Writing in the New Year: 3 Journaling Prompts for 2023

3 Journaling Prompts cover image: hand writing in open journal with words "My Plan" written inside

Back in May, we shared 10 Journal Prompts for Writers here on Write2Ignite. As we enter the new year, I thought it would be appropriate to extend that list with three more journaling prompts to encourage us to reflect on our writing journeys. We often enter January armed with goals and the best intentions. Yet, when February rolls around, our goals have fallen to the bottom of our priority lists. How do we keep up momentum in our writing as the year progresses? One way is to be reflective, to take time to examine what really works for us and what doesn’t. We need time to make actionable plans and to consider how we can accomplish them. Journaling offers the perfect space for reflecting and planning in a way that we can look back on later.

Here are 3 Journaling Prompts for Writers to kick off the New Year:

1. Reflect on your writing accomplishments in 2022.

Think about any progress you made in your writing journey during the past year, no matter how big or small. Did you write a first draft? A first chapter? An outline? Did you attend a class or practice illustrating? Anything you did to support your writing is a brick you added to build up your goals. While sometimes smaller milestones get overlooked when we don’t reach our desired destinations, each step in the process matters. Take a moment to celebrate the progress you’ve made. Then, take a few minutes to think about how you reached those accomplishments. What motivated you to prioritize your goals in the past year, and how can you tap into those motivators in the coming months?

2. Take a writing inventory.

Make a list of projects you’d like to work on, then pick one project that you’re most excited about/ most ready to work on. Next, split a piece of paper into two columns. On the left side, jot down everything you already have in place for writing that story. This can include an outline, finished chapters, snippets of scenes, character names, research you’ve already done, ect. On the right side, list out anything you still need in order to get started or make progress on your story. Do you still need to choose character names? Are you missing a transition between two chapters? Do you need to set a routine for your writing, or find a space to work in?

Once you have your inventory written out, consider 3-5 small tasks that you can complete this month to help you move items from the right-hand column of “needs” to the left-side column of “haves”.

3. Write a Story Sketch.

Many of us have written character sketches at one time or another to describe our characters. An exercise that can also be helpful is to write a story sketch discussing your current project. Take some time to just sit and write about your story. Describe your plot, characters, and setting. Explain what inspired your story, and what message you want people to take away from it. As you write, try to include fun details such as who your favorite characters are, and what scenes you are most excited to write. If this is a story you’ve been working on for awhile, describe what the process has been like. What has been the most challenging part of this project? What changes has it gone through?

Writing about your story as if you were describing it to a friend and explaining all that you love about it can help reignite your excitement for the project. If there are days you start to get burned out on your writing, you can look back and remind yourself of why you were so passionate about this story in the first place.

What are your writing goals for the year? How do you stay motivated in reaching your goals?

Karley Conklin

Karley Conklin is a librarian by day, a writer by night, and a bookworm 24/7. On her blog http://litwyrm.com/, she discusses literature of all sorts, from poetry to picture books. Her goal is to use the power of stories to remind others of hope and joy in a world that all too often forgets both.

4 thoughts on “Writing in the New Year: 3 Journaling Prompts for 2023

  1. I used last year’s prompts , and I also like these journal prompts to help me focus on the year’s accomplishments, as well as what I want to accomplish in the coming year. Thank you, Karley.

  2. #2 is especially helpful. It gives me a clear starting place for picking up a project that had stalled.

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