How to Journal for Motivation and Creativity

How to Journal for Motivation and Creativity

Where does the time go? In the past month I’ve been to a writer’s conference, on vacation to New York, a mini getaway to another part of the state, attended a family wedding, and finished a major project at work. I’m tapped out, which doesn’t leave much time for creative pursuits. Besides this blog, I haven’t written a word since I don’t know when. If you are like me and need a jump start, here are some ideas to use your journal for motivation and creativity.

Set a Timer

Give yourself seven minutes to free write why you’ve been unmotivated, why you are procrastinating, or don’t have the time to do the things you used to do. The time is short enough that you won’t get mired in negative thoughts and it isn’t such a long period of time to feel overwhelming.

Alarm clock on paper
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What you do at the end of the time is up to you. If you are motivated to keep going keep writing about the things you want to do or the reasons why you can do them. If the timer is motivating to you, set the timer for another seven minutes to give your self a sense of urgency. But if the timer is a distraction, turn it off and keep writing until you’ve written past your block or set your next intention.

What Don’t You Know?

Person with question mark and hearts above head
Photo by Jonathan Andrew on

Sometimes we find ourselves in a rut because we feel like we know everything there is to know about our passion or we’ve done it all. If this is the case, spend time writing about the things you don’t know or you haven’t done in your creative pursuit.

Next, make a list of ways to find out more about the things you don’t know or steps to take to learn more. Before you know it, the juices will be flowing again.

Make a List of Your Best Habits

If you’re being less productive than usual it may be because you’ve let helpful habits lapse. Here are some questions to ask yourself to find your best habits:

Hand writing a list with a pen
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  • When are you your most creative? When are you most productive?
  • What tools help you be your most creative or most productive?
  • Does taking a class or having deadlines help you you be more productive?
  • Do you work better alone or with people?
  • Do you work better at different times of the year or in different environments?
  • What resources or schedule changes would help you work better?

Take Action

Green Walk Symbol
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Hopefully writing about why you have been procrastinating and the things you want to learn along with your best habits will light a fire of motivation. If not, keep writing in your journal and asking yourself the questions that spark your fire.

Set a timer if it motivates you, otherwise allow yourself the time it takes to figure it out. But be honest with yourself, don’t let finding the answers to any of these exercises turn into procrastination and keep you from your passion.


Journaling: A Tool to be More Productive, Focused and Motivated! | By Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC | The Launchpad – The Coaching Tools Company Blog

I love this time of year. September is my birthday month, and yes I’m a Virgo! It’s a great time of year to be both reflective and forward looking in order to end the last quarter of the year feeling productive, focused and motivated.


Add Yours
  1. Justin

    I’ve recently started to use a bullet journal and it’s proven invaluable in keeping track of everything, especially my studying. It helps me to focus on which tasks to prioritise and which aren’t as important. Everything at the moment seems to be a priority though…oops. #MMBC

  2. Alex Newton

    I used to keep a journal as a teenager, i hate to think of the things i wrote in there. I havent kept a diary for years, but now I’m blogging, I’m putting pen to paper more and more. I also type up ideas on draft posts for me to return to at a later date.
    Some great tips here, I may have to get back into journalling properly.

  3. christine Betts

    Great post! I always have to set a timer or I’ll just keep waffling. I write stream of consciousness and when I started doing this about 2 years ago, I was in a really unhappy place with my job and not feeling very good. I couldn’t believe the vitriol that spewed out of my pen! It’s no wonder some people are afraid to journal! I hope I get around to destroying my journals before i die…

  4. Anne Sweet

    I’ve started journalling again recently and it has really helped me to get the things into more order as well as throwing up lots of ideas that would normally just slip from my mind.

    • Catherine Lanser

      I don’t journal regularly, but always have a journal with me to catch the ideas before they slip away.

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