If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a big fan of journaling as a way to organize ideas, get inspired, and embrace your creative side. Let’s face it, if you want to strike out on your own, you need at least a little creativity.
We have discussed several different types of journals for the Journaling for Entrepreneurs process, but in honor of inspiring creativity, I want to encourage you to add creative journaling to your writing practices.
What is Creative Journaling?
The beauty is, it’s anything you want to make it. Creative journaling is a free-style form of journaling. You write whatever comes to mind at the time you sit down.
If that idea scares you, there are some things you can do to make it simpler for yourself. Let’s take a look at some creative journaling ideas to get you started.
Use a Picture to Inspire You
If you need a little inspiration to get started writing, you can find a picture to help you out. Look though a picture book, find something from an artist you like, scan pictures on websites like Unsplash or Creative Commons, or just google a topic and look through the pictures that come up.
There are any number of ways to find pictures for inspiration. You can even follow The Writing Reader to get daily picture prompts for journaling, or pick a random picture from one of the social media sites you know you’re going to be accessing throughout the day.
Once you have a picture, take about 5-10 minutes to study it and start forming ideas. Ask yourself questions:
- What could have been happening when this picture was done?
- Where could this picture have originated from?
- Why would this picture be important to someone?
You get the idea. Ask questions that can form a scene in your mind. The answers to these questions do not have to be the real answers, they can be whatever you decide.
Once you have a good idea about the picture, set your timer for another 10-15 minutes and start writing. Flesh out the answers to the questions you asked. Create a story around the picture.
Keep writing until your timer goes off, or you just run out of things to say. It’s that easy.
Write Around a Favorite Quote
Another great option to get the creativity going is to pick a favorite quote to write about. If you don’t already have a favorite quote, you can do a quick search for quotes. You can search for quotes about specific ideas or from specific people.
Pick out a quote that really speaks to you and write it down. Once you have a quote picked out, take some time to really study it and figure out what it means to you. Then, you have a couple options available to start writing.
You can set a timer for 10-15 minutes and just start writing. If you choose this option, don’t overthink it. Just start writing whatever the quote makes you think about.
If you don’t think you can write about one quote for 15 minutes, you can pick out a couple different quotes. Once you run out of ideas for the first one, move on to the next. Keep writing until the timer goes off.
Another option is to ask yourself specific questions about the quote to answer:
- Why do you like this quote?
- Who do you think it was written for?
- What could have been happening in the person’s life when they said or wrote that quote?
- Does it make you think of anything else? If so, what?
Pick out a couple different questions you can answer about the quote you picked out. This is why it’s important to pick a quote that means something to you. It will be easier to come up with ideas if the quote speaks to you in some way.
Do a Little Flash Fiction
Flash fiction is a great way to get creativity going. The idea here is to tell a story in as little words as possible. It’s basically writing a short story (or something even shorter) that portrays a full idea.
To write flash fiction for your journal, take some time to pick themes. You don’t have to do this, but it will make the process easier. You can write about super heroes, mythical creatures, loss, anything you want as a theme.
Make sure the theme is somewhat broad. Your specifics will come out in the writing. Once you have a theme, or even a couple themes, start writing your short story.
Once again, this is not meant for anyone’s eyes but your own, so there’s no reason to be embarrassed about what you write. You can get as personal as you want with this project. You can also make the story as short or long as you want.
The great thing about writing in your journal is you don’t have to follow any set rules.
If you want some examples:
Her song broke the stillness of the night, vibrating across the vast emptiness of the sea. She charmed the sharks that swam in circles around her. Not just with the song, but also with the offering she had left floating, bloody and pungent for them to fight over.
Another short one I’ve written:
She stared down into the icy waves crashing against the rocks aware what he had done. She turned to his sinister smile daring her on. His smile would be the last thing she saw. She raised her hands, the shot hanging in the air as he crumpled to the ground.
This gives you an idea how simple this can be. Of course your stories don’t have to be this short. Mine are only because they were shared on Twitter, so I had limited space.
Try Your Hand at Some Fantasy World-Making
One of the fun aspects of fantasy is the creation of new worlds. If you’re stuck for a creative writing idea, try planning a fantasy world. This doesn’t mean you have to become a fantasy writer.
The idea is to start creating. If you could create another world, what would it look like?
- What would the rules of your world be?
- What types of creatures would live there?
- Would there be magic, or no?
- What would the landscape look like?
- Would there be different realms, or just one?
You get the idea. Ask yourself questions to help you plan out exactly what your ideal world would look like. You can create lists or write free-form with this idea.
Write a Letter to Someone
With this idea, you can write a letter to anyone you want. Remember, nobody but you will see this unless you want them to. You can ask questions, share a story, express joy or bitterness, whatever you need to do with the letter.
If you’re having trouble thinking of who to write a letter to, you can start with some simple ideas:
- A celebrity or someone you admire that you’ve always wanted to meet. The person can be dead or alive.
- A parent, sibling, or other family member you have difficulty talking to.
- Someone that’s hurt you in the past.
- Someone you share fond memories with.
- Your younger self.
Pick someone that will inspire the words to flow. And remember, don’t censor yourself with this process. If you’re really worried about it, you can change names, but be honest with your words.
This is Just the Start
The ideas above are just the start to what you can do with a creative journal. Don’t limit yourself to just one idea. Instead try different themes and styles to help you really think through the creative ideas that come.
You may be wondering how a creative journal fits into the Journaling for Entrepreneurs concept. If you’re a writer, the answer is easy. Creative journaling inspires you to try new ideas and work through those things that come to mind.
If you’re not a writer though, you can still get benefit from creative journaling. As I already mentioned, this style of journal helps you generate ideas and encourage creativity. This creativity is important to anyone wanting to start their own business.
Creative journaling can also help you work through those things that might hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Breaking these self-made obstacles is an important step in the Journaling for Entrepreneurs process.
Before you can create something worthwhile, you have to be willing to believe in yourself and your ideas.
Creative journaling can also help you learn to trust yourself and your ideas. While some obstacles are from outside influences, our biggest set backs often come from ourselves. If you won’t trust your ability to create, you won’t be willing to take the risks necessary in business.
If you’re ready to get started, the ideas above are a good place. If you’re looking for some other ideas for your Journaling for Entrepreneurs process, you can sign up for the newsletter. New subscribers receive a free 30 day journal prompt.