A Good Prompt: The Science & Creativity Behind One

January 2021. Written By: Jamie Petersen

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? That feeling you have when you are at a loss for words or even ideas? You just do not know where to start?  The good news is that this kind of block happens to journal enthusiasts all the time. All you need is a good prompt. Prompts are scientifically proven to assist you with your creative journaling.

What is a prompt, you may wonder?

A journal prompt is a statement or one line sentence designed to activate those creative ideas and shake loose the words lodged in your brain so that you can put them into a journal.

The advantage of prompts is that we are all individuals who interpret things differently. The same sentence will inspire different thought patterns and ideas for different people.

This means that the thoughts and ideas that prompts inspire within you will be uniquely yours. They can also start as one topic and transform into something completely different.


Writer's Block

Photo Source: Dictionary.com


How Does the Brain Fire Up?

The part of your brain that deals with your emotional response is called the amygdala. It is located in your front temporal lobe.

The amygdala is responsible for housing your memories, and the emotional attachment you have to those memories is recorded there too. For example, your wedding day will carry emotional attachment, and it will be stored in a specific way.

However, the hundredth time you fell off your bicycle while learning to ride will have far less emotional attachment and will be stored as such.

A study conducted at UCLA found that when subjects were exposed to a picture that showed anger, for example, an angry face, there was a high level of response in the Amygdala. There was an instant correlation between the picture and the emotional response that it evoked.

However, when the word “angry” was written below the picture, the emotional response lessened significantly. In essence, the emotional response to the picture was removed by labeling the picture.

In principle, the study found that when a person starts to think in words, the emotional response to the event they are describing is lessened. Subsequently, this results in healing.

In this way, we can see the science behind the words. Once you express them, you begin to accept them and their meaning and consequently deal with the situation.

Amygdala Brain

Photo Source: Source: Amygdala’s Location and Function (thoughtco.com)


Meditation Versus Writing

Meditation has been a long-standing method of gaining calm and clarity. This technique helps train your mind to reach a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.

Meditation is used in many instances to gain clarity or perspective on a situation. However, it has never been found to be as conclusive a method as what writing has proven to be.

Studies performed in 2010 showed that therapeutic writing versus meditation far outperformed in results. Results showed that therapeutic writing directly impacts the physical and psychological health of the subjects tested.

Writing has many scientific advantages, including:

Scientifically, writing has far outperformed other forms of mental stimulation.

Writing versus Meditation

Good Prompts for Journaling

Let’s get back to journaling prompts. A good prompt should stimulate you. It should ignite your creativity behind the words you want to look for.

An effective prompt should introduce and limit the chosen writing topic. While a good prompt helps you get a head start on your journaling ideas, do not use them to create an original story. This is because different writers create and write differently; even when using the same prompt. So, keep them to spark your journal creativity.

When writer’s block hits and you do not know where to start, there are many paths that you can follow. Here are some helpful subjects and examples of good prompts to help get you going again:

Simple Prompts:

Gratitude Prompts:

Wellness Prompts

Travel Prompts:

Daily Prompts:

If you are still at a loss for words, then try monthly prompts. For example, February is the month of love supporting Valentine’s day, and December is about Christmas and family.

Even the seasons of the year can inspire you. The Summer sun, Winter snow, Spring blossoms blooming, and Fall with its beautiful colors and leaves falling. All of these inspirations create the perfect backdrop for writing.


Writing inspired by the seasons


Prompt Chosen; Now You Can Write

A good prompt is a doorway to a good journal. Scientifically, the better the prompt, the better the journal entry. A good prompt is based on the creativity your brain needs to ignite your words.

With all cylinders firing, the only choice you face now is how or where to write?

We can help with the ‘where’. Emote is an online journaling website that grants you access to an online journal that is private and safe.

Emote is an interactive site that provides you with daily prompts based on the subject of your choice; all you have to do is write. Visit Emote today and open up a free account to get started on immortalizing those memories and stories.

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