We find out what we think and feel and believe through writing. We find out what we need and really want. We discover and rediscover certain traits, dreams and preferences. Because through writing, we slow down and get still. We pause. We tune out the outer world. We tune out distractions, like social media and others’ words, and we’re left with our own words.
Writing is an opportunity to connect to yourself. To see and hear yourself. To acknowledge and honor yourself.
Here’s a list of writing prompts and ideas to help you find out who you are:
- Have a conversation with your 99-year-old self. Ask questions, such as: “What would you have me know? What should I concentrate on in the coming days and years? What things could I do or experience that would have the most positive impact on my life?”
- Make a list of 20 things you’d like to say no to. (And, of course, keep going, if you like.)
- Whether you have a website or not, create an “about” page. What will you highlight about yourself?
- Every day, write down one thought you have as soon as you get up. Just one thought. One sentence. (Again, if you like, keep going.)
- Make a list of 100 things that nourish you.
- Write about the last time you cried.
- Write about the last time you laughed.
- Ask your loved one to write a short description of you. (If they’re interested, do the same for them.)
- Pen a poem that expresses your heart.
- If you use social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), look through your feed, and write down five things you’ve learned about yourself.
- Jot down a quote from any writing you’ve recently read that put words to something you’ve been feeling. (For me, it was these words from one of Mara’s beautiful newsletters, which I absolutely love: “Over the course of the last year, I have struggled (a lot and often) with remembering that mothering Delphina isn’t a tangent off of my life path—it is an essential element of my life path. It has forced me to slow down and change the way that I approach things.”)
- Define what success looks like for you. Write about what it looked like years ago, and what it looks like now. Is it different? How is it different?
- The next time you’re out and about, find an image. It could be a billboard, a magazine ad, an illustration, a greeting card, a pack of wrapping paper. Jot down your thoughts about it, or use it as a prompt to jump-start a journal entry.
- Reflect on these questions: When do I feel disconnected from myself? What am I doing? Who am I around? What helps me reconnect?
- Write about a time you wanted to disappear.
- Talk to one of your parents or grandparents or siblings or any relative. Ask them to share a story about you (doesn’t have to be anything “special” per se; just anything they remember). Write it down.
- Write about all the things that distract you. Why are they so appealing? What are they distracting you from?
- Think about a major mistake you’ve made, or something you’ve been feeling guilty about or struggling with. Imagine you’re 7 or 13 years old, and write what you’d say to your younger self.
- Write about something that bothered you this week.
- Write about an adventure you want to take. Right now. And a few months from now.
- Write about three lessons you’ve learned thus far this year.
Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” Writing helps us bring out the buried parts. The parts we’ve forgotten about, the parts we never knew. And, best of all, you can start at any time, anywhere.