Picture of a cup of tea and a journal

What to Write While Journaling When You Don’t Know What to Write

Every morning I wake up and get my tea and settle down to start journaling. I rarely have a day where I have absolutely nothing to write about. And if I do, I can just pull out one of the many, many journaling prompts I have stored up for just such an occasion.

You can get access to some of my journaling prompts by signing up for my super-secret page.

But what if you are in a place where you don’t have access to your journaling prompts. Perhaps you finally got a relaxing night away and it is just you, the fresh air, a warm beverage, and a notebook. You take a deep breath and open your notebook to the first blank page, poise your pen, and…nothing.

The page stays blank because you have no idea what to write about. In the moment of complete relaxation, your mind is as empty as the page. Or, if you’re anything like me, your mind is moving too fast for you to catch one thought and focus on it.

Ideas for Journaling

So, what do you write about in this case? Here are six ideas for you to get started, plus a bonus idea – one you probably won’t see coming!

Write about your ideal day. You might be living it right now! Put it down on paper and get detailed. Sometimes the details will lead you down a path you weren’t expecting. It’s OK if you stray from your original thought. That is where a lot of my magic happens, unexpectedly.

Write about your favorite memory. This idea might bring up people in your life that may not be around anymore for whatever reason. Exploring these memories might help you remember those people more vividly or remember something you had long forgotten – both good and bad. If it turns into a memory you would rather forget, go gently. You can move to another moment in that same memory or a different one if you don’t feel ready to face the bad just yet. If you want to tackle it, it might be especially important to return to happier thoughts before closing your journaling session.

Write about what it would feel like to achieve a long-term goal. What is a goal that you have dreamt about for a long time? What would it feel like to achieve it? Get as detailed as you can. What are you wearing? What time of day is it? Is it warm or cold? Are you inside or outside? Imagine you in that moment and try to feel it with your entire being.

Write about your favorite hobby. Why is it your favorite? How do you feel when you are in the middle of a hobby session? Again, get detailed.

Write about your day. If you’ve taken my journaling course, you know that journaling isn’t really about documenting your day. It is more about examining the feelings that come up during the day. But starting the page with just the facts can activate a feeling that you forgot and now you have the chance to dive in deep.

Write about your surroundings. Even if they seem boring. More than once, I began detailing the contents of my desk only to discover something amidst the pens and post-its that I need to examine.

All of these have the potential for unexpected discoveries. I often will start with a seemingly mundane entry and then somewhere around a half to two-thirds down the page, something juicy swirls my pen around. Give yourself the space and time to allow something magical to happen. But if it doesn’t, don’t get discouraged. It is more than OK to have mundane entries. Not every day will be magic. It’s a process. Trust in the process.

Bonus Idea

So, to the bonus idea.

Skip. Don’t write today.

Did you see that coming?

I suggest this with mild trepidation. If you are early on in your journaling practice, I don’t recommend this. But if you are to the point where you feel like your can trust yourself to easily come back to the page, there is no rule that says you have to journal every single day.

There has been a day or two here and there where I have missed. I just forgive myself and move on because my practice is designed around an every-day journaling routine. But my practice is not your practice, and you are in complete and total control of your journaling habit. If you feel comfortable skipping a day, then nobody’s going to stop you. Sit, relax, and enjoy the moment. Journal about this moment tomorrow.

Keeping these ideas around will help when the blank page is hard to fill, and you don’t have a prompt to help you get started. Give one a try the next time you need a little help putting your pen to the page.

Got a question about journaling? Contact me!

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