Journal prompts are like a “cheat code” for shifting your perspective and sparking your imagination. Spend some time with your notebook engaging with a journal prompt, and you’ll find yourself breaking out of tired patterns, inspired by new points of view.
And the best part?
Using a prompt produces way better journaling than just sitting in front of a blank page, trying to figure out what to write.
Do you love questions that bring your ideas to life, expand your emotional intelligence, uncover hidden dreams, and reignite your passion?
Then you’re going to love this post.
We’ll provide a huge list of journaling prompts for use in different contexts. Specifically, we’ll cover:
- How journal prompts can take you off autopilot to get what you REALLY want
- 6 Fear-dispelling journal prompts proven to ease anxiety
- Over 50 prompts to help you build optimism through gratitude
- 12 journal prompts to give clarity when making a tough decision
- 30 questions to ask kids for great journal stories
- And a huge list of other journal prompts—sorted by category—that you can use now, or bookmark and reference, again and again
**Free Bonus: Click here to download all 301+ journal prompts in one handy PDF.**
What are journal prompts?
Journal prompts are questions or first lines that serve as a guide for what to write on a blank page. Of course, you can always pick up a pen and start writing on your own, but a journaling prompt can help you think in new ways.
By giving you a path to follow as you write, journal prompts encourage you to examine parts of your experience that you may not have looked at before. They help to clarify how you think and feel about things, allowing you to find a fresh perspective.
Clear as dishwater?
Let’s look at an example. Consider this journal prompt, and some potential scenarios it might speak to:
Who helped you this week that you would like to thank and why?
- Maybe someone said something encouraging to you when you felt like your week was a colossal shitshow
- Or someone gave you a hand to finish a complex task that was weighing you down
- Or maybe someone just made your week better by their very presence with you
Taking time to write out the who and the what will change your emotional space. You’ll begin to feel grateful—which, in positive psychology research, is consistently proven to produce greater happiness.
We spend a lot of our life on autopilot.
It’s actually a helpful feature of the human mind. Your brain focuses on actions that are new, but automates the “known,” to be more efficient with its resources. This is the reason we can wash dishes and plan a presentation at the same time. It’s the reason why we decide where we are going to sit the first time we walk into a class, and continue to choose that same seat for the rest of the semester. It’s the reason we can get in a car and drive—without going through the driver’s ed checklist of fastening the seat belt, adjusting the mirror, and putting our hands “at 10 and 2,” the way we did when we first learned to drive.
But while autopilot is a helpful feature in terms of resource conservation, it can keep us in a reactive mode, rather than a proactive mode.
Our automated actions are based on decisions and circumstances of the past—which aren’t necessarily aligned with what we want in our future.
But we won’t know unless we take the time to think it through.
Enter the magic of journaling with a prompt: a prompt can push us to examine things we don’t usually consider.
Which takes us off autopilot.
We bring more intention to our decisions. We stop reacting, and start choosing.
Are you looking for a way to live more intentionally?
Do you want to stop feeling like you are living your life on a hamster wheel, and take back some control?
Then ask yourself better questions—and record your answers to them—so you can find clarity on what you want, what you think, and how you feel. Using a journal prompt could be the key to doing just that.
Categories for our 301+ journal prompts
We’ve organized our journaling prompts into 11 different categories. Each section begins with a bit of explanation about how each type of prompt works.
This is a really long list, so feel free to use these handy jump links to take you where you want to go.
- What are journal prompts?
- Categories for our 301+ journal prompts
- Prompts for gratitude and optimism
- Prompts for self-discovery
- Journal prompts for anxiety
- Journal prompts for depression
- Journal prompts for therapy
- Journal prompts for self-love
- Journal prompts for clarity of action
- Mindfulness journal prompts
- Writing your personal history
- Bullet Journal collection ideas
- Prompts just for kids
- How to use a journal jar
- Go ahead and tell me. What did I miss?
Or, you can click the link below and just download all the journal prompts in PDF format.
**Free Bonus: Click here to download all 301+ journal prompts in one handy PDF.**
Prompts for gratitude and optimism
Let’s do a little experiment.
Suppose you’ve had a really crappy day. Truly, truly terrible.
It can start to feel like nothing is good in your life. The weight of your day will color every thought you have for the rest of the evening.
But let’s say that, as a discipline, you sit down at your desk, pull out your notebook, and answer some journaling prompts on gratitude.
Soon, you will have pages of evidence of the good in your life that will counter the terrible stuff, and begin to bring balance—and maybe, just maybe, tip the scales in favor of a bit of optimism.
Here is a list of journaling prompts for gratitude:
- Write about a person who always makes you laugh.
- What was the best gift you received as a child?
- Write about an event in your life that changed it for the better.
- Who has loved you unconditionally?
- What guilty pleasure are you secretly grateful for?
- Write about a person you are grateful for, but sometimes take for granted.
- What about today made you smile?
- What did you eat this week that was delicious?
- What is something great about your community?
- Write about something that always makes you smile, no matter what.
- What about your living space are you especially thankful for?
- Write down one good thing that happened to you today.
- What in your childhood are you grateful for?
- Who served as a mentor to you (whether they knew it or not)?
- Write about three skills or talents you have that serve you well.
- What do you really appreciate about your life?
- What has surprised you, in a good way?
- Describe your favorite mundane moment of the day.
- What gift have you given that has made a difference in someone’s life?
- Write about a positive interaction you had with a stranger.
- Who or what in your life are you happy to have let go?
- List 5 positive qualities of the first person you usually talk to each day.
- What was your best day ever?
- List 5 things that spark your curiosity and inspire your interest.
- What friend are you most grateful for? What makes them special?
- What makes you laugh so hard you get tears in your eyes?
- Where is your “happy place”? Describe it.
- What positive impact did you have this week?
- What could you do this week to express gratitude to others?
- What one thing do you own that makes every day a little bit easier?
- What character trait are you most grateful for?
- What adversity are you grateful for?
- What are your favorite things in the natural world?
- What about your daily routine are you grateful for?
- What do you deeply enjoy doing alone?
- Did a stranger ever do a favor for you?
- Write about something you think is adorable.
- What 5 songs are you grateful for? Why?
- Write about what makes your pet so special.
- What freedoms are you grateful for?
- How have you grown in the past year?
- What book or movie are you grateful for? How did it impact you?
- Write about a favorite memory.
- Which day was more special than any other?
- What’s the most memorable conversation you’ve had in the past year?
- Who helps you achieve your goals?
- List 10 frivolous things that bring you joy.
- What could you not live without?
- Write about a random act of kindness.
- Who taught you about unconditional love?
- What about your upbringing are you most grateful for?
- Who made you feel good this week?
Prompts for self-discovery
Want to find a new internal spark?
There is something about asking yourself about what you want and how you feel that can renew your motivation in the most surprising of ways.
It’s ideal to schedule self-discovery prompts around milestones, like birthdays or the beginning of a year. It’s also powerful to create a plan to engage with them on a recurring schedule (monthly or quarterly works well).
Here’s a list of journal prompts for self-discovery, so when you pull out your journal to write, you’ll have inspiring things to explore about yourself.
- Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
- What’s your passion, and how did you discover it?
- What in your life has given you the greatest fulfillment?
- If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?
- What’s your biggest dream? Is there a smaller version of your dream that you could accomplish in two weeks?
- What have you learned that has changed your values?
- Write about a “hell no” moment—a time when you were so outraged, you couldn’t help but take action.
- Fast forward to your 90th birthday. What would you want your favorite future relative (who doesn’t exist yet) to say about your life?
- Where do you show leadership?
- What are your plans for going after what your heart wants?
- What do you wish you were doing more of?
- Who do you want to spend more time with? Why?
- Who do you want to be in three years? How do you want people to see you?
- What’s the most important thing to focus on this week?
- Where are you giving something that you don’t actually want to give?
- When people complain about you, what do they say?
- What expectation do others have of you that you wish they didn’t?
- What demand(s) on your time do you need to get out of?
- What is the one thing you need to focus on now, that will make everything else better in the future?
- What one discipline sparks your personal growth the most?
- What three keystone habits do you need to perform daily?
- If you had $150,000 to spend in 24 hours or less, how would you spend it?
- What do you happily spend a lot of money on (without feeling guilty about it), but suspect others might judge you for?
- What do you need to stop doing?
- If you only had two years to live, what would you most want to accomplish?
- Create a schedule for your dream life.
- What are you most excited about right now?
- What is your favorite way to start the day?
- What do you need to say to someone that you are afraid to say?
- What would you like to be remembered for?
- List 3 of the best compliments you’ve received.
- Write about a mistake that turned out to be a blessing.
- What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever purchased? Did it turn out okay?
- What rule do you most want to break? (Or what rule have you broken that you wish you hadn’t?)
- Where does your future self live? What does that look like?
- If you could go back 10 years and spend 5 minutes with your former self, what advice would you share?
- When you are working in an optimal job, what do you enjoy the most?
- If you could spend twelve hours doing anything you want, anywhere you want, how would you spend them?
- How do you feel about current events? What worries you, and what gives you hope?
- Are you an Eeyore or a Tigger?
- What kinds of activities take up most of your time? Are you happy about that? If not, what could you give up to gain back 30 minutes?
- What’s important to you right now?
- List 10 of your favorite things.
- What task are you putting off that you just need to get done? How could you finish it within the next week?
- Has there ever been a time you were on a path and something happened to completely shift your trajectory?
- What are you thinking of doing that you are afraid to tell anyone about?
- What are you holding onto too tightly?
- How could you play more?
- What question are you grappling with?
- What makes you feel overwhelmed or paralyzed? Who could you ask for help?
- What is something you have always wanted to try, but never have?
- What time of day are you most creative? How do you want to use that time?
- What is your time frame for achieving your dream?
- What do you value most?
- What are you not saying that needs to be said?
- What decision(s) are you procrastinating on making?
- What’s your biggest priority this month?
- What gets you excited about the future?
- What are your core values?
- What is your take on love?
- Why do you live where you do?
- What is your favorite thing about your current living space? What drives you crazy?
- Write down the steps you need to take to get from who you are to who you want to be.
- How are you contributing to the situation in your life that frustrates you the most?
- What is your personal definition of success, stripped of others’ expectations?
- What would you write, if you felt it wouldn’t be judged?
- What short-term losses are you willing to accept now, for longer-term gains in the future?
- If people become the amalgamation of the 5 people they spend the most time with, who are you going to be?
- When everything else is stripped away, and no one else’s opinion is influencing you, what is your truth?
- Write your future self a letter that begins: “Dear future me, this is what I want for you…”
- When did you last boldly take action?
- What is your relationship with technology?
- What skill do you need to learn to advance to the next level?
- What place do you want to visit, but haven’t been to yet?
- What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Journal prompts for anxiety
Like it or not, fear is a core human emotion.
And the media knows it! Every day we are bombarded with a steady stream of reasons to be afraid.
Our brains are wired to pay attention when something feels frightening. Even when we are perfectly safe, the threat of “what might happen” makes it hard to shut that anxious response off. (The “fight or flight or freeze” response is hard-wired into us.)
Journaling about your anxiety can give your mind a place to pour out that mental chatter so that it feels heard. Once you acknowledge that an anxious thought or feeling exists, your mind feels safe enough to stop screaming at you to pay attention.
Sitting with a notebook and honoring what you are worried about by writing it down can be oddly calming.
These 6 powerful journaling prompts can help calm your mind by addressing different types of anxiety. Find the one that resonates most with your experience, and try it now:
- What do you feel anxious about? Write your stream-of-consciousness, and let it feel as if all the random fears (or that one big fear) are draining out of you onto the paper.
- How are you experiencing anxiety in your body? What does it feel like? Write words or use doodles to get this onto the page. What kind of self-care might calm you, allowing those feelings to pass?
For example: breathing deeply, going for a run, sitting on the couch to snuggle a pet.
- Write down the worst thing that could happen if what you fear comes to pass— and make it as extreme as possible.
For example: “…and then I’ll be laid off, and then I won’t be able to find a job, and then I’ll be homeless and have to dig in the trash for food…”
Then, write what would probably really happen.
For example: “…and then I would reach out to people I know for ideas on what my opportunities are, and, if needed, I would move back in with my family for a short time while I look for a new job.”
- Write the serenity prayer at the top of the page: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Below it, draw a line down the center of the page.
On one side, write the heading: “cannot change.” On the other side, write: “can change.”
Take everything that is prompting anxiety for you in this moment, and put it into one of those categories. (Note: Most of the time the only thing you can change is yourself. Most of the “cannot change” list will be about others.)
- If your anxiety centers around your own performance, name your inner critic. Give it a voice and a personality. (Mine is Edith Prickley, based on the SCTV character.) Write out all the things your inner critic is saying to you.
For example: “Edith says I’m going to fail at my presentation tomorrow. She says it is going to be boring and lame and no one will be interested in what I have to say.”
Writing your inner dialog out from a third-party perspective creates separation. It changes your vantage point, so you can see your thoughts more objectively.
Now write back to your inner critic.
For example: “Oh Edith, I know you are afraid for me. Come here. Let me give you a hug. We are going to be okay.”
Giving your inner critic a persona allows you to question it. You don’t have to accept what it says as truth.
- If your anxiety is sparked by overwhelm, create “popcorn pages.” Your brain knows when it has committed to a task that remains unfinished. In fact, it will ping you endlessly with reminders. After all, part of the brain’s job is to keep track of things until they get done. But when there are too many open loops, you can start to feel overwhelmed.
Pull out a piece of paper and write down every open loop your brain keeps pinging you with. Scatter them popcorn-style across your page. If you are like most people, you will probably end up with a weird mix of the essential and the trivial—from all different areas of your life. Write fast, then pause to see what comes into your brain next. (Your brain is going to be so happy that you’re doing this, it will flood your thoughts with all the things.)
Now, use a highlighter to color-code similar things—items that can be addressed together. Block out time on your calendar to schedule when you are going to deal with each collection of color-coded items. Once a task’s completion is scheduled, your brain can start to relax. (You’ll find even more relief if you take care of at least one piece of “popcorn” on the page immediately.)
Journal prompts for depression
Depression is a serious mental state—characterized by feelings of sadness, withdrawal from connection, and a lack of interest in daily life.
If you are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Hopeline Network: 1-800-784-2433. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also has a hotline to help you find resources to treat and manage depression: call 1-800-662-HELP.
Journaling is not a cure for depression, but it does have benefits for people who are depressed. Depression creates a fog around who we are, what we think, and how we feel. Journaling can empower you to regain clarity.
Here are some journal prompts that may help:
- Write morning pages. Artist Julia Cameron popularized this practice of unloading the mind first thing every morning. In her book, The Artist’s Way, Cameron writes: “In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the morning pages…the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness.” Morning pages are not intended to be either writing or art. Rather, they are a kinesthetic exercise that helps your brain clear itself, so you can be more focused and creative for the rest of your day. (For more on this, watch Julia Cameron’s video about Morning Pages.)
- If some of your depression is being caused by anger you’ve felt helpless to act on, write an angry letter. (You don’t have to send it.)
- Write about a need you know someone has, and describe how you could help alleviate their suffering.
- What are you tolerating that you shouldn’t be?
- Write about something you know to be true.
- Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who hurt you.
- Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself.
- When did you start to lose interest in things? How far back can you trace these feelings?
- How are your current circumstances affecting your mental health?
- Can you see beyond where you are now to a better future?
- What is the thing you are afraid to say out loud?
- What would you write, if you didn’t feel like you would be judged for it?
- Write what you wish someone would say to you.
Journal prompts for therapy
Great therapists ask great questions.
They draw out what you are really thinking and how you are feeling with their queries. And while there is no substitute for someone trained in this art, this process of querying and answering yourself can be a very therapeutic process.
Here are some prompts for using your journal as a complement to therapy:
- Who in my life can I be my full self with, unapologetically?
- What am I doing when I feel most free?
- Who am I, outside of the roles I play?
- What do I need to forgive myself for?
- Am I a victim or a hero in my own story?
- What do I need to do to change for the better?
- What am I feeling right now? How long have I had this feeling?
- Who triggers negative emotions in me? Why?
- Who triggers positive emotions in me? Why?
- When I get caught in a thinking loop, what am I thinking about?
- When have I cried happy tears? What made that happen?
- Who have I lied to? Why? What would have happened if I’d told the truth?
- What is my biggest regret? How can I make amends?
- What is something I am angry about, but haven’t dealt with?
- How do I feel about the statement: “I am enough”?
- What do I not get credit for?
- Would I parent your children in the same way I was parented? Why or why not?
- My past doesn’t define who I am because…
- I have trouble sleeping when…
- How would I tell the story of my life in three sentences?
- “Dear [name of a person I’ve lost], …”
- One area I need to improve on is…
- Right now, my thoughts are _____________. I wish they were _______________.
- I really wish others knew this about me: …
- What barrier(s) do I need to overcome?
Journal prompts for self-love
No matter how amazing we are, our self-talk can be downright mean.
Phrases we would NEVER say to a friend spin around in our own minds like ninja throwing stars. What’s worse: we can become so immersed in these thought patterns that we never notice how they’re doing damage to our beautiful souls, over and over again.
Journaling for self-love is a fierce shield of defense against this roaring inner voice. It retrains our minds and heals our hearts.
Here are some journaling prompts that can foster self-love:
- What does my inner child most need me to say to him/her?
- Where have I shown kindness to others?
- How can I be kinder to myself?
- What am I wearing when I feel really beautiful?
- What about my personality do people compliment me on?
- How do I want to grow? What do I want to experience? What do I want to contribute?
- What barrier keeps me from loving myself?
- What do I need to feel at peace?
- How would I talk to myself if I were 3 years old?
- Some of the most wonderful words ever said to me were…
- What fulfills me?
- What change do I most want to see in my world?
- What kind of self-care would be most useful right now?
- When I feel loved, how do I show up?
- How does my inner voice sound when it is beautiful?
Journal prompts for clarity of action
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we just don’t know what to do. We have to make a decision—a hard choice—and it feels overwhelming.
When you are in that tough space, your journal can be an incredible ally.
There are questions we can ask ourselves before we take action that can clarify what we really want and make the path for our choices clear.
Here are some journaling prompts to try when you need clarity of action:
- Will this matter in two days? Two months? Two years?
- Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by you? Does this need to be said by you now?
- Which path most closely aligns with your highest values?
- Will this allow you to use your strengths or will you primarily be performing in areas you don’t enjoy?
- How much do you want this? What am you willing to give up to get it?
- What would you do if money wasn’t a factor?
- If you had no say and someone else made this choice for you, which choice would make you feel disappointed? Why?
- What would you wish for someone you love, if they were in this situation?
- What outcome are you working toward?
- What if you did nothing?
Mindfulness journal prompts
The heart of mindfulness is about directing your attention—typically in the present moment. While journaling can be a great mindfulness practice, there are specific prompts that can help bring awareness to your current experience.
Here are some journaling prompts for mindfulness:
- How do you feel in your body right now?
- What is your predominant emotion? How are you experiencing it physically?
- When were you fully in the moment today?
- What are you enjoying right now?
- Draw a mandala or zentangle.
- If you let your thoughts wander, what memory comes to mind first?
- Where did you notice beauty today?
- What insights came to you in meditation today?
- What mundane daily ritual could you bring your full attention to, staying completely in the moment?
- Write a stream-of-consciousness with no clear goal. Just write, letting your thoughts go by as you release them to the paper.
Writing your personal history
Journaling your personal history allows you to capture personal and family stories in a way that makes your journal become a legacy. Your family can read the stories to learn about themselves and where they come from.
Personal history journals can be digital, but they can also be handwritten, with pictures pasted in to give them an heirloom feel.
Whether you decide to go with pen and paper or create a digital journal, these journal prompts can give shape and inspiration to yourpersonal history journal:
- Write about your name. What does it mean? Who chose it?
- What’s the ethnicity of your surname? Do you know what it means or where it comes from?
- Where were you born? Where were your parents born?
- How did your mother and father meet?
- Write about the first home you remember.
- Where was your favorite place to spend time? What did you spend hours doing as a child?
- What was your favorite toy?
- What kinds of wildlife did you encounter as a kid?
- When you were younger, what did you like to do when it rained?
- Did you have a favorite book as a child? (Or a favorite book you read to your children?)
- What did your grandparents tell you about how they grew up?
- What is a family story that gets told over and over when people are together?
- Describe the kitchen in the home you spent the most time in.
- What did a typical mealtime look like when you were growing up? What was your favorite food?
- Write some of your favorite things about your mother, father, siblings, cousins, and/or grandparents. Help the reader get to know them.
- Where did you go to school? What subjects did you enjoy?
- Who was your childhood best friend? Tell us about them.
- Where did your parents work? What was their trade? Do you know how your grandparents made their living?
- What did your family do really well? How did they show love?
- What movie did your family watch over and over?
- Remember when you were a kid and someone told you not to do something? What did you do that you were not supposed to? When did your curiosity get the better of you?
- Did your family survive a tragedy? What happened?
- What was high school like for you? Did you go to events like football games, prom, or spend weekends gaming in a friend’s basement?
- What world events impacted you when you were younger? How did they affect you?
- What was the hardest part about growing up?
- What pets do you have?
- Are there any family stories your aunts or uncles told you that you want to be sure to write down?
- Write about your first week of college, or the first week at your first job.
- Write about the first place you lived on your own.
- Write about when and how you learned to manage money and pay bills. What did things cost then?
- Capture what different decades were like for you. Write about your 20’s, your 30’s, etc.
- If you’re married, how did you meet your spouse? Are there any stories you want to record from when you were dating?
- Did you have a marriage that didn’t work out? What do you want to say about that?
- Describe a mundane day. What is life like for you? Write down what you wish you knew about your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ daily lives.
- What captures your imagination?
- What do you enjoy doing most with friends and family?
- What are holidays like for you? What traditions do you hope carry on?
- If you have kids, write about them. What do you want them to know about their younger selves?
- What advice would you give future generations who read this journal?
- What were you worried about as a kid that turned out to be not a big deal for you as a grown up?
Bullet Journal collection ideas
People who use the Bullet Journal Method will be familiar with the term “collections.” A collection is a topical page in your journal that covers a specific category. This is usually a log, tracker, or list of some kind.
Since a Bullet Journal is supposed to be simple, you don’t want to track everything—only the things that matter to you—but sometimes looking through a list of things that others are logging can help you decide what collection pages to include in your own journal.
Here are some journal prompts for Bullet Journal collections:
- Books you read this year
- Roller coasters you’ve ridden (or ballparks you’ve visited, or states you’ve been to)
- Your bucket list (make it official; write it down!)
- Packing or camping list
- Wish list
- Home repairs to make
- Daily affirmations
- A category of things you own for which having a list is helpful (textbooks, collectables, essential oils, etc.)
- Meal ideas or a master grocery list
- Event planner
- List of family/friends’ birthdays
- Savings tracker (this is particularly helpful if you are saving to buy a particular item)
- Family gift list (what you gave, or good gift ideas)
- Movies you want to stream
- Healthy snacks list
- Pen or watercolor swatches
- Homework assignments or work deadlines
- Job search
- Recurring annual charges
- Apps you love or apps to try
- Research for articles, papers, or just topics you are interested in
- Business plan lists
- Project ideas
- 90 day goals
- Social media stats
- Accounts and passwords
- Things to do in your own city
- Date night ideas
- Funny quotes from your friends or kids (or your friend’s kids)
- Basic medical information (list of meds, services, doctors’ numbers, insurance, etc.)
- The last time I called… (make sure you are keeping up with the people you love)
- Sleep log
- Activity tracker (this can be anything: exercise, painting, water consumption, or even journaling)
Prompts just for kids
Thirty-something Chase was home for the weekend and going through a box of memorabilia when he came across a journal given to him by his third-grade teacher. Each Monday, she’d given the class a journal prompt, and asked them to write their thoughts.
As Chase sat in the living room reading each entry (written in decidedly third-grade handwriting) out loud, his whole family was filled with both laughter and nostalgia as they listened to his elementary school perspective on his life.
You can create this same kind of record for a kid you love as well—and you don’t have to wait until they are thirty to find the answers endearing and hilarious. Either give them a prompt and have them write the answer, or ask the question and record the answers yourself
Here are 30 prompts to discover a child’s perspective:
- How does money work?
- What have your friends been up to?
- What’s the silliest thing you could write on this page?
- What makes you feel brave?
- What makes you feel curious?
- What do you like best for breakfast?
- What do you love about your favorite movie (or book)?
- If you started a business, what would it be?
- If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy?
- If you were going to invent a recipe, what would you invent?
- If you could be invisible, where would you go?
- If you could make up a new color, what would you call it?
- What question do you want to ask your pet? (And what do you think they would say?)
- What will your room look like when you grow up?
- What do you think is super gross?
- What did you do this weekend?
- What is your favorite thing about yourself?
- If you could be an animal, what kind of animal would you like to be?
- What is your superhero name? What powers do you have?
- What was the best gift you ever received?
- Write (or tell me) about a dream you had.
- What do you remember from when you were really little?
- What kinds of games do you like to play?
- What is your favorite joke?
- If there was something you never ever had to do again, what would that be? Why?
- If you had to eat the same food every day for the rest of your life, what would you pick? Why?
- What are you really, really good at? What do you love about it?
- What is your favorite thing to talk about with your friends?
- What are you looking forward to?
- What does mommy (or daddy) do at work?
How to use a journal jar
We’ve explored a lot of different types of journal prompts, but what if you’re not sure what topic you want to write about?
Or maybe you saw a question in one of these lists that scared you a little, or made you uneasy. You know it would do you some good to sit with that question, but you’re not quite sure you have the courage, and need a way to trick yourself into it.
A journal jar is the perfect solution in both of these scenarios. (It’s also a great way to cultivate a spirit of adventure!)
No, it’s not a jar that you write on (although you could). A journal jar is simply a container filled with little scraps of paper that have journal prompts written (or printed) on them. It can be as simple as a plain mason jar full of handwritten ideas, or—if you know that buying or making a pretty jar and using beautifully pre-printed or hand-crafted slips of paper for your prompts will propel you to use it—you can make it as fancy as you like. (Check out some of the journal jars on Etsy for inspiration.)
**Free Bonus: Click here to download all 301+ journal prompts in one handy PDF. **
P.S. The prompts in the PDF are intentionally spaced to make them easy to cut out and put them in your journal jar.
Simply place your journal prompts in the jar, and make it a practice to pull one out every day. The only rule is that you have to use the prompt—whatever’s on that piece of paper is what you’ll write about that day.
If you’re going for a scrapbook feel, you can paste the prompt into your journal and add some simple illustrations to pretty up each entry. You can also save the prompts to use again when your jar is empty, or discard them in favor of choosing new ones later.
We’ve given you 301+ journal prompts to get you started, but there are so many more out there.
Go ahead and tell me. What did I miss?
Yes, this is an enormous list—but everyone journals for different reasons. It’s important to find and use prompts that are aligned with the kind of journaling you most want to do.
Do you have a prompt not already listed here that you love? Please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear what inspires you to write in your journal!
My goodness Cathy, you’ve been working really hard to find all those prompts. What a great collection. And really useful too.
Amazing ideas. Thank you for your hard work and staying obedient to your Higher power
Amazing Thank you very much for your hard work
Thank you so much! From a new journalist.
Yes No Wheel
I love journal prompts that encourage freedom and insight. This one is no exception! I’m looking forward to trying out some of the ideas.