For more than 40 years, I lived on the East Coast, where seasonal shifts are quite obvious. However, for nearly 20 years, I’ve lived in California, where there are also seasonal shifts, but they’re not as jarring as those in colder climates. There are still days when we need to bundle up in ski jackets and scarves. There are also times when we’d rather be inside sipping a hot chocolate and sitting by the fireplace journaling than venturing outside. On those days, it’s great to have some journaling prompts available to spark the creative thought process.
Winter can also be an inspiration for change and a new way of doing and thinking about things.
Perhaps you made New Year’s resolutions or set intentions, so perhaps this is an ideal time to reevaluate them during your daily journaling practice.
There are many ways to dive into such a practice. I say practice, because like meditating, it’s good to do it every day. One way to journal is to engage in stream-of-consciousness writing, and the other type of journaling is directed by writing prompts. I will discuss both of them below.
Stream-of-consciousness writing, which I discuss in my book Writing for Bliss: Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life,occurs when writing continuously for 15 to 20 minutes. In this type of writing, you tap into your authentic voice, and this is the voice from which your best journaling will arise. Some people call this “free writing” or “automatic writing.” In other words, it flows regardless of where the words lead. Your pen keeps moving, or you keep tapping the keys on your keyboard. This is one way to release any thoughts in your subconscious mind or to let go of any inhibitions, which allows your creative side to step in.
Writing prompts are another excellent way to start writing, and it’s okay if you begin answering the question in the prompt and find your thoughts going in another direction. This might mean that there’s another subject that’s calling to you, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s all about finding your bliss through writing.
Here are some writing prompts to consider:
- Ponder how you’re feeling emotionally and physically right now.
- Think about your inspirations. Write about situations or individuals who inspire you and make you feel good.
- Practice mindfulness. Take about 30 minutes to just sit quietly with your eyes closed. Don’t speak to anyone or interact with any electronic devices. Think about yourself, your environment, and the people you regularly associate with. Now, write about your experience in that stillness. What did you notice? What thoughts were rummaging around in your mind? Did you focus on just one thing, or did your mind wander to different aspects of your life?
- Write about what you will do to nurture yourself in this new year, 2020. What brings solace to your body, mind, and spirit?
- In Chinese astrology, 2020 is the Year of the Rat, which is the first of all the zodiac animals. The rat represents the yang or the beginning of a new day. It symbolizes wealth, abundance, and fertility and is a reminder to remain flexible and open minded. It’s also about being on the lookout for opportunities to avail yourself of this year. How does this translate into something going on in your life at present?
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. A journal is the perfect place to express your gratitude for all the good things in your life. Many of us tend to journal when things aren’t going so well, but when you make a habit of noticing all that is positive around you, then you bring light, instead of darkness, into your life and the lives of those around you. As author Shakti Gawain once said, “The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” Expressing gratitude also offers hope and will bring a smile to your face. Write about the small things that make you happy.
- Develop your intuition. It has been said that intuitive people listen to the voices of their souls and follow their instincts. For some people, this is a developed skill, but for others it comes more naturally. Write down some questions or concerns you have going into 2020. Stop for a moment and look to your inner soul or higher self, and write down the answers. Try to write automatically, or use the stream-of-consciousness approach.