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Could Journal Prompts Help Tell Your Story?

By Novelist and Books Writer Denise Turney

crop woman writing down notes in diary
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Several years ago, I started using Journal Prompts to do something that has opened up a world of advantage. It’s simple. What is it? As each year closed out, I began to sit down and reflect on previous decisions, actions and their results. Gone went the guesswork and assuming that performance in one or more areas of my life were better over the course of a year than they actually were.

Journal Prompts Gains

Here are just a few facts that surfaced as I continued to work with Journal prompts:

  • Clearly saw how dietary choices were keeping me stuck at a weight that was 15 pounds over where I wanted to be
  • Spotted book marketing platforms that never did generate more than 1 to 2 book sales with each ad that I bought
  • Noticed periods when I’d gone several weeks without connecting with family and friends
  • Identified freelance writing work areas that demanded more and more of my time to the point that the time commitment lowered my pay-per-hour significantly

These were just a few facts that jumped out at me after I started using journal prompts. Keep reading to discover what I do today to get even more out of working with journal prompts and how journal prompts could help you.

Start Small as a Startup Journal Writer

If you’ve never worked with journal prompts, consider starting out by using a journal to write about your dreams. Although you could write down life goals in a journal, as it regards writing down your dreams in this instance, it’s dreams that surface during REM sleep that’s being referenced. A benefit associated with this habit is directly related to internal guidance.

Specifically, preconscious and subconscious thoughts and ideas surface during dreams that you have while you’re experiencing REM sleep. As you work with symbols from the dreams, you can gain insight into what you’re focusing on. For example, if you’re feeling frustrated that your startup business isn’t generating enough revenue to allow you to quit your day job, you might constantly think about ways that the startup could make more money only to see nothing change.

On top of nothing changing, you might not receive any ideas that help your startup. Instead, everything you do seems to take you in one circle after another. Even if you ask yourself a question like “what can I do to increase the startup’s revenues?” before you go to bed, your dreams might remain centered around caring for a farm that your grandparents own.

Pay Attention – Practice Awareness While Journaling

Pay attention and you could discover what another or, perhaps a deeper, part of you wants to do. Until you deal with your grandparents’ farm, your mind might not start focusing on finding ways to increase revenues at the startup. This is just one case where journaling could surface internal conflicts and help you to do the inner work to get unstuck.

Another action that you could take is to engage in daily journaling. It’s during daily journaling, that you can express experiences that generate strong emotions like excitement, peace, fear, hope, sorrow and contentment in you. And, just writing down conversations, deadlines and experiences, could help you to avoid feeling unheard, stuck and caught in a web of frustration.

In fact, some therapists encourage their clients to journal. Try it and see if you feel more open after you write down the details of what’s bothering you. Get in the habit of daily journaling and you could feel safer to honestly express yourself, whether you’re using journals or speaking with someone face-to-face.

Focal Journal Writing Areas

Here are focal areas that you could use as journal prompts:

  • Family relationships (how often you spend with family face-to-face, not virtually)
  • Personal relationships (different ways that you express appreciation to friends, your romantic partner)
  • Physical health (if your weight is within a healthy range, annual wellness assessment numbers, how often you do cardio each week)
  • Mental and emotional health (results of your efforts to get outdoors in nature 5 to 7 days a week, effectiveness of techniques to reduce the time and energy you spend worrying or trying to figure nearly everything out, how you’re doing with meditating and allowing your mind to rest)
  • Marketing goals (Use these journal prompts if you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur. Write down your marketing goals and the results of your all of your marketing efforts, this includes ads, SEO efforts, podcasts, videos and interviews.)
  • Finances (Separate personal and business budgets. Reference bank statements and other financial records so that you can get an honest look at what you’re taking in versus your expenditures.)

Be patient and take your time with these journal prompts. Do a thorough work and it could take you several days to complete these types of end-of-year journal prompts.

Working With Journals

When I started working with journal prompts, the rose-colored glasses came off. What I wrote disallowed me to defend poor decisions with rationalization.

Today, in addition to using journal prompts, I review journal prompt goals, focus, resources and outcomes. To get more out of this effort, I place end-of-year prompts, goals, focus areas and outcomes side-by-side. Each year that I’ve done this, one or more areas have surprised me. But, there it is – what I’ve done over 365 days – right in my face.

For instance, journal prompts have highlighted areas where outcomes exceeded expectations. Other areas showcased that, despite long hours, financial investment and belief, different results were coming up short, which brings up a good point.

If you’re like me, there may be instances when you just don’t want to face facts. You might not want to examine what’s really going on in your personal life, your business, with your physical health or with your thought patterns. Journaling, including daily journaling and working with journal prompts, could prove to be an easy way to lower your defenses and finally face important facts.

Why? You’re in control of your journaling practice. However, you’re encouraged to practice self-discipline. The more disciplined you are, the more could surface from within yourself as it regards relationships, finances, communication, health, life goals and so much more.

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