Feeling Stuck? Try These 14 Creative Things to Write In a Journal

Ready to start writing something a little different in your journal? You’re going to love this list of creative things to write in a journal — spark your creativity and get your pen moving!

Once you’ve browsed through these prompts, be sure to check out my collection of journal writing prompts for all different moods and writing styles. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of inspiration!

Text creative things to write in a journal on white background over image of woman making creative doodles in open journal.

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Sometimes it feels like my brain is stuck in ‘serious’ mode and I can’t seem to make any progress with anything I’m doing. Then I know it’s time to step back and pull in some creative elements to break the logjam — such as using creative-style writing to break those ‘stuck’ thought patterns. 

Today we’re talking about some of the simple ways you can pull that creative WRITING into your journaling. We’ll save the other creative ways to journal for another post — there are too many to combine with this post. 😉 

If you’re used to writing straightforward, deep, and serious journal responses, you’ll find these will take you in a slightly new direction. 

You’re still writing, but you’ll use a different part of your brain. That will help ideas start flowing and may even allow you to come up with creative solutions in life areas you didn’t expect. So be open to those new thoughts. 

But also, journaling doesn’t always have to lead to grand and life-changing new thoughts. Sometimes it can just be FUN.

Everyone needs at least a little more creativity in their lives, even if they *think* they’re not a creative person. (raises hand) I’m not a crafty or designer-y type person, which is why it seems so much easier to begin exploring creativity through writing. 

Try it and see how it works for you!

14 Creative Things to Write in a Journal

Woman in jeans and blue shirt sitting on ground with legs crossed while writing in leather journal.

I understand that if you’re newer to creative-style writing — or concerned this might not be your ‘thing’ — it can be challenging to jump right in. 

Therefore, this list has a range of creative journal prompts from autobiographical to fantastic. You’ll find there’s something for everyone, so begin wherever you want!

1) Past Present Future

Write about each of these prompts for ten minutes — or as long as you want:

  • Who I Was
  • Who I Am Today
  • Who I Want To Be

2) Ten Years from Today

Where will you be in ten years?

Write in the present tense, beginning with where you wake up in the morning. Is there someone beside you? When you step onto your balcony or out your front door, what do you see? How do you spend your day? Include as many details as possible.

3) Literary Inspiration

Write about your favorite book. If you have the book on hand, begin your journal entry with a passage from one of the pages. Why do you love it so much? Is it the message, the prose, the characters? Did it provide you with information that changed your life? What makes this book special?

4) ‘What if’ Scenarios

Everything that comes out in this session will be creative. It’s kind of like a free write, because you can ask ‘what if?’ about absolutely anything and take it in any direction you want. 

  • What if everyone on earth looked exactly the same? 
  • What if you suddenly became the President of the United States? Or the Queen of England? 
  • What if you woke up one day and nobody knew you?
  • What if you moved to a climate complete opposite of where you currently live?

You get the idea. 😉 Keep it going… 

5) Your Wildest Wishes Come True

A genie offers you three wishes. Do you use them right away? Save them?

What do you wish for? What does your life look like after each wish?

6) The Big Good Wolf

Take a classic story and turn it on its head. You can write from the point of view of the antagonist or change the ending. 

Get into the villain’s head and see how they were just doing what they thought they had to do. Turn them into a sympathetic character by exploring their past trauma and good intentions. 

7) A Talk to Remember

Write about a conversation you’ll never forget, the most important conversation of your life. 

Set the scene and describe everyone who was there. Transcribe each person’s words in as much detail as you can, and reflect on why this conversation was so important. 

What could have happened if the conversation had gone differently or hadn’t happened at all?

Creative journal writing list layout.

8) A Ship in the Harbor

Write about a time you chose the illusion of safety over a new adventure. 

How did this affect your future and your sense of self? What might your life look like if you had chosen differently? In what ways are you still choosing safety over living a full and vibrant life?

9) Alien Intervention

Faraway intelligent lifeforms have been watching us for some time. Things are looking so dire for Earthlings that they decide to intervene. 

What actions do they take? Do they provide us with new technology? Implement a strict breeding program to improve human genetics? Cull the population?

How does humanity respond? How is your life affected?

10) Find Your Why

Begin a journal entry with the words, ‘I write because…’

11) Quotes to Live By

Write one or more of your favorite quotes, what they’ve inspired you to do, and what they may yet inspire in your life.

Write your own quotes. Being famous isn’t a prerequisite for saying profound and/or motivational things. 

Other ways to make quote-journaling creative: 

  • Mindmap your thoughts and feelings around the quote — like word art.
  • Write the quote in calligraphy or your favorite lettering style and doodle around it, jotting down creative ideas as you work. 

12) Re-Examine Reality 

Look around you and make a list of everything you believe to be true — objects, colors, smells, sounds.

Now, turn those things upside-down and inside out. What if your perception of your world is actually the opposite of reality? What would that ‘opposite’ be?

You can do the same thing for your thoughts and established facts (what constitutes a ‘fact’ anyway?). Play around, imagine a different ‘reality’ where everything is opposite… or even skewed 90-degrees. 

You may end up with a flash-fiction short story or an epic fiction masterpiece. Or, you could possibly discover new thoughts that will change your daily perspective and approach to different situations.

13) Rewrite Your Subconscious Thoughts

You could do this a couple of different ways.

First, make a short list of things you’re struggling with, maybe 5 things. Then, for each thing, write down 5 ways to turn that struggle into a positive. What skills could you practice or learn to solve the problem? What actions or new understandings could that struggle lead to? Etc.  

Second, write down your dreams every morning. Use this dream journaling to look deeper into your emotions and how the things going on in your life are affecting you. How can you use those insights?

Both of these methods help you become more observant and flexible with your thinking.

14) Free Write

Open your journal and begin to write. Let your stream of consciousness flow without judgement.

Don’t pause to think. Just keep your pen moving, even if it’s ‘I don’t know what to write I’m bored I feel anxious about that zoom meeting at three.’ Fill at least two pages. Keep flowing, and eventually you’ll move past your surface thoughts and into deeper reflection. 

What Journal Should You Use For Your Creativity?

If you don’t have a dedicated ‘creative journal’ — that’s fine! Nobody says you have to keep different journals for different uses… although that can be fun. 😉 

But what if you DO want a separate journal? When it comes to choosing what to use for a creative journal, you can use anything you want that will hold ink or pencil. Seriously, it’s your journal and there are no rules! 

Most importantly, it should be something you will actually use. Buying a gorgeous journal and then never making a mark in it because you don’t want to ‘mess it up’ isn’t going to help you spark any kind of creativity. 

You may actually find that a regular old spiral-bound notebook does the trick for you.

Personally, my current favorite is this refillable personalized leather journal with elastic closure from OxAndPine. It holds 4 different notebooks, so I can switch them out for different types of paper or when one gets full. Plus… I love the smell and feel of it! 

Beautiful personalized brown leather refillable journal with elastic closure.

Still not sure what to use? One of these best journals for writing could easily be turned into a creative journal!

Also, don’t be afraid to use color and different writing instruments. Try a pencil one day, an erasable Frixion pen another day, or a smooth-flowing gel pen on yet another. Switch things up within each journal entry if you want! Remember… NO rules.

More Posts About Journaling and Writing

November One Word Journal Prompts

The Magic of Getting Up Early and Writing 500 Words

List Writing Prompts: 20 Lists to Make for This Year

Concluding Thoughts

The freedom of journaling allows you to clear your mind so that you can discover better and more creative ways to pursue your version of intentional living. 

To that end, remember that this is YOUR journal. The more you personalize the pages with writings, doodles, stickers or other embellishments, the more you will relate to it. That means you’ll also be more open with your writing and letting your creativity flow through your fingers onto the page.

Now that you have some fun ideas for creative things to write in your journal, go on… write!

You’ve got this!


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