When it comes to tools for self-care and self-love, journaling is at the top of almost every list. It allows for intentional reflection, promotes internal harmony, and gives you an opportunity to spend time with yourself.
However, the problem with journaling (or at least what people generally think of when they hear the word) is that it takes time a lot of people don’t have.
Just filling one page can take 10-20 minutes depending on how fast you write and how big your journal is. That’s 30-60 minutes for just three pages.
For many, that’s simply not realistic.
I know it isn’t for me. And that’s not to mention the fact that I already spend most of my day writing. Therefore, trying to stick to a journaling routine often feels impossible because it means producing even more words and spending even more time staring at a blank page.
This problem (and the tension it creates between knowing I should be journaling and not knowing how to find the time or energy) inspired me to devise a 5–10 minute mini journaling method that’s intentional, thought-provoking, and easy on the tired mind: A Journaling practice for the busy writer.
Because here’s the reality:
- Journaling doesn’t have to take hours.
- You don’t have to journal at the same time every day.
- Your journaling practice should never cause stress.
Journaling Practice for the Busy Writer
Implementing an intentional and meaningful mini journaling practice can be broken down into three steps:
Identify 5-10 minutes of free time during your day. This doesn’t have to happen at the same time every day. It could happen during your lunch break, your evening routine, or even your drive home from work. No matter what time you choose, make sure to put it in your calendar!
Develop a 30-60 second pre-journaling routine. This mini routine is necessary because it will help get you in the journaling zone, even if you’re in the middle of your workday and surrounded by people. It doesn’t have to be anything special and could even be as simple as close your computer, grab your favorite pen, and start writing.
The key to this mini routine is intentionality. As long as you’re acting with intention, it doesn’t matter how simple your actions are. Give yourself the kindness of acting with intention, because if you do that, you’ll create a boundary between your journaling practice and wherever (or whenever) you are in your day.
Compile a list of prompts and choose one every day. If you’re going to journal for only a few minutes, then it’s important to make those minutes count. This doesn’t mean putting pressure on yourself or overthinking what you write. Instead, it just means that journaling prompts are your new best friend.
Here are 21 prompts for writers to get you started.
- What’s your favorite piece of writing advice? Why?
- What positive things can you tell yourself when writing gets hard?
- What’s your favorite word?
- What items would you have in your dream writing space?
- What’s a quote about writing that makes you feel inspired?
- Write about something that amazed or excited you as a child.
- Write a few sentences about why you started writing.
- Make a list of five times you felt inspired. Do you notice any themes or commonalities?
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
- Choose a word of the day.
- Do a quick sketch that represents how you feel right now.
- What is an affirmation you love?
- When is your favorite time to write?
- What does your ideal writing session look like? Brainstorm 3-5 things you can do to help make it a reality.
- Write about an adventure you’d like to go on.
- Make a mini 5-10 item literary bucket list. This could include books you want to read, places you want to write, museums you want to see, etc. The opportunities are endless.
- Write stream-of-consciousness for five minutes.
- If someone asked you for advice about writing, what would you tell them?
- Make a list of five things you believe in.
- What does your dream writing life look like? Make a list of 5 small, measurable actions you can take right now to get closer to that dream.
- What do you love about being a writer?
Journaling is an awesome tool for self-care. It’s also a necessary aspect of the creative practice because it allows for intentional reflection and promotes internal harmony.
But life is crazy and if you’re anything like me, then you probably feel a little overwhelmed already. The idea of adding in a journaling practice can seem like too much, especially if you already spend hours writing every day.
The solution: a 5–10-minute intentional journaling practice made for the busy writer.
Because the reality is that:
- Journaling doesn’t have to take hours
- You don’t have to journal at the same time every day
- Your journaling practice can and should be whatever you need it to be
All you need for a consistent and meaningful journaling practice is:
- 5-10 minutes
- A 30-60 second pre-journaling mini routine to get you internally focused and help make the moment special
- A thought-provoking prompt
Are you ready to implement a journaling practice that doesn’t stress you out more than it helps you? Schedule a 5–10 minute journaling session today, pick a prompt from the list, and go for it.
I believe in you.
Want more free resources and prompts every week? Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter today.
With Love, Cats, and Coffee 💖,
The Present Active Writer