Prompts from the Blog

The writing prompts below encourage deep personal reflection and exploration and can be applied to any of your life’s narratives (emotional, physical, family, professional, etc.). Several of the prompt groups are based on poems or songs, so you might need to access them in their corresponding blog posts (click on the titles) so that your reflection and writing fully benefit from the prompts. I also encourage you to get creative by using a line or two from the poems or songs to inspire your own. You can also transform your journaling entries into poems or songs. You  just might discover a creative voice you didn’t know you have!

If you would like to read the corresponding posts, please click on the titles.

The Weight of Words
If you’re new to journaling, beginning with single words might be a more comfortable and manageable way to begin, while still offering the benefits of personal expression.

  • Make a list of your “heavy words” (words that cause you sadness, discomfort, anxiety, etc.) Then, if you wish to, scratch them out or tear out the page, ball it up and throw it away.
  • Now, make a list of your “light” words. Consider hanging up this list in a prominent place or carrying it around with you. You can get creative and write each one in colorful ink on a sticky note or index card and hang them up in places meaningful for each word.
  • In your journal, reflect on the various ways in which these words bring lightness, joy, and healing into your life.
  • What new blossom has broken through your pain? Is it a new or improved relationship? Is it a newly discovered strength, value, or other new facet of yourself?
  • If you could step out of your body, abandon your physical self, what kind of blossom would emerge and why? What is your flower spirit?
  • Do you wish or have you ever wished you could be someone else or live a different life?
  • What, if any, masks have you worn and why?
  • In what way(s) do you feel vulnerable and why? Reflect on this vulnerability and how it has or could enhance who you are to yourself and to others.
  • What does it mean to be you and only you?

Power: Lost and Found

  • Reflect on a time when you felt most powerful. Consider the following questions for your reflective writing:
    • What created this sense of power?
    • How did it affect you? If others were involved, how did it affect them?
    • Does the experience of this situation continue to have an impact on you and/or others in your life?
    • What did you learn about yourself from this situation?
    • What aspects of this experience can you use now to reclaim your sense of power?

Empower Yourself with Forgiveness

When it seems like someone’s actions toward you have left you angry, bitter, and powerless, you still have the power to forgive. Here are a couple of ideas to inspire and nurture this power and to achieve empowerment:

  • Consider writing this person a letter of forgiveness. If you’re not ready to offer forgiveness, write the letter in your journal or keep it in an envelope to send later. If you’d rather offer your forgiveness in person, then use your journal to plan out what you would like to say.
  • Explore the situation by writing about it from your perspective and then again from the offender’s perspective. You might not know what motivated the action against you, but revisiting it from another perspective will allow you to engage your moral imagination and identify with the other person, thereby bringing empathy and compassion to your perspective of the situation and/or to your relationship with the person (if there was one to begin with). Considering the problem from the other’s perspective, whether or not it is purely speculative, provides you with more avenues by which to lead yourself to forgiveness and healing.

To Have a Friend, To Be a Friend

  • Reflect on the importance of friendship in this time of your life. Consider the following questions to help guide your reflection and writing:
    • Has your friendship with someone become closer? If so, in what way(s) and to what effect(s)?
    • Do you have different needs and/or expectations from your friends now?
    • Have you become a better friend to others? If so, in what way(s) and to what effect(s)?
    • What would you like to say to a friend who has been especially helpful to you during this time? Maybe you’ve already expressed your gratitude to this person. Consider writing about it anyway to see if your expression of gratitude is enhanced with stronger feelings or more expressive language (the anonymity of writing for ourselves can result in such differences in the way we express ourselves).

Before, After, and Still

  • What do you want family and friends or a particular person (co-worker, boss, etc.) to understand about the changes in you? Consider the following types of changes: physical, emotional, spiritual, professional, and personal (values, beliefs, perspective, etc.).
  • What positive changes have emerged from your experience?
  • What have you learned about yourself?
  • What have you learned about others or a particular person close to you?
  • Write about the experience from your perspective and then again from the point of view of someone very close to you. What difference(s) do you notice in these narratives? Which was easier to write and why do think this is the case? Do you have a changed or enhanced understanding of the person as a result of writing in his or her perspective?

Our Clutter, Our Gardens, Ourselves: Spring Cleaning, Planting, and Blooming for Personal Wellbeing

  • Spring Cleaning: What do you want/need to clean out of your life so that you can make room for planting and experience rejuvenation? What habit(s), behavior(s), and  attitude(s) need to stop? What things, and maybe even people, need to go?
  • Planting: What seeds do you need to plant to begin positive, healthy, and useful growth in your life? What do you need to start doing?
  • Blooming: What is working for you that you should continue? Why are these behaviors working well for you? How have you been benefiting from them? Spend some time reflecting on these behaviors so that you not only reap the benefits of “planting” yourself in a positive mindset for a while, but also to help you determine how your Blooming can positively impact your Spring Cleaning and Planting efforts. Think about how all this can work together.

Exploring Survival

  • SURVIVOR: See how many words and phrases you can come up with that begin with each letter of the word. The words and phrases should describe you and define your experience as a survivor. After you make your list, consider writing an acrostic poem, in which the first letters of the lines in your poem spell “survivor”. Click on the title above to see an example. Each line after the first doesn’t have to begin a new sentence. Here’s a bit from my poem to show you what I mean:
    Suffering requires stamina, and there’s the strength that drives
    Us to not only survive but thrive.
    Renewal of life is a daily revival,
    Victory born anew, day after day, sun to sun.
    . . . .

    • Also, consider using the words and phrases on your list as individual topics for journaling.
  • As a survivor, you probably consider each day a gift. Reflect on and write about the people, experiences, sights, sounds, tastes, etc. that make each day a gift for you. Think about how you can bring more of these into your days and use your journal also to create a plan to make it happen.
  • As a survivor, maybe you consider each new day a birthday. Reflect on your past birthdays, who and what made them so special, and write about these special memories. From these memories, create a future birthday memory by describing how you want to experience your next birthday.
  • Celebrate each new day by writing in your journal what you’re looking forward to. This is an especially effective thing to do while you’re sitting in a waiting room or are being held up in some other unpleasant situation. (Yes, this means you should carry your journal with you everywhere you go! Buy a small one specifically for this purpose.)


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