Writing Wednesday: Structured journaling for daily inspiration

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Morning writing routine

It’s not always easy to think of what to journal about every day. We all know that journaling is good for you, but sometimes our day to day lives don’t seem noteworthy enough to write about every day. Or we don’t always feel inspired daily. How do you journal when you don’t know what to journal about?

There are a couple of options: one is to follow our Daily Journaling Prompts which give you a journaling topic every day of the month.

Another option is to have a set list of journaling topics that you fill in each day. This simplifies the journaling process by eliminating the decision-making. You don’t have to think about what you are going to write about each day; you just fill it in.

Here are some ideas for topics to journal about every day. The topics go from easy to some with more depth.

Weather: This one is the easiest, yet somehow very gratifying: to write about the weather each day. Often the weather sets the tone for the day, so this can put the rest of your day’s writing in context. I also like to write about seasonal differences such as if the winter is colder than the year before, if spring came earlier or later this year, etc.

Nature: This one is also easy yet gratifying. Notice the natural world around you and write what you see: which birds are at the feeder this morning, which flowers are blooming. I like to write when the leaves start turning in the autumn and when the birds migrate.

Record/ Log book: This is the easiest and most straightforward way to write about your day: Write factually about what happened or what you did today. Who you talked to, what you did, where you went. I like Austin Kleon’s logbook method, which got me back on the journaling wagon a few years ago.

Goal tracking: Another straightforward thing to journal about is your goals tracking. Note your miles run, pages written, and any other achievements of your daily goals. Write about your monthly milestones, evaluate your progress, and make plans for continued success. (For more tips on setting your goals and evaluating your progress, see this exercise, which is a day by day goal-setting plan and can be done any time.)

Gratitude: This is a simple yet very meaningful thing to journal about. Studies have shown that journaling things you are grateful for trains your brain to think in a more positive mindset. It helps reframe your situation to see what you have, instead of what you don’t. For more tips on gratitude journaling, see this post.

Thoughts today: This doesn’t have to get too involved. In the past I’ve fallen into the trap of spending lots of time each day pontificating, only to burn out on the journaling process and drop it entirely. It doesn’t have to be like that. Just write briefly what’s on your mind. It can be interesting to look back later on what was occupying your thoughts day to day.

You could write on all of these topics, or just some of them, easily every day in just a few minutes. This gives you guidelines on what to write about and lets you fill in your journaling quickly and easily, while still giving you useful things to process and remember.

Which type of book you use can influence the effectiveness of your daily journaling. Some people like the freedom of being able to write as much or as little as they want each day in an undated notebook. Other people find it easier to write consistently in a dated page per day planner. To help you decide which to use, see this post for tips and ideas.


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