130 Journal Writing Prompts by Thomas W.P. Slatin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.tomslatin.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.tomslatin.com/legal/copyright/.

  • Name something you lost or gave away that can never be replaced.
  • What 5 websites do you visit often, and why?
  • Name a totally useless possession and how you came to acquire it.
  • What music album would be used for a movie about your life?
  • List your bad habits and/or addictions and what you have tried to rid yourself of them.
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be, and what would you do if later on you changed your mind?
  • What are your religious beliefs?  Have they changed, or have they always stayed the same?
  • When was your last food craving, and what did you crave?
  • Who was your first crush and what made them special?
  • Name your most cherished childhood memory.
  • Turn to an entry in your journal or diary from a year or more ago.  What has changed and what has stayed the same since then?
  • What is one thing nobody knows about you because nobody ever cared to ask?
  • Robert Frost write a poem titled The Road Not Taken.  Name a road you’ve always wanted to travel.  Where do you hope it takes you, and what might you see on the way?
  • Name one thing you always wanted to do, but haven’t.  What has prevented you from doing it?
  • Write about your first kiss.  Was it everything you wished or hoped it would be?
  • What was the worst mistake or decision you have ever made in life?  What could you have done differently?
  • What song was stuck in your head recently, and what were you doing at the time that made you think of it?
  • Describe 5 things you want to see or do before it’s too late.
  • Write about something you now know that you wish you knew earlier in life.  How could this knowledge have helped you?
  • Write about your greatest fear.
  • Name one thing you feel brings out the good in people.
  • Describe a time in your life when everything turned out fine, despite the odds.
  • If you invented a device that could fix one problem you are facing right now, would you use it?  What problem would you like to solve?
  • Write about the last time you spoke to your best friend.  What did you talk about?
  • Describe a time you felt alone.
  • Name something you found; what was it and where did you find it?
  • What’s on your calendar for tomorrow?
  • What is the most annoying sound you have ever heard?
  • Describe your first job.
  • What is the one thing you cannot live without?
  • Quote the nicest thing anyone has ever said about you.
  • Are you afraid of the dark?  Why or why not?
  • Describe the longest amount of time you have ever been away from home.
  • Write about a recent adventure or travels.
  • Who did you idolize growing up?
  • Name a celebrity or famous person you wish would take you out on a date.
  • Describe your daily routine when you get out of bed in the morning.
  • What was the longest amount of time you have spent waiting on line for something?  What was it, and was it worth the wait?
  • Name one thing you have always been good at doing.
  • What is your favorite season, and why?
  • What was the title of the last book you read?
  • List your biggest regrets.
  • Have you ever seen a ghost?
  • Describe your note-taking style and habits.
  • Do you believe that we are all here for a reason?  What might the reason be?
  • What comes to mind when someone uses the phrase prolonging the magic?
  • Have you ever done something just to feel the danger, or to feel alive?
  • What is your favorite cliché?
  • What are all your thoughts on god?
  • How do rainy days make you feel?
  • What is the most amount of money you have had at one time?
  • Write a celebrity crush list.
  • What is the most amazing thing you have ever seen, heard, or experienced?
  • What effect does music have on you?
  • What did you learn today?  What did you learn yesterday?
  • What 5 traits do people first notice when they meet you for the first time?
  • Have you ever carved your name or initials into a tree or stone?
  • Democracy, communism, or socialism?  Defend your choice.
  • Does Never Never Land really exist?
  • Where is a great place to get breakfast?
  • List 3 things that went right (or wrong) today.
  • What is the best method of travel, and in what ways have you traveled?
  • If you could give the world just one thing, what would it be?
  • What were your best and worst subjects in school or college?
  • Describe the most outrageous thing anyone has dared you to do.
  • Ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?
  • What historical events happened the year you were born?
  • Pick up a random object that has special meaning to you and describe it in as much detail as possible.
  • Write about a recent visit to a museum or art gallery.
  • What food items do you consider staples in a well-balanced diet?
  • Describe your feelings in regards to an issue in todays society, and what would be done to fix it.
  • If you had only one wish, what would you wish for?
  • If you could tell the world just one thing, what would you say?
  • Share a dirty little secret about yourself (or someone else).
  • Name a time when you broke a rule or law.  Did you get caught, or did you get away with it?
  • Have you ever gone skinny dipping?
  • Name something you would like to devote more time to seeing or doing.
  • What is the name of your favorite book, magazine, or publication?
  • Describe your first car.
  • Thunderstorms… Inspiring or scary?

 

50 More Journal Writing Prompts are here.

Creative Commons License
130 Journal Writing Prompts by Thomas W.P. Slatin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.tomslatin.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.tomslatin.com/legal/copyright/.

262 thoughts on “80 Journal Writing Prompts

    1. Don’t get ahead of yourself; check your post for a typo and pronoun use: It’s posts like THESE that makes ME want to be an English teacher.

      1. Yes, she forgot to put “me” in her comment, but she is correct in using “this”. It is posts like (similar to) this (one). The “one” that I put in parenthesis is implied

          1. It’s posts like these that evoke the best comments and discussion! Thanks for inspiring me to write more posts! Please… Keep the comments and discussion coming!

      2. Grammar trolls are boring, Dennis. Try and imagine internet comments as spoken words. We don’t get to revise. It will make you a happier person, I promise.

        1. Amanda,
          You are so correct. I have taught English for 30 years. I smiled when I read your post. Thank you!

  1. Outstanding website and delightful journaling exercises! I’ve been journaling for decades and your “80 Journal Writing Prompts” are wonderful paths for thoughful self-discovery.

  2. These are wonderful prompts for journaling or writing a short story/poem! I’ll definitely try these! 🙂

  3. Thanks for this informative post on journal entry topics. I was reading through them thinking to myself what could be written from my life for each topic. I think it is good when relevant information gets your mind thinking.

  4. Thanks for the journalling tips and i cannot live without hearing some hard bop music every day.

    1. If you have a blog, I’d be really interested in reading what you come up with, and possibly including links to the content somehow…

  5. I’m so glad I Stumbled Upon this!! This would be a great thing to write about!! Thanks!

  6. Hi! Just saw this and I wanted to do these as a challenge to myself to see how well I can keep up with this commitment. 🙂 Feel free to follow me on the freewebs site I’ve made for myself, and enjoy the responses to the prompts each and every day. 😀 Thank you!

    1. I hold a legal United States Copyright on the text of these prompts, not the ideas. I simply do not want the list copied anywhere else as eventually I plan to get this list published in book and/or ebook form.

  7. I have kept a journal every day for over a year now, and i have written about almost all of these things without even realizing what i have written, i reread the previous years for that day every day when i write.. its amazing how much differs, i like to see my growth, and that of those around me.

  8. Hi, I “stumbled” upon your list of writing prompts. They are excellent and unique as far as I am concerned. I have a blog and plan on using some of your ideas. I will be sure to link back to your site to give you credit for the ideas you inspire. Thanks for putting this out there for people like me who sometimes need a little help with ideas. Good luck with your endeavors!

    1. Great! I look forward to reading what you come up with! Be sure to let me know and thanks for giving me credit by linking back to this post!

        1. I will be having a book come out sometime this year (2011) with these and more, along with all-original photography to go with the prompts. An official announcement will be posted here at TomSlatin.com when it is published.

  9. Hi
    Your site was the first one that came up when I pressed Stumble. I’m writing a blog about using StumbleUpon and have linked back to this page. Hope that is okay.
    Great post by the way.
    Sandra

    1. Is that okay? Are you kidding me? Of course its okay! I love when folks mention my blog posts on other blogs! Let me know if I can be of any assistance with your writing.

      Thomas 🙂

  10. I would very much enjoy using most of these prompts for my journal on a social site & for a few videos of mine concerning trends for my ENFP personality type (MBTI/Jung personality theory). I would gladly mention your name & leave a link to here if that would be alright with you. 🙂

    1. This is fine, but credit must be given with a link to the original page. Please be respectful of the fact that these are legally copyrighted in the United States.

      Enjoy, and thanks for your interest!

      Thomas

    1. Here’s what I told someone a few moments ago… “This is fine, but like everyone else, you MUST provide links back to where you found it, and no more than ONE prompt per blog post. Thanks!” Enjoy. 🙂

    1. Yes, here’s the details:

      This is fine, but like everyone else, you MUST provide links back to where you found it, and no more than ONE prompt per blog post. Thanks!

      Thomas 🙂

  11. I’m emailing you to ask if I can use your “80 Journal Writing Prompts”. I graduated with my degree in English Education this past April. I’m currently a substitute teacher and hope to be a teacher with my own classroom in the next few years. Could I use some of the different prompts as appropriate in either the various classrooms I visit or even in my future classroom? I looked further down at some of the comments and noticed that you had written in response to several questions: “This is fine, but like everyone else, you MUST provide links back to where you found it, and no more than ONE prompt per blog post. Thanks!” When or if I used the prompts it would only be one at a time and I would provide a link back to your original posting. Let me know what you think. Thank you!

    1. Yes, this is absolutely okay. Because you are using these for educational
      reasons, I will not impose any limits on how many you can use at one time,
      so long as you provide a link and/or a mention of credit and a link or
      mention of my website along with them.

      Let me know if you need a signed release sent to you in the mail. And
      thank you for taking the time to contact me with this request!

      Thomas

      1. No problem. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!

        I appreciate the no limits – I’m already thinking of various ways I can use them in the classroom setting (one way I can think of right away is to put them on different pieces of paper and have students pick on and then write
        > on it). I will be sure to provide a link and credit your website whenever I do!

        I’m very excited to use them – they make me want to do some writing. I appreciate the resource you have given me and countless other bloggers, teachers, writers, etc. These prompts are the kind will push students to really write something authentic. Maybe someday I’ll have some of their writing to send you so you can see what your prompts produce.

        Thanks again!

        Hannah

  12. Hi Tom,

    I would love to have your permission to use the topics as a basis for blog entries when my mind goes blank and I’ve had a long day.

    Feel free to visit my blog and I will notify you when I use a prompt if given permission.

    Beka
    Beka recently posted..SANTA STORIESMy Profile

    1. I never said you or anyone could not use them, I simply stated that nobody would be allowed to copy and paste the entire list. They’re legally protected copyright and even though I have posted it online, it does not give anyone the right to plagiarize.

        1. Likely? They already have. I’ve reported at least 50 copyright violations from folks copying the entire list to their Tumblr accounts, without even giving me credit for it.

  13. Thank you so much for posting this list. I consider myself a writer, but sometimes I’m completely stumped when it comes to finding new topics. This list is perfect to challenge myself, think outside the box, and tap into thoughts that have not been thought in a while.

  14. Thank you for making these public! These are great prompts for adults and children. I would like to use some of your prompts as assignments for my blogging class as my students start their own blogs. I will be sure to only use one prompt at a time, and I will include an attribution to your site. Is it enough to to include the attribution in the prompt post, or should I have my students reference your site in their responses as well?

    1. You will need to have your students reference the site as well as yourself. Because this is for educational purposes, this is all that will be required in exchange for using these prompts. Thanks for your interest, and for asking!

  15. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything were this easy? an actual LIST of things to ‘write’ ahh……. Nice…huh?

  16. Q: Describe my first car.
    A: Harbor water green, the murky kind. Good ole’ Freddy, he never did let me down, unless I insisted on driving over 50 on the freeway. Loved that car and its ridiculous memories but hated it at the same time. A beat up, decrepit, nasty looking bmw from 92′, good year I know, I remember it well. I had just turned two…I thought it was funny. Any way it feels good to write, even about something so small.

  17. I loved these and so I’m slowly putting them on my blog. Of course there’s a source linking back to this post. Thank you so much for posting them, they’re so useful and inspiring, really. Much love from a little apprentice writter.

    1. Awesome! Thank you, and don’t forget to link back. I’m going to put together a master list of all the folks who have used these, but there is no particular deadline as of yet for this list.

  18. I have great respect for copyright laws and the intent behind them, so I ask for your permission to use all your prompts in my own personal journal. Thanks so much!

    1. You can absolutely use them in your own private journal (no permission needed). However, if you wish to post the questions one at a time publically, or share a copy of these with a friend, you must mention the source URL. Hope this helps.

      Enjoy!

    1. This is fantastic! Thanks so much for the mention. As for your blog post, I have a few comments, which I will leave for you on your blog…

  19. I’m very glad I found this list! So many lists of writing prompts are too childhood-centric or self-help-introspective-ish, but yours is balanced and fun. I’m looking forward to using many of these as starting points for writing practice.

  20. Pingback: Art | Pearltrees
  21. I love this post! Out of all of the writing prompts I’ve ever read, I find yours to be the most original and creative. Truly! Thought and care has gone into writing this list and it is evident. I’ll answer two of the writing prompts right here – favorite ice cream, VEGAN 🙂 and one thing I would tell the world, encourage and love one another, life is too precious to be any other way! Lisa Pellegrene www.officiallisapellegrene.com

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