Journal writing can sometimes seem to corner you. While on most days, your pen scribbles without hesitation, sometimes you can’t think of a thing to say. Or sometimes you have the opposite problem: there’s so much you want to explore in your writing that you can’t decide where to start.

In these cases, using someone else’s insightful words to encourage your own words to start flowing freely can be helpful.

Keep your journal close at hand so that whenever you come across a thought-provoking, humorous, or intriguing quote in your daily life, you can jot it down to use as a prompt later on. On the computer, services like Evernote.com and Dropbox.com are useful tools for making these notes.

If you haven’t created a quotes collection yet, you can reach for a favorite book and flip through the pages to find a starting point.

Write the quote at the top of a new page in your journal, and then continue writing. Consider why the quote is notable to you. Do you agree with its message or sentiment? Does it relate to your own personal philosophy of life? Does it inspire emotions: does it make you happy, wistful, angry?

By applying the meaning of the quote to your own life and thought, you awaken depths of your own imagination.

Let’s take a sample quote and follow this process. Say, for instance, you’re using a quote from C. S. Lewis: “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that gives value to survival.”

From these two sentences, you might be inspired to journal in a variety of ways, exploring your personal responses to such questions as:
What is the value of friendship to you?
What is happening now or has recently happened in your life, in connection with friends?
What is the value of art or philosophy to you?
How challenging is mere survival in your life?
What things can you identify that give value to your survival?

Be careful not to remain in the superficial realms of rhetoric. Don’t waste time on the quote’s meaning for society or humankind; consider instead its meaning for you in the most personal way.

In the given example, you want to dig into your own personal understanding and experience of Friendship. If you realize you are just regurgitating what you think you should be saying about it, dig much deeper.

With your journal, you can mine any prompt, dissecting it in this intensely personal way, to coax your soul to speak whenever you wish!

By Mari L. McCarthy – Journal / Writing Therapist. Journaling is how you can get a life and grow it, nurturing your inner life and supporting your outer achievements as well. Please share discoveries at my blog- http://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog/. Please download my free ebook, How to Use Your Journal to Cure Writer’s Block Now, at http://www.createwritenow.com/download-free-writers-block-tips/. Write On!

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