These seven journal ideas foster creative thinking and promote regular (daily) writing. Some are good for keeping track of your ideas. Others are ideal for solving problems or keeping yourself inspired and motivated to write.

1. The Dream Journal

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The subconscious is a wondrous thing. Artists and geniuses alike have attributed some of their best work to the messages they received while dreaming. A dream journal is useful for anyone interested in exploring the subconscious mind, where creativity often lives and breathes. This type of journal writing is also ideal for folks who are interested in dream interpretation or trying to achieve lucid dreaming. For writers, journals that hold dreams will provide a myriad images and plots that the waking creative mind simply can’t drudge up. Keep your journal near your bed, and make sure you jot down your dreams as soon as you wake up, otherwise with each minute that passes, you’ll lose chunks of your nighttime imaginings.

2. Art Journal

Even us writers have to admit that a picture is worth a thousand words. Symbols are particularly powerful and speak directly to the subconscious, which is where your muse might be hiding. Like a dream journal, an art journal is a clever way to get in touch with the deeper recesses of your mind, where some of your most creative ideas are lurking. You don’t have to be a fine artist to use an art journal. Doodles and stick figures will open up your right brain too! An art journal is also perfect for sketching your characters, scenery, and maps of the worlds you’re creating for your fiction.

3. Freewriting Journal

Sometimes called stream-of-consciousness writing, freewriting is a way to clear your mind of clutter. If you keep at it long enough, some pretty interesting stuff will emerge through your freewrites. Yes, it’s yet another way to tap into your creativity. If you can stop your conscious thinking and let the words flow, you’ll be amazed at the creative stew that is brewing just beneath the surface. You can do straight freewriting or try guided freewriting in which you focus on a specific word, image, or topic. It’s a great way to hash out conversations with your characters, accumulate raw material that can later be harvested for poems, and brainstorm for just about any writing project that you’re planning or working on.

4. Idea Journal

How many ideas have you lost? If you make it a point to note your ideas through daily journal writing, there’s a good chance you won’t lose any at all. This is why so many writers keep a journal or notebook with them at all times. In fact many writers use miniature notebooks for this very reason — there’s nothing worse than coming up with a brilliant idea when you’re at a party, in the middle of a phone conversation, or trying to fall asleep. Keep your journal near your person at all times, and you’ll never lose an idea again. Or pick up several miniature notebooks and keep them in convenient places — your nightstand, purse, car, desk drawer at the office, even the bathroom!

5. Inspirational Writing Journals

What inspires you? A sunset? A day with friends and family? A great movie or an inspiring song? Quotes from the greats? You can record all the things that inspire you in an inspiration journal, taking notes from some of the world’s most successful creators. You can even paste photos and clippings, using images to capture moments that were especially inspiring. Then when your creativity meter is running low, you can flip through your inspiration journal to capture ideas that ignite your passion (and your next writing project).

6. Life Events or Diary

A diary is pretty straightforward — you simply record the goings-on in your life. Some people start writing journals in diary format for special times or events in their lives, such as when they’re getting married or having a baby, traveling, or moving to a new place. Diary writing is a great place to start if you’re interested in writing a memoir or autobiography. It’s also a perfect place to record the real experiences that you’ve had even if you plan on fictionalizing them later. Some of the best dialogue, descriptions, and scenes come from real life!

7. Reader’s Journal

If you want to be a writer, read. Read a lot, then read some more. You just can’t read enough. When you write about what you’ve read, you can capture what worked and what didn’t work from a writer’s perspective. You’ll pick up neat writing tricks, jot down techniques that you’ve observed other writers using effectively, and of course, as you read and get ideas for your own projects, you can include those as well. Best of all, you’ll have a place where you’ve listed everything you’ve read and by keeping notes, you’ll retain all of it much better.




After reviewing the seven types of personal journals, your assignment is to try five of the seven types of journals.

These Journals may be completed in any order.
Create a new Journal Entry for each type. Type directly into the entry. The only exception is the Art Journal which may require you to attach a document.
No journal type may be completed more than once.
Make sure to meet the requirements listed below for the types of journal chosen.
Label or title the journals according to their type so there is no confusion about which type of journal is being submitted.
Dream Journal–There are a couple of options for this journal. You may either keep track of the dreams you have for any three days in which you dream or when you remember the dreams. The other option is you may write about a recurring dream which you have, discuss the circumstances surrounding when you have the dream, how often you have had the dream, and your analysis of the dream. Either option which is chosen will require a minimum of 250 words.
Art Journal–Use the Art Journal to create the characters, scenes, small elements which you picture for a story you might write. Perhaps you have always had ideas of a superhero. Create the super hero, costume, super power, villain, home world, etc. Create at least one character, costume, and two supporting elements.
Freewriting Journal–For this freewrite, you will be doing a guided freewrite. For this freewrite, focus on the scent of something. Write about what you associate with that particular scent. Perhaps sunscreen reminds you of a trip to Florida. Maybe there is a perfume which reminds you of your grandma. Write a minimum of 250 words.
Idea Journal–You will need to find a place among people or where you can see a group of people. These people can be on campus, in a classroom, at church, at a party, at the dinner table, at the grocery store, at a mall, or anywhere there are people. They need to be people who are not interacting with you, but with others. Your job is to generate ideas by creating a scene between these individuals. Why are they together? Have they met up or just run into each other? What is their conversation about? How do they know each other? What are their plans? How long have they known each other? Watch their body language and create according to what you can see. Write a minimum of 250 words and include dialogue to help capture the interaction.
Inspiration Writing Journal–Create a list of items, people, quotes, poetry, television shows, characters, etc. which inspire you. Make notes explaining why each inspires you. Write a minimum of 10 items and 250 words.
Life Events or Diary Journal– Choose two or three days and keep track of the events which happen. Choose the points of interest or experiences which you feel you could go back later and expand upon. This isn’t the place for teeth brushing and went to class. This isn’t an itinerary of your day. This is about experiences, stories, interesting people. Write a minimum of 250 words.
Reading Journal–Choose a short story. There are lots of famous authors and stories posted online to choose from. You can choose one from your text which we have not read in this course. Take notes about what you like, what you don’t, what worked, what didn’t. Think about techniques which you enjoyed. What benefits there were to the dialogue. Was there particularly good imagery. Write a minimum of 250 words.

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