Journaling,  Uncategorized

Journaling: Q = Quotes (as prompts)

Yesterday I talked about using the Visual Arts, specifically photographs, as journaling prompts. Today I will focus on using the Literary Arts to prompt our journaling efforts.


Using the words of others to inspire our own writing is a valid method of brainstorming. It isn’t plagiarism if we don’t publish it. Since journaling is for our eyes only, there is no risk.

Music especially has a way of transporting us back to a different place in time. 

For example, when I hear Rod Stewart’s song, Maggie May, I am instantly reminded of sitting in the back of the sixth grade school bus. I had just moved from Texas to Connecticut, and I had transitioned from parochial school to public school. While I have no other vivid memory of the bus ride itself, I have enough memories of that sixth grade year to fill several journals. That is the power of music.

When I listen to music, however, I typically focus on rhythm and melody. For me, lyrics often remain in the background. I’m always surprised when I take the time to read lyrics of a favorite song, they somehow capture exactly what I’m feeling. This multi-modal form of communication – sight, sound, and rhythm (touch) is especially powerful for bringing the subconscious to the surface.

However, musical lyrics are not the only texts suitable for journaling.

Since the advent of Pinterest, I’ve started a collection of favorite quotes (they can be found on my Words to Live By board). I typically use these for inspiration or positive affirmations. However, quotes can also serve as journaling prompts. The concise language of others stirs up emotions and memories within us.

Spiritual journaling is often aided by reading through scriptures. Once you discover a verse that speaks to you, don’t be afraid to personalize it. Insert your name for the given pronoun and allow this intimacy with the Lord to translate to your written page.

Finally, poetry is a visual language. Rich symbolism combined with concise verbiage provides excellent inspiration for exploratory writing. Conversely, a good journaling exercise could be to distill discursive thoughts into a focused poem. Try a bit of figurative language, an appropriate metaphor or simile, to put emotions into words. Don’t rush through the exercise, but instead relax, ponder, and use your imagination.

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Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share? I’m always looking for more to add my growing collection.

Up next – Journaling: R is for Retreat



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