“I want to journal; I just don’t know what to write about.”
Is that you? Do you want to journal and reflect on life and maybe record some important experiences that you’ve had, but once you sit down, you have no idea what to say?
I’ve been there. And so have many of my clients.
You love to write. You love to reflect and journal. Yet there are definitely times when nothing comes to mind.
And for those who are new to journaling, one of the biggest obstacles that get in the way is not knowing what to journal about.
And staring at a blank page is hardly any fun.
So today, I’m going to share three easy ways to journal when you don’t know what to write about. This is great for those who are new to journaling as well as those who have been journaling for years.
As you listen, be sure to think about which one might be the best fit for you.
Okay, so you’re sitting down and staring at a blank page in your journal. You’re somewhat panicking, because you want to write, but you have no idea what to say. Here are three ideas for you to incorporate into your regular journaling practice or to start a special journal on its own.
First, you can keep a quote journal.
This is, perhaps, one of the easiest journals you can keep. Because here’s what you do: anytime you are reading in a book or listening to a podcast, and there’s something you want to remember or you really like how they said it, you just write it down in your journal.
I’ve found that there are a lot of times when this happens: I’m listening to a podcast and the host says something that really resonates with me. But then I don’t write it down! And I can’t remember it exactly, and I grow frustrated with myself. It’s something I want to come back to and read again and ponder a little bit more.
Or maybe a writer says something in an especially beautiful way. And the language is just so touching that I want to savor it and, again, come back to it and remember it.
All you need to write down is the quote itself and who wrote it or said it. If you want to, you can also add the details, like what book you found it in or what podcast episode it was on or what date you wrote it down on.
You don’t have to say anything else about it, either. Just copy it down and keep record of what is touching your heart.
So you can keep a quote journal when you don’t know what to write about. Second, you can also keep a Bible journal.
Now this is similar to the quote journal in that you can copy down Bible verses that are speaking to you in this season of your life.
But you can also just sit down with a notebook as you read through the Bible every day and take notes.
- What passage are you reading?
- What’s going on?
- What questions do you have?
- What stands out to you as you read?
- Is God stirring anything in your heart?
Your Bible journal can be as simple or as in-depth as you want it to be. And since it’s in a separate notebook, you don’t have to worry about fitting everything in on the margins of your Bible.
So you can have a quote journal or you can have a Bible journal. A third way to journal when you don’t know what to write about is to keep a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal is simply a place to write down things you are thankful for. You can do this every day or every week or just whenever something comes to mind.
You might even be able to do this within your planner. I know mine has a place to write down something I’m grateful for every day. It’s extra convenient because it’s right there in my planner and I don’t have to grab an extra notebook.
But you could easily keep a gratitude journal right next to your bed to fill out every night and name what you are thankful for. Or you could keep a list in the back of your Bible for when you have quiet times in the morning. Whatever works best for you.
Journal Prompt: Which one of these three types of journaling appeals the most right now to you—and why?
Now, some of you might argue that these three types aren’t actual journaling. You aren’t writing down your thoughts and feelings or processing something that is hard for you. But I would argue that they are. They are simple ways you can take note of what is speaking to your heart in this season of your life. They are words that God is whispering to you. Why would you not want to write those down?
So here is your journal prompt for this week: Which one of these three types of journaling appeals the most right now to you—and why?
- Do you want to start keeping track of quotes that resonate with you?
- Do you want to process what you’re reading in God’s Word?
- Do you want to be more mindful of the things you’re thankful for?
Which one is striking a chord with you right now? And why do you think it is? Is there something going on in your life that is helping you lean one way or another?
Invitation to My Journal Gently Program
Now, if you have the desire to journal more regularly and want to learn how, or maybe you once journaled but have gotten out of the practice, I invite you to join me in my Journal Gently program.
This program will help you create a sustainable and gentle journaling practice, a way to create space to meet with God and pay attention to the work He is doing in your life.
LaToya is one of the women who have been through the program, and this is what she shared about it: “It was almost like God was sitting right next to me, in silent support, as I struggled to start writing again. A soft whisper of ‘you can do it, just keep going.’”
And she’s not the only one. Others talk about experiencing God’s presence more fully than they have in a really long time.
I’d love for you to experience that, too. You can learn more at lovedoesthat.org/journalgently.
A Prayer to Pause with God
God, we know that life is busy sometimes. We know life is busy a lot of times. And yet we still have this desire within our hearts to meet with You on the pages of our journals. And so God, I pray that You would help us take these small moments of time throughout our day, throughout our week, to pause and spend just a few moments with You. Naming what is speaking most to our hearts. Naming what You are whispering to us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
- Episode 118: Tips for Journaling In Front of Others
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.