“List” Journaling Prompts: What Completes You?

Characterization Reading Response Exercise; Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate Lives

friends w starSundays: A Quiet Space for Journaling

I have grown rather fond of journaling on Sunday afternoons. It is quiet in my house. It is a day for rest and relationship, and so I have been having fun with some list-journaling prompts I found on Pinterest.

Last week, I made my list and sent it to a friend, and she sent her list back to me. It was such a delight to see what she wrote, both the similarities and the differences from my own list reminded me of how much I love our friendship.

This Week’s List Prompt:

make a list of the things that complete you

Here is my list:

My husband—It is good to have a partner who both shares my interests and encourages my independent interests, who both nurtures and protects me and challenges me, who I  can laugh with, explore with, and relax with, who loves me and those I love.

My daughter—It is good to have a daughter to nurture and admire, to marvel at and to enjoy, to be in active relationship with who has forgiven me for being just an imperfect human being instead of supermom.

My childhood friend—It is good to have an aman chara, a soul friend, a sister to my soul, someone I can be totally me with, who loves and accepts me as I am, who believes in and encourages me, who enjoys just spending time together, and to love and encourage back.

My granddaughters—It is good to have these wonderful little girls in my life, to love, and serve, and enjoy, and seek to bless, each uniquely her own person, each a precious and delightful soul, who stretch me and keep me young, with whom I can share my pleasures and my love, who though partially rooted in my being will live beyond me and bless our world, each in her own way.

God, my heavenly father, Jesus my brother and savior, and the sweet holy spirit that indwells me—I am so grateful my parents sent me to Sunday school, so grateful for all the people and events put in my path to direct me toward a growing understanding of who my Lord is, so grateful to learn and grow, to rest and wait, to live with hope and love because I, and all He created, am so greatly loved.

Writing and Words–The  joy of stringing them together, crafting an image, a wonder-full, hopeful story. Words to read, words to sing, The Bible to teach and guide me, and our beautiful, bounteous English language to express what fills my heart.

Time to be creative—it is good to get to create. God was so gracious to share this aspect of his character with us. Writing, beading, coloring, card making—even organizing is so soul satisfying.

A stable home—it is good to have a shelter to come home to, a place of rest, where I can close the door on the too, too noisy, busy world, a place to collect my thoughts and some things that give me pleasure (although I admit, this particular  “activity” can get out of hand—which is why I am so grateful for Pinterest—my virtual storage space), a place to feel rooted and at peace.

Last, but not least, my Mom and Dad, stepparents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, family—as it is good to know my grandchildren extend into the future, it is good to be connected to a past, to people who love me and believe in me, whom I can love back, people who have nurtured, encouraged, and inspired me, to whom I wish to bring joy.

I did not expect to come away from this exercise with anything more than a list; however sticky-sweet as it may sound, I learned from this list that loving completes me. Loving the people and gifts God has blessed me with makes me who I am.

Your Turn

What complete’s you?

What would be a fun list prompt for journaling?

May your week be peaceful and blessed!


Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #87: Guess Your Age

bday cakeThis weekend was my birthday, and a very nice birthday it was. On Saturday, my husband and I went out to lunch with our younger son. The restaurant where we ate decorates it’s wall with plaques containing rhymes, quotes, and other thought-provoking or food-celebrating sayings.

Across from our table was a plaque that read:

  • If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you say you are?

Hmmm? Pretty apt for a birthday lunch.

Now, I’m not going to tell you how old I am or how I’d reply, but I couldn’t help thinking that was a darn good writing prompt. How old would you say you are? Why? Write about it.

Writing fiction? Choose a character you are still trying to figure out and ask him/her the question and demand an explanation.

If you feel like sharing your responses, please reply. Maybe you will even tempt me to share my response with you!

Fortune Cookie Writing Prompt: Play With Your Words Writing Prompt # 83

searchFridays used to always be “Play With Your Words” days here at Literate Lives, where I regularly featured writing prompts to get you, your kids, or your students writing.

My husband has found a new “signature” dish at our favorite, local Chinese restaurant, and so my little stack of fortune cookie slips has begun stacking up.

This week I offer a choice of two prompts. You may want to think of them as journaling prompts, get-to-know-your-character prompts, or story starter prompts. Whichever way you tackle them, have fun, and feel free to share the results as a comment.

  1. “You will be making changes before settling satisfactorily.” What kinds of changes? What, for you or your character is the definition of “satisfactorily”?
  2. “You will be called upon to celebrate some good news.” Hmmm. Whose good news? Do you or your character want to celebrate it? Why or why not?

Have fun. Happy writing!

Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #81: Wisdom or Kindness?


Some say there is no wisdom that is greater than kindness. Do you agree or disagree?

Get out a piece of paper and brainstorm ideas for both points of view. Choose one point of view to write about.


Compose a one-page essay explaining your point of view. Consider incorporating not only ideas supporting your opinion, but acknowledge the opposite opinion and explain how your perspective is superior. Use strong details and examples.


When you have  finished writing, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share your writing here as a comment. Compliment one another on the strengths of your arguments and the details and examples you used to support your point of view.

Point of View-Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #80: What Would _____ say?


Write a one to three paragraph description of yourself, and then list three friends.


Choose one friend from your list and rewrite the description for yourself from this friend’s point of view. Keep in mind:

  • the things your friend knows about you (which can be included)
  • the things only you know about you (which can’t be included)
  • the things your friend may deduce or suspect about you but must in the end make a guess about if included in the description.


When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners. Discuss how the change in viewpoint effected the writing decisions you made from the first set of paragraphs to the second. And please, share your insights here for others to read.

Is Courtesy Contagious? Persuasive Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #78


Some people say courtesy is contagious. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Jot down some of your thoughts.


Write 2-4 paragraphs stating your point of view and sharing supporting arguments. Your objective? To convince your readers to agree with you.

When done read back over what you wrote. Consider the following:

How convincing is it?

What kind of supporting evidence for your arguments did you use?

Did you use enough detail for your evidence to be convincing?

Did you use active verbs and specific nouns?

Did you use wishy-washy words, like maybe or sometimes, that weakened your argument?


Revise your paragraphs to make them more convincing.


When you are done, share you work with your writing partners. Together consider the questions for revision for each piece.

And please, share your writing here as a comment. Is courtesy contagious? I’d love to read your thoughts on the issue.

Fall Football! Ya Gotta Love It, or Do You? Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #77

It’s Fall, and on Thursday and Friday nights the sounds of football echo over our little valley from the high school up on the hill. Today’s Play With Your Words Writing Prompt will have you writing about football, or some other sport if you prefer, from two different points of view.


Brainstorm a list of words you associate with football or the sport of your choice.


Write a description of football (or your other sport) from the point of view of someone who loves it.

Next, write a description of football (or your other sport) from the point of view of someone who hates it.

Revise and edit as necessary. Make certain both descriptions reflect powerful emotions.


When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share here as a comment. Consider the kinds of words you used to evoke the feelings you intended. What was particularly clear or expressive in your writing? What may have seemed weak compared to the rest? Compliment and encourage one another—and enjoy the process. Writing about strong feelings can be fun!

Plot the Myth of a Word or Name: Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #76


Get out paper and a pen or pencil and brainstorm words or names that you like or that intrigue you for 1-5 minutes (enough to generate a good-sized list) . For example, on a road trip I saw a sign for a city named Appledore. I carried that name around in my head for a number of years before it appeared in a novel I was working on. One year at graduation, I discovered one of my student’s middle names was Lillianna. That stuck with me. I love the words serendipity, gleaming, sparkle, and sunlight. Any of these could be a viable candidate for my list.

After you have generated your list, choose one word or name from it and jot down some ideas for how this word or name could have come into existence.


Now plot a story explaining how this word or name came into existence. Remember a good plot contains:

  1. A beginning–a brief introduction to who the main character is and the initial circumstances or situation in which he or she exists. (This usually includes some depiction of the setting.)
  2. An inciting incident—some problem or challenge that intrudes on the main character’s “normal” life.
  3. Rising Action/Conflict—attempts, failures, and learning experiences the main character takes part in while trying to resolve the problem/challenge.
  4. A climax—one last trial the main character faces where he or she must make a decision that will change his or her life forever.
  5. A denouement—where the consequences of the character’s choice play out.
  6. An End—showing the main character experiencing a “new normal”—and in the  case of this writing prompt, the audience understanding how the word or name that is the subject of the story came into being.

After devising your plot plan, write one page of a scene from your story and revise as needed.


When done, read what you’ve written to your writing partners (both the plot plan and the scene to accompany it) or share these here as a comment. Compliment one another on how well the basics of plot were included in the tale. And of course, tell the author what you liked or what delighted you in each tale.

Have fun on this plotting adventure!

Scary Times Narrative: Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #71


  • List times in your life when you have been frightened.
  • Rate your list from the least frightening (1) to most frightening (10).
  • Pick one of the most frightening experiences and brainstorm details (you can web or list) that align with each of the senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.


Choose a point-of-view:

  • first—I, me, my…
  • second—you, us, we…
  • limited third—he or she; choose one viewpoint character and stay in his or her head all the way through.
  • omniscient third—he or she, however, you can head-hop from one character’s point of view to another. This is the hardest point-of-view to write convincingly.

Choose a timeframe:

  • Past
  • Present
  • Future

Now write a narrative account of you chosen experience. Remember to weave in your sensory information that will ground the reader’s experience in a setting and within an individual point-of-view character.


When done, read what you’ve written to your writing partners or share as a comment. Compliment one another on how well the story sucks the reader into the narrative experience.

Preschool Literacy:


  • Talk about times when your preschooler might have felt scared.
  • List words that describe how he or she felt.


Guiding your preschooler by asking him to tell you what happened then asking “What next” until the story is complete, write down his description of the scary event.

Talk to your preschooler.

If the situation lends itself, ask her what she could do next time that would make the situation less scary.

If your child has recalled an event that is rightly frightening, talk together about how such a situation could be avoided or dealt with in the future.


Get out dolls, animal puppets, or Lego men and role-play with your preschooler a positive way deal with the frightening situation.

A Day in the Life…Narrative Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #68


Think of a possession you have with you every day. It could be a pair of shoes, your glasses, a hat, a piece of jewelry, or any other item you carry around all the time—maybe your keys or your cell phone…

  • Choose one item that you think could tell a good story.
  • List the things you do when this possession is with you.


Write a story, from the point-of-view of your chosen possession. Let your item tell the story of a day in your life, not from the way you experience it, but from the way the object experiences it.


  • Does it like you? Is it on your side?
  • Does it feel used by you?
  • Is it lazy or eager to play a role in your life?
  • How does it feel when you use it?
  • Does it think you have your act together?
  • Does it think it could manage your life much better than you do?

Think of some questions of your own and use them to craft and interesting day in the life of your possession.


When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share here as a comment. Compliment one another on how well you stick to the single point-of-view. No thoughts or feelings of anyone or anything else should be included in the story unless they have been told to your possession. Consider, have you created a story with a beginning, conflict, and an ending? Does your chosen object have its own distinctive style?

Let yourself have fun with this prompt. Happy Writing!