Journal prompts, but the same ones every day
May 16, 2018 9:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about journaling daily about my day and any associated thoughts. The main purpose is to record things that happened so it can jog my memory when re-reading the entry. I want prompts for this. Questions along the lines of "Did you go anywhere (interesting) today?", "What did you wear?", "Did you buy anything and if so, what?" are what I'm looking for.

I just made a list of questions like that, but there's a lot and it's hard to choose ones that are vague enough to elaborate on but specific enough that I don't digress too much. I want the prompts to be pretty consistent day today so I can compare each day. I might want 4 ish prompts for each day, maybe writing 2 or 3 sentences each. What would you do if you were trying to create a hybrid of checklist journal/daily journal/mood tracking? I'll probably write more about anything that was particularly important or that stood out to me, but I wanted to to have a start.
posted by starlybri to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I really like these ones by Carrie Snyder - she talks about using them in shared journal with her daughter. Even if they're a little too broad for your purposes, they might be a useful starting point?
1. Something that surprised you today.
2. Something you’re proud of today.
3. Something silly.
4. Something happy.
5. Something sad.
6. Something you’re thankful for today.
posted by fever-trees at 9:51 PM on May 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Not a journal prompt per se, but my husband and I verbally do “3-3-3”: 3 things you liked, 3 things you learned, and 3 things you’re looking forward to.
posted by samthemander at 11:04 PM on May 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

The Grid Diary app gives you a lot of options to customize your daily journal. Even if you want to write by hand, maybe take a look and see which questions appeal to you?
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:31 PM on May 16, 2018

I keep a journal with weekly checklists/prompts, and I ask myself "1 thing I learned" and "1 thing I achieved".
posted by Gordafarin at 1:21 AM on May 17, 2018

I used to have a google form with a list of questions to track things like that. It emailed me a copy and archived each entry automatically to a google sheet row. I had it as a browser bookmark but you can IFFT it to send to you daily.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 2:30 AM on May 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Lynda Barry's book Syllabus has this daily journaling exercise. Draw a cross or an X to split the page into 4 areas. In one, write down five things you did that day. In another, write down five things you saw that day. In the third, write one quote you heard. In the fourth, draw something.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:05 AM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

You may want to check out the "taking stock" list from this site here. She does that exercise every couple months instead of daily, but maybe pulling just a couple for a daily check-in may be a good idea.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

similar to samthemander: highlight(s) of the day, lowlight(s) of the day, what are you looking forward to. an excellent verbal end of day partner exercise that translates well into a journal.
posted by enfa at 9:46 AM on May 17, 2018

2nding enfa-- I've heard it called "Rose, Bud, Thorn":
Rose (required): Positives from the day
Thorns (optional): Things that could have been better
Bud (required): What you're looking forward to

It's easy, and effective.
posted by matrixclown at 11:25 AM on May 17, 2018

I've kept a daily journal for a lot of my adult life. I keep the the prompt for that one to this:

People I've met -- how, where, and (sometimes) why

For another, non-daily writers journal, I use two prompts from a couple books I've read.

First prompt:

Keep a writer's journal of ideas, names, images*, words and phrases, dreams, moments. Write what is around you, using all your senses... narrow everything down; make it as specific as you can.

* write the images down completely

Second prompt:

"And a man of about 40 or so with a French accent asked 'How do you find the presence of mind to initiate the writing of a poem?'... I said 'Well, I'll tell you how. I ask a simple question. I as myself "What was the best moment of your day?" The wonder of it, I told them was that this one question could lift out from my life exactly what I want to write a poem about. Something I hadn't known was important will leap up and hover in front of me and say 'I am -- I am the best moment of the day.'"
--- Nicolson Baker, The Anthologist (p 236)
posted by rw at 1:17 PM on May 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

DavidRM's The Journal comes with pre-loaded prompts like this, and you can add your own. It's an excellent product.
posted by megatherium at 5:06 AM on May 18, 2018

« Older This One Weird Shrub! Bees LOVE it!   |   Help me find these talon/pointy earrings Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.