write about it.
- Choose a piece of music that gives you the feels. Sit down and listen to it without doing anything else, close your eyes and let it wash over you. Then write about it.
- Give your morning to someone else. Write about your morning as if you’re telling someone else about it so that they can reenact it.
- Visualise a place you really love and then write about it. Someone reading it should know exactly what it feels like to be in that place. It can be a corner in your bedroom or a different city.
- Write about leaving. Approach this in any way you want – leaving a place physically, emotionally or mentally. Leaving a relationship, a shop or old habits.
- What is your first memory?
- Who are the people you’ve loved?
- Write about the streets where you live.
- Write about a grandparent.
- Write about the most frightened you’ve ever been.
- Write off the page. Take a poetry book, choose a page at random and a line at random, and us that line as your first line in journaling.
- Begin with, “I will die…” – “I will die in Paris with a rainstorm // on a day I already remember”, from a poem by César Vallejo.
- What kind of animal are you? Underneath it all, what kind of animal are you really? If a hedgewitch were to turn you into an animal right now, what would stand there in your stead?
- Write about the stars.
- Write about a time when you felt closest to creation, nature, god or the universe.
And if, at any time, you get stuck and run out of things to write, write your beginning line again.
In her book, Goldber talks about how a first strong first line will make the writing that follows it even better.
You can rewrite your first line if you feel like it isn’t propelling you into writing. Rewrite it until it’s inspiring to you.
Get more our of your journaling by making it a regular practice.
I have a free course that focuses on gratitude that will help you create a regular journaling practice.
Thankful is a free journaling course that I created for you when you want to feel happier and more grateful in life.
It’s a daily journaling email course where I send you a new email every day for 21 days with journaling prompts and knowledge about the science of gratitude and happiness.
When you’re ready to be guided through twenty-one days of journaling, you can sign up here.
PS – Just to keep things above board: links marked with an asterisk* are affiliate links, which means if you buy through that link they pitch a few cents into my coffee jar for referring you. It’s at no extra cost to you and I only recommend that which I love myself! Thank you for reading 💛