This is Part 2 of the series on creative writing journal ideas. Click here to go to Part 1. There are also many more pages on this website with journal prompts and creative writing advice. At the bottom, you'll find links to related CWN pages on how to write a journal.
1) Write to music. Play a piece of music that has no lyrics, and write in your journal about the lyrics you think would fit it best. This can be the beginning of a poem. Does the music stir up memories? If it were the soundtrack for a movie, what kind of movie would it be? Write part of the story.
2) Try different points of view. Italo Calvino wrote a short story in which his character, Marcovaldo, followed stray cats from through his city, seeing the alleys and rooftops from a cat's perspective. Experiment with describing the world around you from different points of view. How would your home look to a child, for example? Think about the details that would attract a child's attention that might not interest an adult. How about you -- how might a stranger describe you? What aspects of you might a stranger that your parents or spouse would overlook? In what ways would the stranger be wrong?
3) Collect words. Did you hear a word that you liked? An expression that caught your attention? In Spain, where I live, people say things like, "I was more lost than an octopus in a garage." That's quite a mental image.
Keep a list of interesting words that you can use as poem starters. You might do a little research on the origins of words and phrases in the list. Many words have curious stories behind them. How does the word sound to you? What images does it bring to mind? Does it have more than one meaning? How does it feel in your mouth? How is it different from similar words? What does it remind you of? Write about it.
4) Focus your attention. Spend a day concentrating on just one of your senses -- smell or sound. Or a day paying attention not to objects, but to their shadows and reflections. A day looking specifically at people's hands, the differences in their textures, their movements, the way they act. A day looking at the way people walk. Focusing your attention will lead to new discoveries.
5) Read actively. Reading can lead your mind in new directions. Of course, you don't want to copy anyone else's creative writing, but you can use it to inspire new ideas. Maybe a novel you read makes you curious about a foreign culture, a historical event, a certain lifestyle. Do some research on this topic -- it could be the beginning of a story. Maybe a book gives you a fresh perspective on something in your own life or experience. Write about it. If you're a poet, you could try "writing between the lines" of a favorite poem. Write new lines for that poem, and then turn them into a poem of your own.
6) Collect creative writing ideas. Stay alert for material you can use in creative writing. Jot down names that you might like to use for a character, places you see that would be a dramatic setting for a scene, an interesting way of describing something, possible topics and themes. Then when you're ready to write fiction or poetry, you can go back and mine your journal for ideas.
Choose one of the links below for even more journal ideas.