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German Writing Exercise: Keep A Diary Posted by Constanze on May 11, 2015 in Language

Guten Tag, liebe Freunde!

One of the things I’m really interested in at the moment is finding ways to integrate language learning into our daily lives, so that it feels more natural and we see progress with it more quickly. Sometimes I get asked “How can I make faster progress with my German?” and recently I was asked about how to practise writing in German, specifically.

This had me thinking. Listening, reading and speaking are all pretty diverse. You can use podcasts, audio tapes and films (listening), books, blogs and magazines (reading) and chat to other German speakers or learners (speaking). But writing is a strange one, because the most common options for language learners are rather restrictive: 1) Do some writing exercises from a textbook (which will most likely be tedious exercises like Write about your daily routine! or Tell me what you did on holiday! ) or 2) Find a penpal (e-pal?) to write letters to. Option 2 feels somewhat outdated and reminiscent of middle school German, and option 1 is not very inspiring, let’s be honest.

Schreib einfach ein Tagebuch!

Zuckersüß! Tagebucheintrag: Hotelbewertung - Gästefeedback der kleinen Anna

Tagebucheintrag: Diary entry. Photo by chiemseehotel on flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

My suggestion is to write a Tagebuch (diary) in German. Why would this work? Because it’s something you’re emotionally invested in, which makes it engaging, and because it’s privat (private), so the emphasis is on expressing yourself rather than writing things perfectly. You will strive to find the right Wörter (words) and Ausdrücke (phrases) to express yourself with, and in doing so you’ll have learnt new words without even realising it. You might not have written everything perfectly, but the feeling of Erreichung (achievement) you’ll have at the end of each Eintrag (post) will inspire you to write mehr und mehr (more and more), and that will, in turn, help to improve your German.

Think it’s a good idea? If you’re new to diary writing, then here are some ideas to get you started.

What to write about?

This is a list I found here : • Sie können schreiben, was um Sie herum passiert (you can write about what’s going on around you) • was Sie denken, (what you think) • was Sie fühlen, (what you feel) • was Sie mit anderen Menschen erleben, (what you experience with other people) • was Sie glauben, (what you believe) • was Sie hoffen, (what you hope for) • was Sie sich erträumen, (what you dream of) • welche Ziele Sie haben, (which goals you have) • welche Enttäuschungen Sie erleben, (what disappointments you experience) • was Sie ändern möchten, (what you’d like to change) • worüber Sie glücklich und dankbar sind, (what you’re happy and thankful for) • was Sie gelernt haben, (what you’ve learnt) • was Ihnen gefällt, (what you like) • was Sie nicht mögen, (what you don’t like) • über Veränderungen (about changes)

Tipp: Write exactly as you would in your own language, with your own style and your own personality. The challenge is to express yourself in German .

Tipp: If you can’t find the word for something in German, write ‘around’ it by describing it using words you do know, instead. Then look up the word later on in a dictionary. You won’t forget it again.

So now you’ve got an idea of what to write about, here are some basic words and phrases to help get you started with your German diary:

Date – Das Datum * The date format in German is as follows: Montag, der 11. Mai 2015 or Mittwoch, der 4. Oktober 2015 *

Dear Diary – Liebes Tagebuch

Today I am… – Heute bin ich… Today I was… – Heute war ich… Today I will… – Heute werde ich… I feel… – Ich fühle mich…

Mood – Die Stimmung/Die Laune

Happy – glücklich, froh                     (Very) good – (sehr) gut Content – zufrieden                     Nervous – nervös Sad – traurig                              Angry/annoyed – geärgert Thoughtful – nachdenklich                     Tired – müde Bored – gelangweilt                    Jealous – eifersüchtig Ill – krank                                Alone – allein Lonely – einsam                     Stupid – dumm/blöd Confused – verwirrt                     Ecstatic – ekstatisch Weird – seltsam/komisch                     Drunk – betrunken Hormonal – hormonell                     Restless – unruhig Relieved – erleichert                     Thankful – dankbar

because… – weil…

So a typical entry might start like this:

Montag, der 14. Juni 2015 Liebes Tagebuch Heute bin ich sehr verwirrt, weil…

Obviously it would be impossible to include everything you might say in a diary here, and all of the ways you could say it, so if you do have any specific requests for phrases, words and other diary-related vocabulary, just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you. As it’s such a personal thing I don’t want to tell you what you ‘should’ be writing, rather just help you along with it.

I hope you like this idea, and that you’ll try it as a way of improving your German writing skills. Let me know if you do decide to write a diary in German, or how it’s going if you already are. Do you think it’s a good idea? What other methods do you use to practise writing in German? How could we help you with it via this blog?

Constanze x

journal writing deutsch

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.

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Das ist ein sehr guter Ratschlag! Vielen Dank!

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@Nancy Sop Gerne! x

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Transparent Language:

Comment via email:

Vielen Dank. Great idea. I can see the value of privately experimenting with language. I’ve done this a few times and was surprised how much I remembered and could “write around. ” I found it very fulfilling, but it does take some effort. Well worth it and I think I’ll give it another try. Bis naechste mahl. RS

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That’s one great idea..!! Danke….

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Michaela Back:

Hallo! I am a native speaker and found this approach to German very very interesting. Just two things: 1. “Erreichung” isn’t really a word (at least I’ve never heard that). You’d say “das Gefühl etwas erreicht zu haben” (the feeling of having accomplished something). 2. The date format isn’t wrong, it’s just not very common to write it that way. Most of the time we’d write “14.5.15” or, if we want to be very specific “Montag, 14.5.2015”.

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Hi, thanks for the tip.

I did a little bit of thinking about how to practise writing myself and come up with a idea i’d like to share.

Get some popular TV series (german subtitles more likely) set in whatever you’d like to learn about (crimi – law, maybe more formal speech; sitcom – relationships, friends, more informal). Then just choose a sentence you want to translate, WRITE it down and correct yourself with the subtitles. You might phrase a bit differently and subtitles are not always 100% correct. But in most cases you’ll get the correct sentence or at least another option, how the same sentence could have been translated which you might have not even thought about. But it’s best to just go from sentence to sentence, so that you’re not skipping “the hard ones”.

And really, WRITE YOUR (and correct) TRANSLATION DOWN. Do not just say it. You’ll remember a lot less like that and won’t be able to take your notes with you.

Hope it helps, enjoy your language studies.

@VladCZ Brilliant idea! Thank you for sharing it! 🙂

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Thanks a lot for giving chance to learn German Language. I love to learn it. Very fantastic method.

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Marites Manila:

Hi Constanze! I am a Filipino nurse, presently studying German language. It is really hard to adopt a new language but it is very interesting to learn. Really i appreciate your tips just now i finish reading. Hope you can help me to study this language. It is hard for me, the word order, i mean the placement of the verbs & etc. Thank you so much & hope we can be friends. God bless you!

@Marites Manila Hey Marites! I’m glad you enjoyed the post! There’s loads of content here on the blog so I hope you’ll find everything you need. If not, just ask! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. All the best with learning German! 🙂 x

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Journal Writing

Writing in journals can be a powerful strategy for students to respond to literature, gain writing fluency, dialogue in writing with another student or the teacher, or write in the content areas. While journaling is a form of writing in its own right, students can also freely generate ideas for other types of writing as they journal.Teachers can use literature that takes the form of a journal by reading excerpts and discussing them with students.

On this page:

Grade-level modifications, differentiated instruction.

The figure below is a journal entry of a kindergarten student in a class of all Khmer speaking Cambodian Americans who were learning English. He copied the date from a small whiteboard in the Journal Center, drew a picture, and dictated an entry to his teacher who wrote the words for him in the lined spaces at the bottom.

Journal entry example

Writing in journals can be a powerful strategy for students to respond to literature, gain writing fluency, dialogue in writing with another student or the teacher, or write in the content areas. While journaling is a form of writing in its own right, students can also freely generate ideas for other types of writing as they journal. Teachers can use literature that takes the form of a journal by reading excerpts and discussing them with students. There are also books that focus on the idea of using diaries, journals, and logs to write about life experiences. Responding to students’ journals and using dialogue journals between the teacher and student can be an effective means of communication and assessment as well (Atwell, 1998).

English Language Arts Standard

5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Source: From “Standards for the English Language Arts,” by the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), 1996. Urbana, IL: IRA.

Introduce journal writing through reading aloud an illustrated picture book for younger students, or a chapter book for older students, that uses the journal or diary format. Discuss the book using aesthetic reader response questions and prompts, and model journal writing features: noting the date, using an interesting sentence starter for a journal entry, and mini-lessons on writing conventions.

Journal writing can be done at a set time during a class period or day, or students can write in journals sometime during the day. Monitor the latter through a checklist, noting whether or not students are writing in them. Journals can also be part of writing conferences with individuals or small groups. They can also be used to address writing conventions and questions and needs students may have about spelling, punctuation, word usage, or grammar. Students can choose to share what they have written, or they can share an idea from the journal that they would like to explore further with another type of writing (e.g., poetry, story, or letter). Journals can be used in conferences to discuss these other writing forms.

For example, students could write from the perspective of a personified character, such as an animal or other nonhuman, to personify, research, and learn more about the personified character, and they could write a fictionalized version of a diary. The same could be done with a historical figure or a fantasy creature. Students could put themselves in the place of the character they have learned about, personified, or imagined and write from their point of view.

Students could form pairs and personify, pick, or create characters that would have very different points of view. For example, two 5th grade students learning about the Civil War could work as a team and read about the lives of soldiers from the North and the South. They could discuss similarities and differences and each write a journal from the perspective of one of the soldiers, either a Yankee or a Rebel.

Students could do the same in groups, each writing a journal from the perspective of one person in a mutual context. For example, a 3rd grade class learning about world communities could write a journal about a single issue (e.g., the environment, from the point of view of a leader from one of several countries-the United States, China, India, a member of the European Union, Egypt, etc.). Students in a 6th-grade class learning about the ancient world could do the same from the perspective of an ancient Greek or Roman citizen.

Do a mini-lesson on point of view in writing and make a poster that students can refer to when writing.

Point of view

Point of view lets the reader know who is doing the writing. Most journal writing uses the first-person point of view, but other perspectives could also be used.

  • First-person: One character is writing, using I
  • Omniscient: The writing is from an all knowing perspective, where the author can see and report everything about all of the characters
  • Limited omniscient: The writer knows and reports all about one or more characters, but not about all of the characters
  • Objective: just the facts are told

K–2nd Grade

Introduce kindergarten or 1st-grade students to journaling by reading aloud a picture book, such as An Island Scrapbook: Dawn to Dusk on a Barrier Island (Wright-Frierson, 1998), or an illustrated book in a journal format for 2nd-grade students, such as Amelia’s Notebook . (Moss, 1995), and lead a discussion using aesthetic reader response questions and prompts: What was your favorite part of the journal? What would you write in a journal?

Record students’ responses on chart paper to model the journaling process. The chart could be titled “Our Class Journal” and the date added. Continue modeling with the class journal and have students take the pen and add to the entries using interactive writing until students are ready to begin their own journals.

Students who are just beginning to write can also go to a Journal Center, which would include multiple copies of a blank frame for drawing and writing a journal entry that could be kept in a file box. The day’s date could be written on a sentence strip or a small whiteboard in the center. Beginning writers can go to the center, copy the date, draw a picture, write, or have someone else take dictation and write for them-perhaps an aide, a classroom volunteer, a more capable peer, or an older student in another grade who spends time assisting in the class. Each student who uses the Journal Center can keep his or her journal entry in a manila file folder labeled with their name. They can also choose to share journal entries during time for sharing with the class.

Recommended children’s books

  • Amelia’s Notebook (opens in a new window) , by Marissa Moss
  • An Island Scrapbook: Dawn to Dusk on a Barrier Island (opens in a new window) , by Virginia Wright-Frierson
  • A North American Rainforest Scrapbook (opens in a new window) , by Virginia Wright-Frierson

3rd Grade–5th Grade

Read Diary of a Worm (Cronin, 2003) aloud. Diary of a Worm is a fictional daily journal of a personified worm, revealing some of the good news and bad news about being a worm. The good news is he never has to take a bath. The bad news is he can never do the hokey pokey. The book models journal writing with humor. Lead a discussion using aesthetic reader response questions and prompts: What do you think of the things the worm wrote about in his diary? What would you write about in your diary?

Record students’ ideas on a cluster chart titled “Our Journal Ideas.” Next, conduct a mini-lesson on sentence starters to write an interesting journal. Ask students if they were struck by any sentence starters in Diary of a Worm that made the journal exciting and fun to read. Make a list on chart paper or a whiteboard. Re-read sections of the book to find more and add to the list. Take suggestions from students for other interesting sentence starters for a journal. Make a poster titled “Journal Sentence Starters” that students may refer to with the list of sentence starters from Diary of a Worm and their own suggestions.

Provide students with their own journals: a bound notebook, lined paper in a three-hole binder, or lined paper stapled together. Students can make and decorate a journal cover. Students can write in journals at a designated time during the day, or anytime during the day, but should write daily. Collect a text set of books that use the diary or journal format and do a book talk to introduce each one-provide a brief summary and read an excerpt aloud. Students may read these independently, or they may choose one for a book club group.

  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 (opens in a new window) , by Joan Bios
  • Dog diaries: Secret writings of the WOOF society (opens in a new window) , by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
  • Diary of a Worm (opens in a new window) , By Doreen Cronin
  • My Side of the Mountain (opens in a new window) , By Jean Craighead George
  • The Private Notebook of Katie Roberts, Age 11 (opens in a new window) , by Amy Hest
  • Hey World, Here I Am (opens in a new window) , by Jean Little
  • Turtle summer: A Journal for My Daughter (opens in a new window) , by Mary Alice Monroe
  • Z for Zachariah (opens in a new window) , by Robert C. O’Brien
  • Diary of the Boy King Tut Ankh Amen (opens in a new window) , by June Reig
  • The Bittersweet Time (opens in a new window) , by Jean Sparks Ducey
  • Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe (opens in a new window) , by Vera B. Williams

English language learners

Journals offer many English language development strategies for ELLs. Journaling taps into each student’s prior experience and knowledge and is therefore context-embedded communication. Students can also write in their primary language. Use visuals through graphic organizers by recording students’ ideas for journal writing and do a mini-lesson on sentence starters using a poster to be displayed in the classroom.

Journal Sentence Starters

  • Today is … (use date displayed in the room)
  • Today I … will, feel, need, did, want, saw, heard, played, sang…
  • I … want to, wish I had, went to, used, read, wrote, watched…

Dialogue journals are also useful with ELLs. The students can write in either a home language or English, or both. More proficient English speakers can respond in English. Then, you or another student can write in the journal to create a written dialogue.

Dialogue journals can also be used at home with family members. Students take a journal home and have a family member write in the journal in English or the home language, or students can read what they have written in the journal, a family member can listen and respond, and the student can note in writing in the journal what the family member said. This increases home–school connections and social interaction, leading to language development for ELLs.

Struggling students

Model journal writing using a graphic organizer. Students can be provided with a one-page blank frame that has a fill-in for the date: Today is …. Take dictation or do a class journal writing interactively (see Interactive Writing) or in small groups. Students can also do an oral journal entry and have another student write what they say and read it together, checking for writing conventions.

The journal itself becomes a valuable, ongoing record of a student’s development in writing over a semester or school year.

If journal writing is required on a regular schedule (e.g., three days a week or every day), students can record the date of each journal entry on a checklist that can be kept in the front of the journal-so the number and dates of the entries can be seen at a glance. Students could also download a blank calendar for each month and check off the days they made a journal entry.

Students can bring journals to teacher conferences if there are ideas they would like to share, or discuss writing options, or if they have questions about writing conventions.

Trueit, T. S. (2005). Keeping a journal. Danbury, CT: Children’s Press.

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Atwell, N. (1998). In the middle (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Cox, C. (2012). Literature Based Teaching in the Content Areas. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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  • 06 November 2023

‘ChatGPT detector’ catches AI-generated papers with unprecedented accuracy

  • McKenzie Prillaman

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

You have full access to this article via your institution.

A person using ChatGPT on a laptop computer.

A new AI detection tool can accurately identify chemistry papers written by ChatGPT. Credit: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa via Alamy

A machine-learning tool can easily spot when chemistry papers are written using the chatbot ChatGPT, according to a study published on 6 November in Cell Reports Physical Science 1 . The specialized classifier, which outperformed two existing artificial intelligence (AI) detectors, could help academic publishers to identify papers created by AI text generators.

“Most of the field of text analysis wants a really general detector that will work on anything,” says co-author Heather Desaire, a chemist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. But by making a tool that focuses on a particular type of paper, “we were really going after accuracy”.

The findings suggest that efforts to develop AI detectors could be boosted by tailoring software to specific types of writing, Desaire says. “If you can build something quickly and easily, then it’s not that hard to build something for different domains.”

The elements of style

Desaire and her colleagues first described their ChatGPT detector in June, when they applied it to Perspective articles from the journal Science 2 . Using machine learning, the detector examines 20 features of writing style, including variation in sentence lengths, and the frequency of certain words and punctuation marks, to determine whether an academic scientist or ChatGPT wrote a piece of text. The findings show that “you could use a small set of features to get a high level of accuracy”, Desaire says.

journal writing deutsch

How ChatGPT and other AI tools could disrupt scientific publishing

In the latest study, the detector was trained on the introductory sections of papers from ten chemistry journals published by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The team chose the introduction because this section of a paper is fairly easy for ChatGPT to write if it has access to background literature, Desaire says. The researchers trained their tool on 100 published introductions to serve as human-written text, and then asked ChatGPT-3.5 to write 200 introductions in ACS journal style. For 100 of these, the tool was provided with the papers’ titles, and for the other 100, it was given their abstracts.

When tested on introductions written by people and those generated by AI from the same journals, the tool identified ChatGPT-3.5-written sections based on titles with 100% accuracy. For the ChatGPT-generated introductions based on abstracts, the accuracy was slightly lower, at 98%. The tool worked just as well with text written by ChatGPT-4, the latest version of the chatbot. By contrast, the AI detector ZeroGPT identified AI-written introductions with an accuracy of only about 35–65%, depending on the version of ChatGPT used and whether the introduction had been generated from the title or the abstract of the paper. A text-classifier tool produced by OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, also performed poorly — it was able to spot AI-written introductions with an accuracy of around 10–55%.

The new ChatGPT catcher even performed well with introductions from journals it wasn’t trained on, and it caught AI text that was created from a variety of prompts, including one aimed to confuse AI detectors. However, the system is highly specialized for scientific journal articles. When presented with real articles from university newspapers, it failed to recognize them as being written by humans.

Wider issues

What the authors are doing is “something fascinating”, says Debora Weber-Wulff, a computer scientist who studies academic plagiarism at the HTW Berlin University of Applied Sciences. Many existing tools try to determine authorship by searching for the predictive text patterns of AI-generated writing rather than by looking at features of writing style, she says. “I’d never thought of using stylometrics on ChatGPT.”

But Weber-Wulff points out that there are other issues driving the use of ChatGPT in academia. Many researchers are under pressure to quickly churn out papers, she notes, or they might not see the process of writing a paper as an important part of science. AI-detection tools will not address these issues, and should not be seen as “a magic software solution to a social problem”.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-03479-4

Desaire, H., Chua, A. E., Kim, M.-G. & Hua, D. Cell Rep. Phys. Sci. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2023.101672 (2023).

Article   Google Scholar  

Desaire, H. et al. Cell Rep. Phys. Sci . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2023.101426 (2023).

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How to Journal

Your complete guide to getting started with journaling.

Do you want to learn how to journal, but are unsure where to start?  Or you want to know what to write in a journal?  Maybe you’ve heard of creative journaling and are curious what it is? Perhaps you’re a writer and want to journal to deepen your craft?

This comprehensive “How to Journal” article will answer all of your questions about journal writing. For example, what journal writing is, how you can use it, and what benefits you can experience from this type of writing.  It also includes many journal writing prompts to help you get started. Lastly, while journal writing is typically a solitary act, you don’t have to journal alone or in isolation.  This article will tell you where you can get some help and support for your journal writing, including being part of a journal writing community or group.

journal writing deutsch

This Article Covers:

What is Journal Writing?

What can i use journaling for.

  • How to Journal – What are the Benefits?
  • Getting Started with Journaling
  • Creating a Journal Writing Ritual
  • How to Journal – What To Write?
  • How Often Should I Write in my Journal?

Do You Need to Write Regularly in a Journal?

  • How To Journal Consistently –  Creating the Journaling Habit
  • How to Journal – What Help and Support Can I Get?
  • In Conclusion

image of person learning how to journal

Before we talk about how to journal, let’s look at what journaling is.

Journal Writing is the practice of taking time for yourself to write and reflect on your thoughts, feelings and life experiences.  There are many suggestions for how to journal and what to write about. However, the beauty of journal writing is you can do it in your own way. This means you can really make it your own creative and life enhancing practice.

There are lots of people who write in a journal.  I recently heard that 16% of the world’s population regularly writes in a journal. You could loosely test this claim yourself by asking a group of friends or family if they write in a journal and see what percentage say yes.

Each person will give a slightly different answer when asked, “What is journaling?” But in essence, journaling is the simple and profound act of capturing and understanding our lives through expressive writing and story. Expressive writing includes writing about our thoughts and feelings while gaining self-awareness and new discoveries along the way. Journaling is all about exploring and enriching life through narrative, words and creative self-expression through writing.

Journaling is…

  • a powerful tool for personal growth, self-discovery, improved health and creative self-expression
  • a fun and creative life enhancing practice
  • used by many successful people, including Oprah and Jack Canfield (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul books), to achieve success in life and work

“Journal writing is one of the rare forms of writing in which freedom of form and content support each other magically.”   –  Stephanie Dowrick

You can use journal writing to get to know yourself better, solve problems, make life decisions, improve your health and increase feelings of gratitude and joy.  Journaling can also help you heal from stressful life circumstances, deal with grief and loss, or other life transitions. Or just journal for the pure love it!

Journaling is a fun, nourishing and creative practice that simply requires something to write with and write on. Whether it’s a pen and notebook, loose paper, cue cards, you get to choose your journaling tools!

People use journal writing in different ways for a variety of reasons. One person might journal to heal a broken heart writing an unsent letter sharing what they wish they’d said to that person.  Someone else might journal to celebrate their accomplishments and make a list of their recent successes in their journal.

There are also a wide variety of journaling methods and techniques to get the most out of your journaling. You can use it for whatever matters most to you at this time in your life.

How to Journal – What are the Benefits?

There are many evidence-based benefits of journal writing from over 30 years of research in the expressive writing field.  Yes, journal writing is a field of work!

People use the journaling process for many reasons, including to:

  • stimulate a healthier mind and body
  • vent and express thoughts and feelings in a healthy, constructive manner
  • increase self-awareness
  • create clarity for decision-making
  • track progress and personal growth
  • celebrate successes
  • heal emotional pain and trauma
  • increase self-care
  • manage stress and prevent burnout
  • gain broader and multiple perspectives
  • practice writing in a non-judgmental setting
  • improve creative thinking
  • preserve memories
  • get closer to God or a divine energy source

Today, journaling is widely accepted as a means for cultivating wellness as part of a whole person health approach. This includes the emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of well-being. Journaling is also being used across various disciplines, such as education, psychology, leadership, business, health, creative writing, coaching and counselling fields, as a powerful tool for learning and growth.

How to Journal – Getting Started

Get organized.

One of the first things to do when you start a journal is get your journaling tools organized.

It can be fun to pick out your favourite pen and an inspiring journal. Look online or go into any book, stationary or office supply store and you’ll find all kinds of journals, pens, markers and other things you might like to use in your journal such as stickers or other creative touches.

So over time, you can experiment with your journaling tools. Do you like blank pages or lined? Would you prefer a small journal or a large sketchbook style journal?  Would you use the same style journal or mix it up and try something new each time you begin a new one?

Sometimes people use loose leaf paper and put their journaling pages in a binder, or write small entries on cue cards. And some people even use big 18 x 24 pages of paper for larger visual journaling entries. You can create a mixed media art journal and much more.

Image of hand starting to write in journal

Just Write!

The key is to pick some simple journaling tools to start with – a pen and notebook – and just start writing.

Your writing will teach you what you need. For example, I used to write in a small lined journal and over the years, my writing longed for larger, open, clear spaces to fill. Now I use an 8 ½ by 11 blank page sketchbook, spiral bound and I keep my pilot pen in the spine of the journal.

Find your own tools and make your own way as you write. The only way to journal, is to write. And then write some more.

Whether you’re an avid journal writer, someone who journaled in the past, or have never written in a journal before:

“There is a Spanish proverb which says: there is no road, we make the road as we walk. I would say the same thing about journal writing: we make the path as we write.” Christina Baldwin

How to Journal – Creating Writing Rituals

What is a journaling writing ritual.

Dr. James Pennebaker, author of Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma & Emotional Upheaval , suggests some conditions that help enhance the expressive writing process.  His research shows that creating a journal writing ritual is very beneficial.

Being focused, non-judgmental, and connected to your interior world fosters deeper writing. But, it’s not a frame of mind that everyone can simply switch on and off.

The idea behind creating a ritual is to create a unique environment and/or behavior which helps you sink into the best journal writing mindset possible. The purpose of the ritual is to take you away from everyday life. Your ritual contains the cues you create for yourself which help you become relaxed, alert, and reflective.

How do you Create a Journal Writing Ritual?

Here are some suggestions, but remember, the ritual you create to transition into deeper journal writing is uniquely yours.

  • Select some music that creates a sense of serenity. Play it for five minutes, focusing on simply listening to the music. Consider closing your eyes. Do not read your mail or straighten out your desk! You may want to have just one piece of music you use each time as your centering pre-writing ritual. Or choose three or four pieces you love for some variety.
  • Begin with several minutes of a meditation or a prayer. You can write just for the occasion or create something spontaneously each time.
  • Brew a cup of tea or coffee, or pour yourself some fresh juice. Perhaps a glass of wine? Spend a few minutes holding the cup, feeling the warmth, smelling the aromas of your drink and deeply enjoy those sensations.

Write in an environment that’s inspiring for your journal writing

  • This could be by a bright and sunny window or a softly lit corner nestled in a cozy chair.
  • Light a candle and while lighting the candle say an affirmation, your intention or make a wish.

Journal at approximately the same time each day

  • This doesn’t have to be at the same hour each day, but it’s helpful if it’s at the same time in your daily routine. For example half an hour before bed, which will work whether you go to bed at 10pm or at midnight.

The trick, of course, is to find the cues that help you settle in quickly. Initially, experiment with different rituals to see which feels best and then stick with the practice once you’ve found one you like. Remember to use as many of your senses (smell, sight, touch, hearing and taste) as you can when creating your centering ritual.

Image of woman journaling to create a ritual for how to journal article

How to Journal – What To Write

You can write about anything you want to write about. For example write about your day including your thoughts, feelings, problems, challenges, upsets, joys, successes and dreams. Here are some journaling prompts to help you get started:

  • Right now, I am feeling…
  • In the moment, I notice…
  • Currently, I am thinking about…
  • So far, the best part about my week is…

You can also write about what you don’t want to write about—and explore your resistance!

Resistance offers you information about where you’re feeling stuck, perhaps procrastinating, or simply not quite sure how to proceed. Here are some journaling prompts to play with around resistance:

  • At the moment, I don’t really want to write about (and then write about it anyways)…
  • I am feeling resistant because…
  • If I wasn’t feeling resistant, what might be different in my life right now…

You can free write (simply go to the page and start writing) or you can do more structured journal writing activities such as using prompts.

There are many other journal writing techniques and methods such as mind maps, cluster drawings, dialogue writing, captured moments, poetic writing and more that you can learn about and use to keep your journal writing fresh and interesting.

Access our free 7 Servings of Journal Juice for new ideas on what to write about in your journal. And you’ll also receive journal writing prompts, exercises, tips and our inspiring Journaling Museletter .

How To Journal – How Often Should I Write

There are no rules about how often you should write in your journal. Like anything, the more often you do something that’s good for you, the more benefits you get from it. I doubt you would go for one walk around the block and expect to experience significant health benefits from it.

The same is true for journaling. While that one walk would have offered you ‘in the moment’ benefits like time to relax, feeling good from moving your body, fresh air and more, the same is true for journaling.

You could gain a sense of relief, renewal and replenishment from just 10 minutes of writing about your thoughts, feelings and life observations.

Journal Regularly

Much like any other activity that’s good for you like brushing your teeth, meditating or eating a healthy diet, journaling can also be done regularly. Journaling makes a great healthy daily habit.

Set a Timer

I often facilitate timed journal writing exercises in workshops and retreats that I offer. It’s a core part of my Transformational Writing for Wellness Salon , a 6 week group coaching program that takes people into the heart and art of transformational journaling.

So often people say, “I can’t believe how much I wrote in just 5 minutes” or “I can’t believe I gained new insights when I just wrote for 7 minutes!”

Journaling to Cope

Many people only write in their journals when they are going through difficult times. Then once things are going better, they stop writing. This is also a valuable way to use your journal as a life companion to help you cope during stressful or troubled times.

The key is not to get too caught up in “shoulds”: I should journal today, I should journal more often. That’s because ‘shoulds’ can open the door for negative self-talk and feelings of inadequacy and shame. Instead, your journaling practice is best treated like a kind friend. You journal because you want to, and because it’s an enjoyable, or at least helpful, relaxing experience.

It’s a question that most journal writers face at some point. Does it matter if you write often in your journal? Well, whether you write regularly depends on your purpose for writing. Is it to preserve memories? To sort out issues? To track physical or emotional, spiritual, or intellectual progress? Track health symptoms?

If journal writing is pleasurable, then writing is its own reward. If journal writing becomes a task you “should” do, rather than something you enjoy, then you’ll write less consistently.

So part of the issue can be reframed by asking, ”How do I make journal writing pleasurable?” The answer to this question will help you find your own way to make journaling a consistent and enjoyable habit.

How To Journal Consistently –  Creating the Journaling Habit

Think of writing a journal entry as the lowest cost and highest benefit way of taking care of your health. Remember that writing about meaningful events or activities in your life has been proven to positively impact your overall health without major cost of time or money and without having to leave your home!

If you do want to write in your journal on a regular basis and truly create the journaling habit, here are a few ideas to help you keep writing consistently:

Make your journal writing more upbeat

  • Review the good things that have happened in your day—your attitude, your progress toward a goal, a minor victory, even a two-minute interaction with someone that went well.
  • Remind yourself about the good stuff in your life and your good qualities.

Write when you have difficult issues in your life that need to be resolved

  • Who doesn’t experience difficult times? Consider the time that you write in your journal as an oasis of self-nurturing in your day. It’s a time to vent, rant, reflect, and process just for you.

If possible, write at the same time every day

  • Incorporate your writing practice into a daily routine.

Make it short and fun!

  • Write a one-word journal entry that captures your day.
  • It’s a challenge to come up with that one word. You can think about it while you are doing some mindless life maintenance activity—like flossing your teeth, taking out the garbage, or folding clothes.
  • Then once you’ve determined that word, writing your journal entry takes almost no time.

Back to the question: Does it really matter that you write consistently?

Writing consistently helps you maintain your journaling practice. It means that when you re-read your journal, there are enough entries to have meaning and flow.

Your ability to write consistently in your journal will be determined by how you feel and doing what’s right for you. So, while you’re writing and when you finish, notice how you feel.

  • Did you like the process?
  • Were you feeling relaxed and soothed during or after writing?
  • Did you feel at times frustrated, angry, confused, despairing?

This whole spectrum of emotions is simply part of the process of journal writing. I know that I feel better most of the time after I write – like I’ve released a burden or relived a pleasurable part of my day.

How to Journal – What Help and Support Can I Get?

One of the best ways to learn more about how to journal is with the support of a like minded community. When we join with fellow journal writers there are regular opportunities to connect, learn and be inspired about journaling. People who like yoga connect in yoga communities, and the same is true for meditation, scrapbooking, running and more. There is a human instinct to find supportive communities who share our passion or interest, so we can learn and grow together.

At the IAJW, our journal writing community is for extroverts and introverts alike. Perhaps you want the inspiration and support of a community, but would rather sit back quietly and take it all in. Or maybe you want to chat with fellow journal writers live on our monthly Zoom Chats with guest experts. You can gain regular  help and support for your unique approach to journal writing.

People journal writing in group for how to journal article

Join our Online Journal Writing Community

We know there is power in community. So come join fellow journal writers in the International Association for Journal Writing ! We offer a learning and inspirational community for journal writers worldwide. Access monthly online writing circles, interviews with guest experts in the field of journaling and expressive writing, courses, journaling tools, e-books and much more.

We also have our Journal Writing Facebook group . Connect with fellow journal writers, receive journal writing tips and prompts to support you on your unique journal writing journey. Everyone is welcome!

Treat Yourself to a Journal Writing Retreat

Lastly, you might want to join one of our virtual Renew You Writing Retreats . Take 3 hours for yourself to journal in a guided and nourishing way. Whether you want to kick-start or reinvigorate your journaling practice, this retreat gives you time for creative self-care and renewal!

“Wow! What an awesome experience! I must admit I was a tad bit skeptical about an online retreat. But woah! Was I wrong! The Renew You Writing Retreat was so invigorating, uplifting, therapeutic, inspirational….just plain awesomesauce. Have you ever had an experience like that? You go in a little skeptical and come out blown away? Have you had the experience of being deeply inspired through writing and sharing with others? If not, you’re missing out! Thank you, Lynda, for creating such a wonderful space and experience.” Airial W. Dandridge, Certified Life Coach

How to Journal – In Conclusion

If you’ve read this far, I know you’re passionate (or at least curious about) the many benefits of  journal writing. Journaling is an empowering experience because you’re always the expert of your own life. Journaling helps you explore both your inner and outer worlds and make sense of your life experience.

As a Registered Social Worker and Certified Co-Active Life Coach, I have been immersed in human transformation, growth, change and wellness for the past 30 years. I’ve learned many different tools and techniques for self-care, healing and growth through my studies and first-hand experience. Journaling is my go to practice that helps me live an intentional, healthy and happy life. And it has helped many people to do the same! Including you, perhaps?

There is only one way to experience the many benefits of journal writing—pick up your pen and write!

“Writing was the healing place where I could collect bits and pieces, where I could put them together again…written words change us all and make us more than we could ever be without them.” bell hooks

May your journaling support you to live an incredible life!

Authors :  Lynda Monk, Director of IAJW and Ruth Folit, Founder of IAJW , partnered to write this How to Journal article, attempting to answer some of the most common questions that new and, in some cases, even seasoned journal writers have.


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Such a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing!

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Thanks, Diana!

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I went to write lots bits to remember and copied it almost word for word in my common place book,but I love to write and am trying to get back into it,I’m writing for recovery from am 8yr relationship with a covert gaslighting narcissist,and I couldn’t write,let alone relax,I have been out for almost 2yrs,and when I start to feel joy or something didn’t work out and I’m hard on myself,I swear I can feel his presence in my house,he doesn’t know where I am,I left him and moved 2hr away in a different state,the feeling is almost overwhelming

Hi Dixie, personal writing can help heal from painful relationships. It’s great you are getting back into it!

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Thank you both Lynda and Ruth for this wonderfully informative resource. Never too old to learn something new! Thank you both for bringing this to us.

Thanks, Lyn. Glad it offered some new ideas!

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Great article Lynda! You’ve covered so many bases – lots of work, and very informative and knowledgeable as always :) Emma-Louise

Hi Emma, thanks for your kind feedback!

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You two put together a beautiful and accessible piece here. It’s filled with all the vast experience and love you have for journaling. Thanks, Beth

Thanks so much, Beth! Your feedback means a lot to us.

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Lynda, a beautiful gift to receive, words combing thoughts, insightful expressions and creative suggestions. Thank you for sharing a writing world held in heart, pen or typing starts journaling what is seen, felt or sensed from a human inner essence. Whole ❤️ Namaste.

Thank you, Denise! Namaste.

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My name is Jacki Smallwood. I have been watching your sight on Facebook, and all the various gifts you have given while on the sight. I have been in a nursing home for 3 years and in quarantine for the past 11 months, not leaving my room, no guests, no funerals or graduation s. To keep my sanity u journal, I share my journaling with other residents through Messenger to help others cope. I don’t have access to copy machine nor anyone to take it out to staples. I am asking if anyone of your organization would donate material that would help me so much and then share with others. I get 45.00 a month from SS and need every penny for my needs. Anything you can do would be so helpful.

Seniors are a special group often ignored through this Covid.

Thank you for anything you could for me.

Jacky Smallwood

Hi Jacky, thank you for your note and request. I removed your mailing address from your original comment before publishing it for your privacy. I will reach out to you by email. I am glad journaling is helping you during this difficult time. More to follow, Lynda

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Lynda, I’m very grateful to have ran across this article. I used to journal a lot when I was younger and I write poetry and music pretty consistently for the last few years. I have been told journaling could be amazing for me to get over some of my past pains and nasty relationships and getting to know myself, growing into a stronger (as well as better person), and just for my general mental health. So, as I begin to journal this very day, I was writing down many things that I want to include and accomplish with this journal inside the front pages of my book and I happened to run across your article! Now I just want to give you a big thank you BECAUSE I attained a lot of information, ideas, and format to include in my new journaling experience! I’m very excited to embark and I just wanted to let you know again I’m grateful for running across your words.

Chelsea Venice, Florida

Hi Chelsea, thanks for your note and for sharing some of your journaling hopes! I love the serendipity that you found our journaling website. We have lots of free journaling resources, including journaling prompts, that might be helpful along the way. You can find them here if you are interested: https://iajw.org/free-journaling-resources/ Happy journaling!

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Thanks for your article esp the prompts to change the language and freshen up what I usually write.

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wonderful article

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Thank you so much for this article! When I was in my deepest months I would always journal but then once I got better I stopped journaling. I really want to get back into it but instead of writing about the bad in my life, I am going to focus on the good.

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thank you for this article!

You’re welcome, Gwen. Thanks for reading.

' src=

I love the ideas for making journaling more appealing in order to journal more consistently. Sometimes I get so caught up in the “should do’s” that I forget that there really are no rules!

' src=

Very informative article on journaling! I’ve found journaling to be a wonderful practice for self-discovery and personal growth.

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How to Write a Journal

Last Updated: September 18, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Catherine Boswell, PhD . Dr. Catherine Boswell is a Licensed Psychologist and a Co-Founder of Psynergy Psychological Associates, a private therapy practice based in Houston, Texas. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Boswell specializes in treating individuals, groups, couples, and families struggling with trauma, relationships, grief, and chronic pain. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Bowell has taught courses to Master’s level students at the University of Houston. She is also an author, speaker, and coach. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 229,326 times.

Journal writing is a creative form of recording your feelings free from the fear of judgement or criticism. Writing in a journal can allow you to work through complex issues in your life, exploring them thoroughly and candidly. It can also be a way of relieving stress, rather than inadvertently taking out your unexplored feelings on someone else. See Step 1 below to start writing your own journal.

Journal Entry Template

journal writing deutsch

Starting Your Own Journal

Step 1 Find something to contain your journal entries.

  • If you're looking at computer-based options for your journal, you might want to consider starting a blog - essentially an online journal that other people can read . A variety of free blog sites exist, some of which allow you to control who can and cannot read your blog.

Step 2 Start your first entry by setting the scene.

  • If you're writing a blog, you may want to begin by addressing your readers.

Step 3 Write!

  • As an exception to this rule, if you're writing a blog, while you'll want to be open with your emotions, consider your audience. You may want to consider censoring your most intense and/or personal thoughts.

Step 4 Develop a routine.

  • Many journal-writers like to add an entry every night before bed. This is a healthy routine because it allows the writer to relax and unwind at the end of the day by "letting out" any lingering emotions. Be sure to write honestly, don't overthink it, and stay focused.

Step 5 Re-read your past entries for insights.

  • Use your past entries to reflect on your life. As you read, ask yourself questions like, "Am I the same person who wrote this entry?", "Is my life going the way I want it to?", and "How can I work to solve any problems that may have been troubling me when I wrote this entry?"

Step 6 Give your journal some personal style.

  • The experiences you have while travelling can be some of the most influential ones in your life. Discovering the beauty of nature, making a friend in a far-off place, and even simply leaving your home can shape you, so document these things!

Step 8 Customize your journal.

  • If you're using a digital journal, like a blog, try adding photographs to your posts, including links, and choosing colorful templates.

Writing Great Journal Entries

Step 1 Think of your journal as a safe place to express yourself.

  • If you're having trouble turning off your filter, try writing "free form" as an exercise - scrawling your thoughts down in a stream-of-consciousness form the moment they come to you, whether they make sense or not.

Step 3 Comment on past journal entries.

  • For instance, were you in a miserable mood when you wrote yesterday, but are now feeling better? Comment on this! By doing so, you may start to understand why you felt this way in the first place.

Step 4 Use writing prompts when you're bereft of ideas.

  • You may find that, by pursuing a prompt, your writing ventures into interesting new areas you might otherwise never have explored. Be adventurous and pursue these new topics to your heart's content!

Step 5 Learn from the greats!

  • The diary of Samuel Pepys
  • The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank's diary)
  • The diary of Jemima Conduct
  • The diary of Franz Kafka
  • Bridget Jones's Diary
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • The Color Purple
  • Flowers for Algernon
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Expert Q&A

Catherine Boswell, PhD

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Find a secluded and familiar place to write (for example, your bedroom with the door locked), but other secluded places are good too. (Your backyard.) Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
  • It's best to write with a pen because pencil can fade. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 2
  • It's best if it is a secret. It's better if no one reads about your feelings and your secrets. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 3

journal writing deutsch

  • Always keep it in a safe no-one-knows box of secrets after writing. It's best if it has a lock. Thanks Helpful 82 Not Helpful 7
  • If this person does and reads it, confront them and tell them you absolutely do not want them to read it. Then take necessary precautions, such as getting a notebook with a lock. Thanks Helpful 75 Not Helpful 7
  • Your secrets may be posted around the net if you don't lock it. (This is for blog authors only.) Thanks Helpful 59 Not Helpful 8
  • Someone could find out about your journal. Thanks Helpful 64 Not Helpful 15

Things You'll Need

  • A cheap but good composition notebook.
  • A working pen or pencil.
  • Colouring in pens or pencils.

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Write a Journal Entry

  • ↑ https://docs.google.com/
  • ↑ https://psychcentral.com/blog/ready-set-journal-64-journaling-prompts-for-self-discovery
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-musings/201611/3-reasons-let-yourself-feel-your-emotions
  • ↑ Catherine Boswell, PhD. Licensed Psychologist. Expert Interview. 29 December 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/7-writing-routines-that-work
  • ↑ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/22/how-to-start-journal-writing-drawing
  • ↑ https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/tips/travel-photos-journal-memories-/
  • ↑ https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1
  • ↑ https://psychcentral.com/blog/ready-set-journal-64-journaling-prompts-for-self-discovery#the-journal-prompts

About This Article

Catherine Boswell, PhD

To write a journal entry, start by writing down the date, time, and location where you're writing. Then, let your emotions flow and write about your feelings, like your family life, crush, or dreams. Try not to overthink it by writing things down as soon as they come into your head. You can also use writing prompts. To make your entries as useful as possible, get into a routine of writing regularly. Then, review your past entries to assess your feelings with the benefit of hindsight. To see a list of some famous journal writers and get tips on how to decorate your journal, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Join a Journal Article Writing Group for Graduate Students: Spring 2024

Posted in: Center for Writing Excellence , News Students Can Use , Upcoming Events

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Are you a graduate student working on a journal article for publication? Learn more about the Graduate Student Journal Article Writing Group!

This writing group will run during the Spring semester (January 22 – April 19, 2024). Weekly topics will include: publication venues, selecting a journal, writing your argument, literature review, citation management and more. Participants can participate mostly asynchronously, though a weekly synchronous meeting will be convened. We will use Wendy Laura Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks to guide the discussions and work.

Attend one of the upcoming Zoom information sessions where we will discuss how the program will run, the expected time commitment, and answer any other questions you may have. If you want to sign up without attending an information session, or if you have questions, email [email protected].

Wednesday, November 22nd, 12:30-1pm

Wednesday, November 29th, 2:30pm-3pm 

Tuesday, December 5th, 8pm-8:30pm

Monday, December 11th, 7pm-7:30pm 

Thursday, December 14th, 5pm-5:30pm

Sponsored by the Center for Writing Excellence and the Harry A. Sprague Library.

Journal Writing: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners

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  • April 27, 2023

Home » Day One Blog » Journal Writing: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners

Journal writing has been practiced for centuries, offering countless individuals a private space for self-expression, self-discovery, and personal growth. However, embarking on this journey can be daunting for many, especially if you are new to the world of journaling. That’s where this guide comes in, designed to help you navigate the ins and outs of journal writing and set you on the path to unlocking your inner world.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll explore different styles of journal writing, the benefits it can bring to your mental and emotional well-being, and the various tools and techniques available to make your journaling experience enjoyable and fulfilling. Whether you’re looking to improve your mental health, enhance your creativity, or simply document your life’s journey, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and inspiration needed to start and maintain a successful journal writing practice. So, grab a pen, a notebook, or your favorite digital device, and let’s begin our journey into the wonderful world of journal writing.

What is Journal Writing?

Journal writing is the practice of regularly recording thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, and observations in a personal, private, or semi-private format. Journal writing can serve various purposes, such as self-reflection , self-expression, self-discovery, personal growth, creativity, problem-solving, and stress relief.

People often use journal writing as a way to process emotions, explore personal goals, track habits, and document their lives. Journal writing can be done using physical notebooks, digital apps, or even voice recordings, depending on your preferences and needs. The act of journal writing encourages introspection, mindfulness, and a deeper understanding of oneself, making it a valuable tool for personal development and well-being.

“Writing in a journal gives me a place to report, interpret, argue, reflect, save, question, predict, unload, praise, compare, cry, laugh, draw, paint, and remember.” — Luci Swindoll

The Many Forms of Journal Writing

Journal writing can take many forms, each with its unique purpose and approach. The beauty of journaling lies in its flexibility, allowing you to create a journaling practice tailored to your unique needs.

A scene of journal writing with a laptop and open notebook.

Personal Journals

Journaling is a personal form or self-expression, from the traditional diary to more specialized journals like gratitude or mood journals. Whether you’re looking to document your daily experiences, explore your dreams, or improve your mental health, there is a personal journal out there that can help you on your journey.

  • Diary: A diary is the most traditional form of journal writing, where a person records their daily experiences, thoughts, and feelings in a chronological format.
  • Reflective journal : This form of journal writing focuses on personal reflection, introspection, and self-analysis. Reflective journaling encourages you to consider your emotions, experiences, and personal growth by asking yourself questions and exploring your thoughts in depth.
  • Gratitude journal : A gratitude journal focuses on regularly documenting things one is grateful for, promoting a positive mindset and appreciation for life’s blessings.
  • Travel journal : Travel journals document experiences, memories, and reflections from trips and adventures, often including photos, ticket stubs, or other memorabilia.
  • Dream journal : These are used to record and analyze dreams, often to explore the subconscious mind or improve dream recall and lucidity.
  • Mood journal : Mood journals focus on tracking and understanding one’s emotions and mental state over time. By recording daily moods, thoughts, and triggers, individuals can gain insight into their emotional patterns, identify potential stressors, and develop effective coping strategies. Mood journals can be especially helpful for those dealing with mental health challenges, such as anxiety or depression.

an example of an art journal sketch

Creative Journals

Journaling can help boost creativity and provide an outlet for self-expression. Creative journals, in particular, offer a unique way to explore and develop your artistic abilities, ideas, and insights. Whether you’re an artist, writer, or simply looking to tap into your creative side, here are few journaling ideas to try:

  • Art journal: These journals combine visual art with written thoughts and reflections, allowing individuals to express themselves creatively through various media like drawing, painting, collage, or photography.
  • Idea journal: Idea journals serve as a collection point for creative thoughts, brainstorming sessions, and inspiration. They provide a dedicated space for individuals to jot down ideas, quotes, sketches, or concepts as they arise, fostering innovation and helping to connect disparate thoughts. Idea journals can be useful for artists, writers, entrepreneurs, or anyone seeking to capture and nurture their creative impulses.
  • Creative writing journal: A creative writing journal can help you explore your imagination and refine your writing skills. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist, a poet, or a blogger, a creative writing journal can help you develop your voice and hone your craft. From brainstorming sessions to character sketches, a creative writing journal is an essential tool for any writer looking to cultivate their creativity and improve their writing.

A creative writing journal example

Productivity and Self-Improvement Journals

Journaling can help you stay organized, focused, and motivated. Whether you’re striving for personal growth, professional success, or a healthier lifestyle, are are a few types of journals that can help you achieve your goals:

  • Bullet journals: A bullet journal is a customizable organization system that combines planning, note-taking, and goal-setting. It often uses symbols, lists, and trackers to help individuals stay organized and focused.
  • Goal-setting journals: These journals focus on journaling goals to set, track, and reflect on personal or professional goals, helping individuals maintain motivation and achieve success.
  • Habit trackers: Habit tracking journals are dedicated to monitoring and improving daily habits, such as exercise, sleep, or nutrition, to promote a healthier lifestyle.
  • Fitness journal : Fitness journals are designed to help individuals track, plan, and reflect on their physical activities and exercise routines. By documenting workouts, progress, and personal goals, fitness journals can provide motivation, accountability, and insights into one’s strengths and areas for improvement. They often include information on exercises performed, duration, intensity, and even subjective factors like energy levels and mood, supporting a holistic approach to fitness and well-being.
  • Reading journals: These journals track books read, favorite quotes, and personal reflections on the material, serving as a personalized reading history and source of recommendations.
  • Prayer or spiritual journals: These journals are used to document prayers, religious or spiritual experiences, insights, and personal growth in one’s spiritual journey.
  • Self-care journal : A self-care journal is a tool used to prioritize and reflect on one’s self-care practices. It can include a range of activities, such as setting self-care goals, tracking self-care habits, and exploring personal values and needs. By documenting self-care practices and reflecting on their effectiveness, individuals can improve their overall well-being and develop a stronger sense of self-awareness and self-compassion. Self-care journals can also include prompts or exercises that encourage individuals to practice self-care in creative and meaningful ways.

The Psychological and Emotional Benefits of Journal Writing

Journaling benefits include numerous psychological and emotional benefits that can contribute to an individual’s overall well-being. Here are some key advantages of maintaining a regular journaling habit :

Improved mental health

  • Stress reduction: Journal writing provides an outlet for individuals to express their thoughts and feelings, helping to release built-up tension and stress. This process allows for emotional catharsis and can contribute to a sense of calm and relaxation.
  • Anxiety management: Journaling for anxiety can help individuals to identify and explore the sources of their anxiety, enabling them to gain a better understanding of their triggers and develop effective coping strategies. Writing down anxious thoughts can also help to organize and rationalize them, making them feel more manageable.
  • Coping with depression: Journaling for depression can offer a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to explore and process their emotions, which can be particularly beneficial for those dealing with depression. It can also serve as a tool for tracking mood patterns and identifying potential areas of improvement or intervention.

Increased self-awareness and personal growth

  • Reflecting on emotions and thoughts: Journal writing encourages introspection, allowing individuals to delve deeper into their feelings and thought processes. This self-examination can lead to a better understanding of one’s emotions, beliefs, and motivations.
  • Gaining insights and understanding patterns: By regularly documenting experiences and emotions, individuals can identify recurring patterns in their behavior, relationships, and decision-making. Recognizing these patterns can provide valuable insights that guide personal growth and development.

Enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills

  • Boosting creativity through unstructured writing: Journal writing can stimulate creativity by providing a space for free, unstructured expression. By writing without restrictions, individuals can tap into their imagination and discover new ideas, perspectives, or solutions.
  • Identifying and working through personal challenges: Journal writing can serve as a powerful problem-solving tool, enabling individuals to analyze their difficulties, break them down into manageable components, and brainstorm potential solutions. This process can lead to greater self-awareness and resilience in the face of personal challenges.

Journal Writing Techniques: Mastering the Art of Self-Expression

As you embark on your journal writing journey, exploring various journaling techniques can help you unlock the full potential of self-expression. In this section, we’ll dive into a range of journal writing techniques designed to enhance your ability to communicate your thoughts, emotions, and experiences effectively. From freewriting or stream of consciousness writing to reflective journaling and creative writing exercises, these methods will empower you to express yourself authentically and confidently in your journal.

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” — Christina Baldwin

There are various journal writing techniques that cater to different needs, preferences, and purposes. Here are some popular techniques to explore:

  • Daily log: This type of journaling serves as a personal account or log of one’s daily life, capturing events, emotions, and reflections in a structured and consistent manner. The daily log journal serves as both a historical record and a tool for self-reflection, allowing individuals to track their progress, habits, and emotional patterns over time.
  • Daily reflection : Through the process of daily reflection , you can encourage contemplation, providing an opportunity to explore your thoughts, emotions, and experiences on a deeper lever.
  • Freewriting: This journaling technique involves writing continuously without stopping to edit or censor your thoughts. Freewriting allows your thoughts to flow naturally onto the page, fostering self-expression and creativity.
  • Gratitude journaling: This common form of journal writing regularly documents the things you’re grateful for, focusing on positive aspects of your life. This technique can improve your overall well-being and foster a more optimistic mindset.
  • Guided prompts and questions: Using journal prompts or questions can help structure your writing and explore specific themes or topics. Prompts can range from simple (e.g., “What made me happy today?”) to more complex (e.g., “How have my past experiences shaped my current beliefs?”).
  • Creative writing exercises: Engaging in creative writing exercises, such as crafting short stories, poetry, or character sketches, can help you develop your writing skills and stimulate your imagination.
  • Lists and brainstorming: Creating lists or brainstorming ideas can help you organize your thoughts, set goals, or generate ideas for future projects or journal entries.
  • Stream of consciousness : Similar to freewriting, stream of consciousness writing involves capturing your thoughts, feelings, and mental images as they come to mind, without worrying about grammar or structure. This technique can help you tap into your subconscious and unveil deeper insights.
  • Mind mapping: This visual technique involves creating a diagram to represent ideas, tasks, or concepts. Mind mapping can help you explore connections between different thoughts and make sense of complex issues.
  • Art journaling: Combine visual art with written thoughts and reflections, using drawing, painting, collage, or photography to express yourself creatively.
  • Dialogue journaling: Write a conversation between yourself and another person, a fictional character, or even an aspect of yourself (e.g., your inner critic). This technique can help you explore different perspectives and better understand your emotions.

These are just a few journal writing techniques to try. Feel free to experiment with different journaling ideas to create a journaling practice that you enjoy.

A scene of a desk with an open journal notebook and journey entry on a computer

Journaling Writing: Step-by-Step

Writing in a journal is a personal and flexible process, but if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to get started, here are 8 steps to try:

Step 1: Choose a journal.

Your journaling experience should be comfortable and enjoyable, so selecting the right journaling tools and format can play an important role in building a consistent and rewarding journaling practice. Select a physical notebook or journal app for your journal writing that suits your preferences and needs. Choose writing tools, such as pens, pencils, or markers, that you enjoy using and that inspire you to write.

A person writes in a journal

Tips for choosing a journal:

  • Consider your writing style. A comfortable format will encourage you to write more often, so choose a journal with a layout that suits your writing style, whether you prefer lined, unlined, or dotted pages. Maybe you prefer to type instead of handwrite, or perhaps you’d rather dictate your journal entries, so consider exploring digital journaling options. Digital journaling can offer a variety of input methods, such as typing, voice-to-text, or even drawing with a stylus, allowing you to choose a method that best fits your preferences and makes journaling more enjoyable and accessible.
  • Choose a journal with high-quality materials. A well-made journal, with durable binding and paper that doesn’t bleed through, will make your journaling experience more enjoyable and ensure your writing stands the test of time.
  • Factor in size and portability. Consider how and where you’ll be using your journal. If you plan to carry it with you, opt for a smaller, lightweight journal. If you prefer to write at home or need more space, a larger journal may be more suitable.
  • Evaluate the aesthetic appeal. Choose a journal design that resonates with you personally. A visually appealing journal can inspire you to write more often and make your journaling practice feel more special.
  • Explore digital journaling options. If you prefer to write on a device, such as your laptop computer or phone, try a journaling app like Day One that offers features such as customizable templates, end-to-end encryption, daily prompts, and syncing across devices.

Step 2: Create a comfortable and inspiring writing environment.

Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can focus on your writing. Light a candle or turn on some music to set the mood and inspire creativity. Minimize distractions by turning off notifications on your phone or other electronic devices. Surround yourself with items that bring you joy or stimulate your senses, such as plants, inspiring artwork, or a cozy blanket. By crafting an inviting and personalized writing environment, you’ll be more motivated and inclined to immerse yourself in your journaling practice.

A person begins a new journal entry

Tips for creating a journal writing environment:

  • Keep your writing materials organized. Having an organized space with all your journaling tools easily accessible can help reduce distractions and maintain focus. Consider using a storage system or designated area for your journal, pens, and other materials to keep your space tidy and inviting.
  • Optimize lighting. Make sure your writing environment has sufficient lighting to avoid eye strain. Natural light is preferable, but if it’s not available, use a combination of ambient and task lighting to create a well-lit space that encourages focus and creativity.
  • Prioritize ergonomics. Ensure your writing setup supports a healthy posture. Use a comfortable chair, adjust the height of your desk or table, and position your writing materials at an appropriate angle to minimize strain on your body.
  • Engage your senses. Stimulate your creativity by incorporating elements that appeal to your senses. Use scented candles, essential oils, or incense to create a pleasant aroma, play soft background music or nature sounds to set the mood, and consider textures like a cozy blanket or a comfortable cushion to enhance your physical comfort. By engaging multiple senses, you can create a rich and immersive writing environment that sparks inspiration.
  • Embrace flexibility. Don’t feel confined to a specific space; try writing in different locations to find what works best for you. Consider writing during your commute, in a nearby park, or at your favorite coffee shop to keep your journaling practice fresh and engaging.

Step 3: Begin with a simple warm-up.

Start your journal entry by writing the date and a brief warm-up, such as a single sentence describing your current mood or a brief summary of your day. This initial warm-up helps you ease into the journaling process, clear your mind, and establish a connection with your thoughts and emotions, paving the way for a more focused and meaningful writing experience.

A person uses a laptop to do their journal writing

Tips for a simple journaling warm-up:

  • Set an intention. Begin your entry by setting an intention or goal for your journaling session. This can help clarify your thoughts and provide direction for your writing.
  • Find a quote or positive affirmation. Begin your journal entry with an inspiring quote or positive affirmation that resonates with you. You can find these in books, online, or through social media. Writing down a quote or affirmation can help shift your mindset into personal reflection and provide a starting point for further exploration of your thoughts and emotions.
  • Practice gratitude. Start your journal entry by listing a few things you’re grateful for. This helps set a positive tone for your writing session and encourages an appreciative mindset.
  • Engage in free-writing. Start your entry with a short, unfiltered burst of free-writing. Set a timer for 2-3 minutes and write down whatever comes to mind without worrying about grammar, punctuation, or structure. This exercise can help clear your mind and stimulate your creativity for the rest of your journaling session.

Step 4: Choose a topic, journal prompt, or template.

Decide on a subject or theme for your journal entry. Your journal writing topic could simply be a record of the day’s events or your memories of a recent personal experience. You may also want to explore a reflection, goal, idea, or delve into answering a journal prompt you found online or in a book. Your journal is a versatile space for self-expression and exploration, so feel free to experiment with different topics and templates to discover what resonates with you and best supports your personal growth and self-discovery journey.

An open journal

More ideas for your journal entry:

  • Reflect on your day. Start your journal entry by briefly summarizing the events of your day or describing one key moment that stood out to you. This can help you transition from the external world to your internal thoughts and emotions, and set the stage for deeper reflection and personal growth.
  • Use a journal prompt. If you’re unsure of where to start, consider using one of these 550+ journal prompts to guide your journal writing. Answering prompts can help you focus your thoughts and make it easier to write.
  • Reflect on a recent experience. Write a brief description of a recent event, interaction, or observation that had an impact on you. This can help you transition into deeper reflection and exploration of your emotions.
  • Write about how you feel in this moment. Use your journal entry to describe your current emotional state or physical sensations. Journaling about feelings is a method of self-reflection that can help you connect with your present state, creating an authentic starting point for your journaling session and encouraging deeper exploration of your emotions.

Step 5: Write freely and openly.

Allow yourself to write without judgment or self-censorship. Let your thoughts and emotions flow onto the page, using your chosen topic or prompt as a starting point. Remember that your journal is a private space for self-expression and exploration, and allowing yourself to freely and openly write often leads to surprising insights, revelations, and conclusions. By embracing the process without judgment or expectation, you can uncover hidden aspects of yourself, gain a deeper understanding of your emotions and experiences, and ultimately foster a stronger connection with your inner world.

A person reflects on their journal entry

Tips for writing freely and openly:

  • Embrace imperfection. Accept that your writing doesn’t need to be perfect, grammatically correct, or polished. Focus on expressing your thoughts and emotions rather than creating a flawless piece of prose.
  • Create a judgment-free zone. Remind yourself that your journal is a private, safe space for self-expression. Give yourself permission to express any thoughts or emotions without fear of judgment or criticism.
  • Use stream-of-consciousness writing. Allow your thoughts to flow naturally, writing whatever comes to mind without stopping to edit or analyze. This technique can help you uncover underlying emotions and ideas.
  • Set a timer. To encourage free and open writing, set a timer for a specific amount of time, such as 10 or 20 minutes. Commit to writing continuously until the timer goes off, focusing on getting your thoughts on the page rather than editing or perfecting your words.
  • Experiment with different writing styles. If you find yourself struggling to write freely, try using different writing styles or techniques, such as poetry, bullet points, or even doodling. By mixing things up, you can stimulate your creativity and bypass any mental blocks that may be inhibiting your self-expression.

Step 6: Reflect and review what you’ve written.

After completing your journal entry, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve written. Consider any insights, patterns, or emotions that have emerged during your writing session. This process of self-reflection can help you better understand your thoughts and feelings, as well as identify areas for personal growth or potential solutions to challenges you may be facing. By actively engaging with your writing and taking the time to reflect, you’ll enhance the overall impact of your journaling practice, making it a more valuable and transformative experience.

A person tracks habits in their journal

  • Ask questions. As you review your journal entry, ask yourself questions that encourage deeper self-reflection. For example, “What is the root of this emotion?” or “What can I learn from this experience?” Asking thought-provoking questions can help you gain new perspectives on your experiences and emotions.
  • Identify themes and patterns. Look for common themes or recurring topics that appear in your writing. These can be related to relationships, work, personal growth, or any other areas that you frequently write about. Identifying these themes can help you better understand what you value.
  • Summarize your insights. After reviewing your journal entry, write a brief summary of your key insights or takeaways. This can help you distill your thoughts and feelings into clear, actionable items that you can use to inform your personal growth and development.

Step 7: Close your journaling session.

Finish your journaling session by briefly summarizing your main takeaways or thoughts. This could be a sentence or two, or even just a word or phrase. You can also make a simple bulleted list of words, phrases, or key themes that emerged during your writing. This closing practice not only helps reinforce the insights and discoveries you made while journal writing, but also serves as a useful reference point for future journal entries, enabling you to track your personal growth and development over time.

Journaling on a laptop instead of a notebook

Tips to close your journaling session:

  • Summarize your thoughts. Take a few moments to reflect on your writing session and summarize your main thoughts or takeaways. This can help reinforce your insights and solidify them in your mind.
  • Create a bulleted list. Write down a list of key themes, emotions, or thoughts that emerged during your writing session. This can help you quickly reference and revisit important topics or insights in future journal entries.
  • Express gratitude. End your journal entry with a few words of gratitude or appreciation for the opportunity to reflect and explore your thoughts and emotions.
  • Close with a ritual. Develop a closing ritual or habit that signals the end of your journaling session. This could be as simple as closing your journal, taking a deep breath, or saying a mantra or positive affirmation. Establishing a ritual can help you transition out of your writing mindset and into your daily life.

Step 8: Make an appointment with yourself for your next journaling session.

Finally, make a commitment to continue your journaling practice by scheduling your next writing session. Choose a time and place where you can regularly dedicate a few minutes to journaling, whether it’s in the morning, evening, or during your lunch break. By setting aside time for yourself, you’ll be more likely to maintain consistency and reap the benefits of a regular journaling practice. Treat your journaling sessions as a sacred time for self-reflection and self-care, and you’ll find that the benefits extend far beyond the page.

A planner and schedule for journaling

Tips for building a regular journaling habit:

  • Start with a small time block. Begin with a manageable commitment, such as five minutes per day or a weekly writing session. Gradually increase the frequency or duration of your sessions as you establish a consistent practice.
  • Schedule your journaling time into your calendar. Treat your journaling time as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself by scheduling it into your calendar or planner. This can help you prioritize your practice and ensure that you make time for it each day or week, even on busy days. Set reminders or notifications to keep yourself accountable and motivated to stick to your commitment.
  • Find accountability. Share your journaling goals with a friend or family member who can hold you accountable and provide encouragement and support.
  • Celebrate your progress: Take time to acknowledge and celebrate your progress as you establish a regular journaling habit. Celebrating milestones or achievements can help you stay motivated and committed to your practice.

Overcoming Common Journal Writing Obstacles

Journal writing can be a rewarding and transformative practice, but it’s not without its challenges. In this section, we’ll discuss some common obstacles that journal writers face and offer practical strategies to overcome them.

1. Writer’s block

Writer’s block can strike at any time, leaving you staring at a blank page, unsure of what to write in your journal. Here are some tips to tackle writer’s block:

  • Use prompts. Journal prompts can provide a starting point for your journal entry and help get your creative juices flowing.
  • Set a timer. Try writing for a set period, such as 10 or 15 minutes, without worrying about the content. This can help you break through the initial barrier and get into the writing flow.
  • Change your environment. Sometimes, a change of scenery can help spark inspiration. Try journaling in a different location, like a park or a coffee shop.
  • Establish a routine. Regularly scheduled journaling sessions can help train your brain to be more receptive to writing during those times.

2. Perfectionism and self-criticism

Many journal writers struggle with the desire to create perfect entries and the tendency to critique their own work. Here’s how to overcome this obstacle:

  • Embrace imperfection. Remind yourself that your journal is a personal, private space for exploration and growth, not a polished piece of writing for public consumption.
  • Write freely. Allow yourself to write without censoring or editing your thoughts, focusing on self-expression rather than correctness.
  • Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and remember that everyone makes mistakes. Acknowledge your imperfections and view them as opportunities for growth and learning.

Privacy concerns can be a significant obstacle for some journal writers, especially when sharing living spaces with others. Here are some strategies to safeguard your privacy:

  • Choose a secure location. Store your journal in a safe, hidden spot, such as a locked drawer or a personal safe.
  • Use a digital app or online journal. If you’re worried about someone finding your physical journal, consider using a password-protected digital app for your journaling. An app like Day One also offers biometric logins and end-to-end encryption so your journals are always safe.

4. Consistency

Maintaining a consistent journaling practice can be challenging, especially when life gets busy or motivation wanes. Here are some tips to help you stay consistent with your journal writing:

  • Set a schedule. Dedicate a specific time each day or week for journaling, and make it a non-negotiable part of your routine. This can help establish a habit and create a sense of accountability.
  • Start small. If daily journaling feels overwhelming, begin with shorter, more manageable sessions or write less frequently. Over time, you can gradually increase the duration or frequency of your journaling practice.
  • Join a community or find a journaling buddy. Engage with other journal writers, either online or in-person, to share experiences, tips, and motivation. Having a support network can help you stay accountable and inspired.
  • Be flexible. Give yourself permission to adapt your journaling practice to your changing needs and circumstances. If you miss a session, don’t stress about it—simply pick up where you left off and keep going!

A person journals at a desk

Journal Writing: More Inspiration, Ideas, and Prompts

Sometimes, all you need to jumpstart your journaling practice is a little inspiration. Here are a variety of ideas, prompts, and resources to spark your creativity and keep your journal writing fresh and engaging.

Journaling themes and topics to explore

  • Personal growth and self-improvement
  • Relationships and connections with others
  • Gratitude and appreciation
  • Fears, insecurities, and challenges
  • Dreams and aspirations
  • Travel experiences and cultural encounters
  • Work, career, or academic goals
  • Hobbies, interests, and passions

Creative journaling exercises

  • Write a poem or short story inspired by a recent experience or emotion.
  • Describe a fictional character you would like to meet or befriend.
  • Create a vision board in your journal, using images, drawings, or collages to represent your goals and dreams.
  • Craft a six-paragraph memoir that captures the essence of your life story.

Inspirational journal prompts

  • What is one thing I’ve always wanted to learn or try? What’s holding me back?
  • Describe a time when I felt truly proud of myself.
  • If I could have a conversation with my younger self, what advice would I give?
  • What are three things I’m grateful for today, and why?
  • How have my values and beliefs changed over time?
  • Write a letter to someone who has made a significant impact on my life.
  • Reflect on a challenging experience and the lessons I’ve learned from it.

Journal writing resources

  • “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
  • “Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal” by Alexandra Johnson
  • “The Power of Writing It Down” by Allison Fallon.
  • Websites and blogs dedicated to journaling (like the Day One blog !), offering inspiration, tips, and prompts.
  • Social media communities, such as the Day One Facebook group or Day One Instagram account, where journal writers share their experiences and ideas.
  • Online courses and workshops focused on journaling and self-expression such as the International Association for Journal Writing and National Journal Writing Month .

Wrapping Up: Journaling Writing and Your Voyage Into the Interior

Keeping a journal can be one of the most meaningful and rewarding undertakings in your journey of personal growth and self-discovery. By committing to this practice, you create a safe space for introspection, reflection, and creative expression that will help you navigate the complexities of your inner world and foster a deeper understanding of yourself.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and approaches—remember, your journal is a personal and evolving space for self-expression and exploration. Embrace the process, and allow yourself the freedom to learn, grow, and transform through the power of the written word. As you embark on this voyage into your own interior landscape, may your journal serve as a trusty companion, guiding you towards greater self-awareness, resilience, and personal fulfillment.

About the Author

Kristen Webb Wright is the author of three books on journaling. With a passion for writing and self-reflection, Kristen uses her experience with journaling to help others discover the benefits of documenting their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In her role at Day One, she helps to promote the power of journaling so people from all walks of life can experience the transformative power of journaling.

Photo of author and journaling expert, Kristen Webb Wright

Start a Journal Today in the Day One Journal App

The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit, including keeping a fitness journal. Daily journaling writing prompts , reminders , and journaling streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.

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iOS 17's Journal App: An Early Look at Apple's New Writing Companion

The new iPhone writing tool will likely arrive with iOS 17.2.


  • Apple software beta tester, "Helps make our computers and phones work!" - Zach's grandparents

The Apple logo next to a smartphone with the Journal app logo on the screen

When Apple unveiled iOS 17 at its WWDC event in June , the Journal app drew a lot of attention. However, the tech giant didn't release the app with iOS 17 on Sept. 18 or with the iPhone 15 series . But Apple gave beta testers and developers a first glimpse of the app in iOS 17.2 beta 1 . 

Journaling has been linked to many mental health benefits, including managing anxiety , reducing stress and helping cope with depression . But some people might have a difficult time remembering to journal or won't know what to write. Apple's Journal app makes it easy to jot down a few thoughts when you're on your phone, and it provides you with writing prompts and other reminders about what you've done in a day.

Here's what you should know about Journal and how it works. Note I tested the app on iOS 17.2 beta 1, so some features could change in the final version of the app.

What is Journal?

Journal is an app developed by Apple to write journal entries and insert pictures, videos and other content into entries. Your entries are stored locally on your iPhone, and you can have backups of your entries on iCloud.


Journal can suggest Reflections or other moments to write about.

Journal can provide you with prompts, called Reflections, that you can write about. Some Reflections the app gave me included, "Think about something you love to do and why it brings you joy," and "Describe someone in your life who you really appreciate but forget to thank."

The app can also access certain data and give you suggestions about what to write based on that data. For example, on my first weekend with Journal it suggested I write about a coffee shop my wife and I went to, as well as a local park that we visited. You can control what types of data and other apps Journal can access to create these suggestions. 

How secure is Journal?

According to Apple , the app has end-to-end encryption between your device and iCloud, and the app uses on-device processes to create journaling suggestions, like Reflections. That means the data your app uses stays on your iPhone.

"No one but you can access your journal -- not even Apple," the company wrote online.

Beyond that, you can require the app to ask for your FaceID or passcode after it's been inactive for a certain amount of time. You can set the app to require your FaceID or passcode after one, five or 15 minutes of inactivity. And if you don't want to take any chances, you can set the app to immediately lock when you switch apps or your iPhone goes to sleep; you know, in case of snooping siblings or roommates.

How do you write an entry in Journal?

On the Journal homepage, you'll see your recent journal entries and a plus ( + ) sign across the bottom of your screen. Tap the plus sign and you'll be taken to a new menu.


You can write about Podcasts you listened to earlier in the day. 

In this new menu, you'll see your app's suggested Reflections as well as moments from throughout your day you can write about, like a picture you took or a Podcast you listened to. Tap into any of these for a short overview of the suggestion, like when a photo was taken, and then tap Start Writing . You'll be taken to a new page that looks similar to a new note in the Notes app, but the suggestion will show across the top of the screen. You can write your entry on this page, and you can add other content like photos, videos or voice notes to the entry from this page, too.

You can also just write an entry without a suggestion. After tapping the plus sign on the Journal homepage, there is an option across the top of the new menu that reads New Entry . Tap this, and you can jot down any thoughts or feelings you're having at the moment, or you can add your own content here, as well.

Once you're finished with your entry, tap Done in the top-right corner and the entry will be saved to the Journal homepage. You can also edit or update entries once they've been saved to the homepage. Tap the three dots ( ... ) in the bottom-right corner of the entry you want to edit, then tap Edit and you can change your entry. 

What if I need help keeping a journaling schedule?

Have no fear, you can set the app to remind you to journal. You have to go to Settings > Journal > Journaling Schedule and tap the switch next to Schedule . A menu will appear below Schedule which will allow you to set a reminder for every day -- or certain days -- of the week at a certain time. 


You can schedule reminders to journal every day or for select days. 

When will Journal be available?

Apple's website still says the app will launch later this year. And since Journal was included in the software for the first beta of iOS 17.2, I expect the app to be available when Apple releases iOS 17.2 to the public. Apple hasn't announced a release date for iOS 17.2, though.

The good news is Journal was included in the download for iOS 17.2 beta 1. That means when you download iOS 17.2 after its release, Journal should automatically download with the update, so you won't have to find the app in the App Store.

Apple already launched its Journals Suggestion API . That means third-party journaling apps, like Reflectly and Day One , can also use the journaling suggestions as well, but those third-party app developers must adopt the API first.

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone


For more Apple news, check out my review of iOS 17 , what other features that could be included in iOS 17.2 and our iOS 17 cheat sheet .


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23 Best Journals That Will Motivate You to Write More

There's nothing like a great notebook.

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Minimalism Art Classic Notebook Journal

Classic Notebook Journal

This simplistic journal is made to last you for years, with a leather hard cover and an elastic closure. And depending on your preferences, you can choose between squares, dotted, ruled, or plain paper.

Oprah's The Life You Want™ Planner

Oprah's The Life You Want™ Planner

Part weekly planner, part journal, this linen-covered book with an undated format offers writing prompts and quotes and advice from Oprah herself to help you set intentions for each week. 12 monthly calendar pages and 52 weekly calendar pages provide room for schedule-keeping while weekly reflection pages are your space to look back on achievements and forward to new accomplishments.

LEUCHTTURM1917 Hard Cover Medium A5 Dotted Notebook

Coming in a rainbow of 23 colors, this popular notebook is equipped with a hard cover, organizational stickers, ink-proof paper, and dotted pages that allow you to design your journal to your exact specifications.

Flatiron Books The Wisdom Journal: The Companion to The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

Writers are prompted by an intro from Oprah plus quotes that have moved her from renowned thought leaders to help fuel your own creativity.

By Amber And Rose Handmade Sari Journal

Made of "authentic Indian saris" from Varanasi, a city in Northern India, the paper in these brightly colored journals is made of unbleached recycled cotton.

Copper and Brass Paper Black Woman CEO Notebook

Filled with 80 sheets of college ruled paper, the adorable cover on this spiral notebook stands out from your typical journal.

Anthropologie Women's Empowerment Notebook

With bold feminist messages on each cover—"Fierce Female" and "Women Will Change the World" for example—you'll feel inspired each time you break out this journal.

Anthropologie The Well Journal

This 256-page cloth bound journal comes with a variety of prompts all focused on nutrition and wellness, encouraging you to write about exercise, sleep, and mindfullness.

PAPERAGE Paperage Lined Journal Notebook

Perfect for writers, this 160-page hardcover journal comes in eight different colors with acid free paper that can be written on with a pen, marker, or pencil.

Women of Color Prayer Journal

This prayer journal contains 60 days of guided prompts built around a specific scripture that give you room to reflect and create personal prayer requests.

Amazon Basics Classic Lined Notebook

Amazon's simple, basic journal has a built-in elastic bookmark and 240 page with rules to jot down as many notes as you please.

Moleskine Classic Notebook

Moleskin's durable trusted notebook is a classic for writers and compact enough to tote around.

Rite In The Rain All-Weather Side-Spiral Notebook

If you're ever in the need of a waterproof journal, this unique 64-page spiral notebook is made to withstand wear and tear with its synthetic paper.

Anthropologie Riley Reflections + Intentions Journal

The guided reflections in this calming journal include space to make note of your quote of the day, your emotions, goals, and plans for the week.

Anthropologie 52 Lists for Calm Journal

Created to ease tension and anxiety, this journal has 52 lists of guided prompts that are meant to help you focus on your mental health and relieve stress.

Maple Creek Gifts Personalized Journal Diary

By choosing from six different text styles and eight colors, your new diary can be personalized just for you.

Random House Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal

With this interactive journal you can keep track of 5 years worth of thoughts, as each day you're tasked with answering a slew of thought-provoking questions. Once you're done, you'll have 1,825 of your own answers to mull over.

Teals Prairie Personalized Felt Engraved Notebook

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AMERICAN WEST BOOKS Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice

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Moonster Leather Journal Writing Notebook

With over 1,300 positive reviews on Amazon, customers rave about the vintage look and supple genuine leather of this notebook. Many commented that it's weathered look served as the perfect motivation to write.

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McKenzie Jean-Philippe is the editorial assistant at OprahMag.com covering pop culture, TV, movies, celebrity, and lifestyle. She loves a great Oprah viral moment and all things Netflix—but come summertime, Big Brother has her heart. On a day off you'll find her curled up with a new juicy romance novel.

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Who should see a shooter’s journal? In Nashville, a leak heightens debate.

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Hours after a mass shooting left six dead inside a suburban Nashville elementary school, investigators announced the discovery of journals in which the killer laid out the attack.

Authorities initially said the documents would be disclosed. Instead, their release became an emotional tug-of-war that has played out in the court system and in the grieving community. Seven months after the March 27 mass shooting at the Covenant School, police have not allowed access to any of the journals as the debate continues to rage.

Some parents worry the release will inspire copycat shooters and retraumatize their children, while others say the documents may provide a motive and help researchers understand what makes a mass shooter act. Open-government advocates say allowing the families what amounts to veto power could set a dangerous precedent for the public’s access to police files.

Then, without warning, images of three of the pages were plastered online this week by a right-wing personality, Steven Crowder. What was released represents three pages out of the more than two dozen journals written by the killer, according to court records.

The fallout was swift and intense, with grieving families saying they were left hurt anew and the mayor ordering an investigation. Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said he was “extremely serious” about identifying the people responsible. By Wednesday, the police department announced it had placed seven people on a “nonpunitive” administrative assignment “to protect the integrity of the active, progressing investigation.”

Brent Leatherwood, a spokesman for a group of victims’ families at the school, told The Washington Post that he at first assumed the post was fake. Then he started getting more calls and texts from other concerned parents, and it dawned on him that it was real and the killer was once again “terrorizing our families.”

“Only this time, enabled by a shock jock who moonlights as a conservative deciding that would be the day he would tear open wounds in a community that consists of some of the most conservative families in Tennessee,” Leatherwood said.

The FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and a school representative declined to comment.

Seeking understanding

Conservative commentators and lawmakers who have for months criticized authorities’ decision to withhold the writings cheered their release. Tennessee GOP Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison, one of the nearly 70 Republican lawmakers who signed a letter demanding the documents be released, told the Tennessean that the material was valuable to understanding the killer’s actions.

“We will never have all the answers we want, but it is still my belief the shooter’s writings and complete medical history will provide vital insight into her behavior leading up to this heinous, evil act,” Faison said in a statement to the newspaper.

Crowder, a right-wing firebrand who was once demonetized by YouTube for his homophobic targeting of a journalist , released the images during a Monday afternoon live stream on Rumble and later posted them on the social media site X, formerly Twitter. Crowder and others, including Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), capitalized on what they perceived to be anti-White hate.

The pages show a schedule of the day of the shooting and rail against White and affluent students. These are only a portion of the dozens of other groups hatefully mentioned in the journals, according to a person close the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The person said the shooter, who was White, wanted to be remembered alongside the shooters of Columbine High School.

It was not clear how Crowder obtained the photographs, and he did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

In his live stream, the political commentator questioned why the writings had not been made public seven months after the shooting, adding that although he understood “many of you don’t want this,” documents from other shooters have been released in the past.

“Why has it never seen the light of day?” he asked.

Without a motive, right-wing influencers shortly after the shooting seized on the vacuum of information to falsely claim that there was a rise in transgender mass shooters and that the fight for trans rights was radicalizing people. The killer is 28-year-old former Covenant student Audrey Elizabeth Hale, described by police initially as a woman but then as transgender because of the use of male pronouns on a social media account. At one point, a fake manifesto spread online, claiming that the shooter acted “in the name of trans rights,” further inflaming conspiracy theories that took hold online.

The Covenant shooting was the ninth deadliest in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a database that defines a mass shooting as a minimum of four victims shot, either killed or injured, not including the shooter. It unfolded over a span of 15 minutes and 152 bullets in a leafy suburban area 10 miles south of central Nashville.

Hale entered the school, with about 200 students from preschool to sixth grade, dressed partly in camouflage and carrying two AR-style weapons along with a handgun. The assailant then killed students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9; and substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; longtime school head Katherine Koonce, 60; and custodian Mike Hill, 61. Police said the shooter fired at five officers who had entered the school, two of whom fired back and ended the rampage.

Shortly after the shooting, police said they had “carefully reviewed” a “manifesto” and other writings left in a vehicle in the school’s parking lot and inside the shooter’s bedroom. They said the writings showed Hale “documented plans, drawing maps of the school, over a period of months to commit mass murder,” adding that Hale “considered the actions of other mass murderers.”

Public interest or need for privacy?

The Metro Nashville Police Department initially said it planned to release the records, then denied public records requests seeking them, citing an ongoing investigation despite the sole suspect being dead.

Several groups sued for access, including the Tennessean newspaper along with a gun rights group and a state lawmaker.

In court filings, they wrote that the public is entitled to the documents under open-records laws and the First Amendment, describing the shooter’s writings as a matter of public interest. The Tennessean wrote that it hoped to “bring to light additional facts regarding this incident, societal and mental health issues, and issues regarding firearms more broadly,” saying the documents could answer questions about the shooter’s motivations and access to firearms while under mental health treatment. The Tennessee Firearms Association argued that making the records public would “very likely prevent the killing of other school children.”

Separately, dozens of Republican Tennessee lawmakers sent an open letter to Drake to request the release of the writings, saying that understanding the motives of the shooter would inform school safety legislation.

Parents of several of the students killed have fought hard against the release, filing a motion to intervene in the legal battle. In an anguished and fiery declaration filed in court, parent Erin Kinney castigated media outlets “shamefully clamoring for these writings,” accusing them of being motivated by profit rather than public interest. Kinney, whose 9-year-old son William was among those killed, wrote: “I don’t need to read a single word this shooter wrote to know that there are no answers to be found.”

Making those words public, she wrote, could inspire copycats and would provide the notoriety many mass shooters seek.

“The pathway to obtain notoriety from murdering children must be removed, starting here, with this shooter, who I will never, ever name,” Kinney wrote.

Those seeking the documents have acknowledged the parents’ pain, but argued that they do not have standing in the case because the law clearly requires the release of the records. One filing noted that the state legislature “has made the policy decision that, as a general rule, the interest of the public as a whole in information about the operation of government outweighs individual privacy concerns.”

“Appellate courts in Tennessee have found no legal authority supporting an exclusion from the Tennessee Public Records Act for an otherwise public record based upon the wishes of citizens involved,” it added.

The ripples of this decision may also set a far-reaching precedent, said Deborah Fisher, executive director of the advocacy group Tennessee Coalition for Open Government that fights for access to public records and meetings.

She said she feels for the parents, but noted that they are asking for a dramatic deviation from how the public records law works.

“They’re in deep grief,” she said. “I can’t hardly imagine, but they’re not the only ones with an interest. This was a crime. This was something we want to prevent.”

There often isn’t the choice of whether the writings of a mass shooter will be public. The white supremacist who killed 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood uploaded his manifesto to Google Drive. The man who feared a “Hispanic invasion” and killed 20 at a Walmart in El Paso posted his 2,300-word screed on the anonymous message board 8chan.

The families of Covenant victims argue that this is a rare opportunity to protect their children before any more of the document is released.

In May, a judge ruled that a group of more than 100 Covenant families could intervene in the case. In support of their push, attorneys for the families gathered statements from an emergency room doctor, a psychologist, a former district attorney, a former Texas Bureau of Information director, Covenant staff and multiple parents.

An appeals court is considering the judge’s decision, Drake said. Officials expect a ruling in coming weeks.

Deciding whether publishing the information does more good than harm is a tricky balancing act, said Adam Lankford, a criminologist at the University of Alabama who has studied how media coverage affects future shooters.

Having access to a killer’s writings, he said, helps researchers like him come up with better suggestions for how to protect people from mass shooters.

“The entire country is really built on the understanding that you can’t rely on the government for innovation, so I think that’s the potential good of releasing information,” Lankford said.

He said the risk is copycat killers and feeding into what the shooters want. “There’s the risk that you’re rewarding them by letting their ideas reach a large audience that they otherwise would never reach,” he said.

Brittany Shammas contributed to this report.

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75 Journaling Prompts

  • Self-development

75 Journaling Prompts

Even the most experienced journalers can sometimes find themselves stuck, uninspired, and without ideas on what to write in their journals. Although this is usually only temporary, many people find it annoying when they’re unable to think of something to write about in their journals.

The good news is that there’s a way to get your journaling creativity going again. How? By consulting some suggested journaling prompts. Regardless of whether you’re keeping a thorough reflective journal , a bullet journal, or a gratitude journal, journaling prompts are one of the best ways to stimulate your self-awareness journey.

Before we dive into various journaling prompts that we’ve prepared for you, let’s talk about journaling itself a bit.

Why Keep a Journal?

Here at Intelligent Change, we talk a lot about self-care , happiness , purpose , and all the things you can do to improve the quality of your life. We’re all about living a balanced life , building healthy routines and setting up morning and evening rituals, being proactive , instilling a positive mindset , and also keeping a journal as a way of maintaining mental hygiene .

Some time ago we wrote an article about the numerous benefits of journaling , and we still stand by them today. Journaling offers a plethora of benefits, from making us more resilient to stress––and thus physically and mentally healthier––to expanding our worldviews and improving our relationships with other people.

Journaling is a way of self-recognition and self-discovery , but also a useful tool for coping with stress and deepening your understanding of life. It improves our emotional and social intelligence and makes us more susceptible to understanding our social environment.

If you want to reap the finest benefits of journaling, it’s important that you make it a daily habit. It’s like any other practice: it requires commitment, repetition, and patience to produce visible results.

Here are some of the journaling prompts that we’ve prepared for you to try.

Journaling Prompts

75 journaling prompts

Self-Discovery Prompts

  • What are my 5 most important values? Is my life, mindset, and daily actions aligned with them?
  • I am happy because…
  • What are 5 things I like the most about myself? Why are these my strengths?
  • 5 things I like the least about myself? What can I do to work and grow through them, and unleash my full potential?
  • What words have impacted my life and changed the way I think about something?
  • What’s the one thing I couldn’t imagine my life without?
  • What does unconditional love mean to me? Can I love myself and others unconditionally and what would that look like?
  • How did I get where I am today? What shaped me? What made me me ?
  • What do I love about my life?
  • Self-description in 10 words.
  • What’s my biggest mistake? What did I learn from it?
  • What gives me the most energy and inspiration?
  • 5 things that would make my life more fulfilled right now. How can I attract them into my life?
  • What’s my deepest desire?
  • What kind of an adult did I want to become as a child? Am I that person now?
  • What’s my first memory?
  • What’s something I will regret not doing?
  • What kind of impression do I tend to leave on people? Is this the mark I want to leave?
  • Imagine a world where I could do everything I like without being judged. Would anything change in my life?
  • What scares me?
  • In what situations do I undervalue myself?

Reflection on an Experience Prompts

  • What's something I wish I had known 5/10/15 years ago? If I could give myself the advice I needed at that time, how would my life change? How can I apply this advice now?
  • When do I feel the happiest in my skin?
  • If my body could talk, what would it say?
  • What are my biggest regrets?
  • What am I proud of the most?
  • What is the best day in my life so far? Why?
  • This week’s one worthy memory.
  • What’s the most outrageous thing I’ve ever done? How did it make me feel?
  • If I could travel back in time, what moment would I go back to experience again right away?
  • If I could travel back in time, what’s the first thing I would change? Why is it so important? What can I do to let go of it?
  • What’s the most recent change I’ve been through? How did I cope with it?
  • 1 thing I learned from today/this week/month/year…
  • What am I doing today that will benefit me tomorrow?

Daily Gratitude Prompts

  • Why am I grateful for the things I appreciate?
  • 1 positive word that can describe my day…
  • What is my intention for tomorrow?
  • What or who made me the happiest today?
  • 3 people who have inspired me today…
  • 1 thing I can do to brighten someone else’s day…
  • Today I found bliss in…
  • How did I give and receive appreciation today?
  • How did my positive affirmation impact me today?
  • How will I embody one of my core values today?
  • What am I going to do tomorrow to make it great?
  • What 1 thing can I do today to take care of myself?
  • What is a big win from today?
  • Who is someone I want to wish well?
  • What are the aspects of my life that I sometimes take for granted?
  • Write a gratitude letter to someone who I haven’t thanked properly, but should have.
  • List of 20 things that always make me smile and feel at peace.

Emotion Management Prompts

  • How am I feeling? Why do I feel that way? Who do I want to tell how I’m feeling?
  • What worries me the most in life and why? How can I fix it?
  • What do I need to feel safe? What makes me feel strong and in control of any situation?
  • Is there something or someone I can’t forgive? Why? How does it impact my life? How can I let go of those feelings and emotions?
  • How do I handle conflicts and disagreements? Is there room for improvement?
  • How do I cope with uncertainty?
  • How do I respond to a crisis? What can help me stay grounded and sane? What and who helps me overcome challenges?
  • What do I need to be in balance?
  • Do I get enough sleep? Do I usually wake up well-rested?
  • When I am in a bad mood, what can I do to turn my day around?
  • How do I express kindness, gratitude, love, and support? What is my love and support language? How can I share more joy?
  • Am I judging and criticizing? How can I stop doing this?

Relationships Prompts

  • 5 important life lessons from my parents/caretakers/close relatives/mentors/role models…
  • What do I value the most in a friend? Who is my closest friend? How have they changed me?
  • What do I appreciate the most about my family/partner/teammate?
  • What are the 3 things I look for in every relationship? What do I bring to every relationship?
  • Who are the 5 people I spend most of my time with? How do they make me feel?
  • Who fully understands me and knows me better than myself?
  • Am I happy about my current romantic relationship? How can I deepen our bond?
  • What are my weak sides as a partner/friend/sibling/colleague I should work on?
  • Which relationships in my life could use some improvements? What went wrong and what can I do to fix it?
  • How am I different from my parents? How did it impact my relationship with them? What parent do I want to be?
  • Write a letter to someone I’ve lost. What do I have left to tell them?

We’ve come to the end of the 75-item journaling prompts we’ve composed to help you rekindle your journaling inspiration. We’re absolutely positive that these prompts will inspire you to come up with your own new ones, spike inspiration, and make journaling great again.

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Russian Court to Hear Appeal on Detention of WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich

A moscow court will hear an appeal on april 18 that could decide where he is held or grant him bail.

Updated April 6, 2023 5:20 pm ET

Mr. Gershkovich’s lawyers are challenging his detention on allegations of espionage, which the Journal vehemently denies. The Moscow City Court said it would hear the appeal April 18.

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Wall Street Journal reporter loses appeal and will stay in a Russian jail at least through November

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. A Russian court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear a defense appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against the decision to extend his period of detention. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. A Russian court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear a defense appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against the decision to extend his period of detention. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. A Russian court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear a defense appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against the decision to extend his period of detention. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich reacts standing in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. A Russian court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear a defense appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against the decision to extend his period of detention. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich smiles standing in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. A Russian court on Tuesday is scheduled to hear a defense appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against the decision to extend his period of detention. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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MOSCOW (AP) — Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich lost an appeal Tuesday to be released from jail on espionage charges, meaning he will remain behind bars at least through Nov. 30.

Gershkovich, 31, had a mostly blank expression as he appeared in the defendant’s glass cage in Moscow City Court in blue shirt, T-shirt and jeans. He marked six months in custody on Sept. 29.

It was the second time in less than a month he had appeared before a judge to appeal an August decision to extend his pre-trial detention through November. On Sept. 19, the court declined to hear the appeal, citing unspecified procedural violations.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” that Gershkovich’s appeal was rejected, adding: “Evan should be released.”

Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty editor Alsu Kurmasheva sits in a cage in a courtroom in Kazan, Russia, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. Alsu Kurmasheva is an editor for Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. She is the second U.S. journalist to be detained in Russia this year.(Artemii Shumatov/Kommersant Publishing House via AP)

The journalist was detained in March while on a reporting trip to the city of Yekaterinburg, about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) east of Moscow.

The court proceedings are closed because prosecutors say details of the criminal case are classified.

Russia’s Federal Security Service alleged Gershkovich, “acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

Gershkovich and the Journal deny the allegations, and the U.S. government has declared him to be wrongfully detained. Russian authorities haven’t detailed any evidence to support the espionage charges.

He is being held at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, notorious for its harsh conditions. Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be charged with espionage in Russia since 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB.

Analysts have pointed out that Moscow may be using jailed Americans as bargaining chips after U.S.-Russian tensions soared when Russia sent troops into Ukraine. At least two U.S. citizens arrested in Russia in recent years — including WNBA star Brittney Griner — have been exchanged for Russians jailed in the U.S.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said it will consider a swap for Gershkovich only after a verdict in his trial. In Russia, espionage trials can last for more than a year.

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WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich loses appeal, will remain in Russian detention

Bill Chappell

journal writing deutsch

Evan Gershkovich, the U.S. reporter detained on espionage charges in Russia, stands inside a defendants' cage before a hearing to consider an appeal of his extended detention at the Moscow City Court. His appeal was rejected. Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Evan Gershkovich, the U.S. reporter detained on espionage charges in Russia, stands inside a defendants' cage before a hearing to consider an appeal of his extended detention at the Moscow City Court. His appeal was rejected.

Russia's Moscow City Court refused to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich from pretrial detention Thursday, rejecting an appeal from the American journalist who is being held on espionage charges. Gershkovich's parents attended the hearing.

Authorities have not offered any evidence to support their allegations against Gershkovich; the U.S. says he is being "wrongfully detained" and must be released immediately.

A Russian court has extended Evan Gershkovich's detention until the end of August

A Russian court has extended Evan Gershkovich's detention until the end of August

Gershkovich's parents traveled to Russia to hear the decision, and they were able to briefly see their son and talk with him through an opening in the glass and metal cage from which he viewed Thursday's proceeding. Gershkovich, wearing a dark T-shirt and jeans, was seen smiling as he stood talking with his mother.

Evan laughing and joking in court today with his parents. A wonderful moving moment of an otherwise sad day, as his arrest is upheld until at least August 30. #istandwithevan pic.twitter.com/NvgVbaSk58 — Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) June 22, 2023

Gershkovich has been detained since late March, when he was taken into custody by Russian security agents during a reporting trip near the Ural Mountains in western Russia. His appeal sought to overturn a court ruling in May that extended his pretrial detention for three months, through at least August 30.

The court noted that the charges accuse Gershkovich of collecting information about Russia's military-industrial complex. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in April that Gershkovich "was caught red-handed and his journalistic status ... was merely a cover for spying."

Despite that claim, Russia's move to detain a U.S. journalist for the first time in decades is widely seen as an escalation of two items on the Kremlin's agenda: seizing leverage in negotiations over disputes with the U.S., and suppressing journalism operations inside Russia as it wages war on neighboring Ukraine.

"This whole legal process as it relates to Evan is a sham," U.S. State Department Principal Deputy Spokesman Vedant Patel said on Wednesday . "We've been very clear that Evan is wrongfully detained, being wrongfully detained and targeted for simply doing his job" as a journalist.

Gershkovich was detained months after Moscow freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in a prisoner swap in exchange for the U.S. releasing convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been freed from a Russian prison

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been freed from a Russian prison

Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan has been in Russian custody for more than four years after being arrested in late 2018. He was later sentenced to serve 16 years in a Russian penal colony on what the U.S. says are bogus espionage charges. The Biden administration has promised to keep working toward his release.

Biden vows to bring longtime detainee Paul Whelan home from Russia too

Biden vows to bring longtime detainee Paul Whelan home from Russia too


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