50 Wide Ranging Lists for Your Journal Writing

Writing and maintaining lists is useful and powerful strategy for journal writing. Lists can be completed in one setting, or you can develop them throughout the year, or even your lifetime. The process of list making, like most journal writing becomes a learning process for identifying your values, interests, and experiences without the need for long paragraphs. The contents of lists can also be springboards for other journal entries. Be sure you tag or bookmark your lists so that you can develop them throughout the year.

1.  Keep a list of the books you read throughout the year.

2. List all the things you’ve done this week or this month.

3. Keep a list of the movies you watch this year.

4. Create a bucket list of your immediate and long-range goals.

5. Develop a list of your personal achievements.

6. List all the cities you’ve slept in at least one night.

7. Lists all the friends you’ve made in all the years of your life.

8. List the things that make you happy.

9. Make a list of issues and problems that personally concern you.

10. Make a list of things you’ve done for other people in the last year.

11. Keep a list of new recipes you cook this year.

12. Keep a list of bad habits you want to avoid.

13. Keep a list of your favorite songs and/or albums.

14. Make a list of your sexual fantasies.


15. Keep an hourly log of what you do throughout the day. Use an alarm to remind you to log your activities.

16. Keep a list of what newsworthy items you think will be important to remember years from now.

17. Make a list of your favorite foods.

18. Make a list of your daily routines.

19. Revise your daily routine list for what it should be, so you can be more productive.

20. Keep a list of your child’s achievements or important moments.

21. Write a list of adjectives, from A-Z, that describe you.

50 Wide Ranging Lists

50 Wide Ranging Lists for Journal Writing 

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22. List all the turning points in your life so far.

23. List all the movie or fictional characters you want to remember.

24. List all the people, alive and dead, who have influenced your life.

25. Make a list of the first sentence of each of the top ten books you like.

26. Make a list of the places you would like to travel to.

27. Make a list of the apps you use the most this year.

28. List all the problems in the world that you would like to solved.

29. List all the goals you have for this year.

30. List all the jobs you’ve had so far.

31. Keep a list of your favorite tweets.

32. Make a list of all the things you’re good at.

33. List the people famous or otherwise you would like to have dinner with.

34. Keep a list of your important moments this year.

35. Make a list of your disappoints in life.

36. Make a list of your personal secrets.

37. Make a list of risks you’ve taken throughout your life so far.

38. Make a list of your 25 favorite books.

39. Make a list of your favorite movies.

40. List all the significant world events that have taken place in your lifetime.

41. Make a list of the current leaders of in the world you admire.

42. Make a list of historical figures you admire.

43. Make list of your happiest moments in life.

44. Make a list of important lessons you’ve learned from your parents.

45. Make a list of all your immediate and extended family members.

46. Make a list of all the groups and organizations you have been a member of.

47. Make a list of the television shows you regularly watch.

48. Make a list of your favorite documentaries.

49. Make a list of all the things you need to get done this week.

50. Make a list of the things and experiences you’re grateful for.

Please share a few favorite lists you like to keep.

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Bakari Chavanu

is the creator of NaJoWriMo, and is the author of the interactive iBook, Starting From Day One: Using the Day One Journaling App to Record and Enrich Your Life

90 Replies to “50 Wide Ranging Lists for Your Journal Writing

  1. Previously I would only keep lists in a document or maybe in Evernote. Documents are good for plain lists, but if you want to add pictures it becomes more difficult. I can add pictures in Evernote, but long lists do tend to become a bit cumbersome when there are a lot of associated pictures. I haven’t been using DayOne very long but the tag feature is becoming one of my favorites. I can now keep a list of favorite wines, with a picture of the wine label and my review in DayOne, and then pull them up by filtering the tags. This is great!

    Thanks for all the new suggestions.

    1. Leigh, great to hear that you’re using Day One. You may have seen that I just published a book about using Day One. The second half of the book is filled with journal writing strategies similar to this blog posts. Day One is awesome for tagging and filtering entires. I type and write much faster in a digital app than I do in a paper notebook. Plus, reading back entries in Day One is a lot easier and more enjoyable. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I’m not sure how much of a list maker I am, though I do regularly make a list of things I am thankful to God for on my blog. I did however just order a new journal. I had a journal I called my “God book” that I would write in when I felt spiritually inspired and had a lot of great times with that journal but when I filled it up a few years ago I hadn’t really started a new one. I’d actually tried to but the funny thing is I get attached to the feeling of a journal, you know? This one was a flexy faux leather type and I was trying with hardcover ones and I just didn’t feel as natural about writing in it and I’d end up needing scrap paper when I was out and it was the only thing in my purse so I’d write down a phone number, grocery list or tear out a page and it was even less inspiring. So for my birthday a few weeks ago I got some money and one of the things I decided to do was find a journal with a similar feel and order it. I’m eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. 🙂

    1. Pamela, it’s great to hear about your journaling and the kind of notebook you like. I totally use a digital notebook, but I have a box of about 18 paper notebooks that I filled over an almost 20 year period. I would like to still keep a paper notebook, but I can’t stand my handwriting. Plus I handwrite too slow. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Great ideas!! I so need to learn to keep a “list” more often. With my bad memory, I forget what I think about and then just shrug it off. Having it all written down would be a blessing!

  4. I recently started to make lists (too me a while to figure out the benefit of doing so). I love some of your list topics. I can see how these would spark creativity.

  5. I think the only lists I currently keep are grocery lists and to do lists, I love the idea of using lists while journaling, though. These are some really great ideas to get started 🙂

  6. I am a total lists person! To-do List, Meal Plan ideas, Recipes list and activities list for my 1 year old, budgeting list, grocery list, things to do when my family visits list. Your list is really extensive and creative!

    1. Lerie, I’m starting to write lists more too, mainly because I do so much paragraph writing on a daily basis. It’s refreshing to just write a list and not have to focus on alway being coherent. Thanks for your feedback.

  7. Hi Bakari, great ideas for list making. Honestly, I live by #43 – Making a list of your happiest moments. It helps to bring about the memory of those moments, which in turn bring about the feelings associated with them. So, if I ever start to feel doubt about a huge calculated risk I am about to take, I look down at the list and find something similar that I achieved. Or, if I am not feeling too happy about something, I will look down at the list of something like day I got married, which brings up a huge swoosh of good feelings, and it gets me out of my funk asap.

    Alexander

    1. Alexander, thanks for your feedback. Like how you’re using that list, because far too often we can feel overwhelmed or lose confidence, and looking on more positive moments can be helpful. Really like your positive attitude. Please keep in touch.

  8. What a great list and as I read it I would find myself thinking about how often I had done the things on the list you posted. So I can not wait to return to your blog and look around further as I enjoyed your post.

  9. I may be the minority here, but I’ve actually tried to wean myself away from list making. But, my lists were inevitably “to do” lists which ultimately turned stressful and put me in a bad mood if I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do. Your suggestions fall more into the gratitude/fun/feel good category. I like #20 because it would keep me more focused on the many great traits my kids have (instead of what they need to get done!) and 26, because I love to travel and have so many places yet to see. Thank you.

    1. Laine, I have the same struggle you do with my to-do manager. I’m reluctant to put due dates on may items because I start feeling so overwhelmed, especially when I have a few items that already marked red. And you’re right, what’s great about the most of the items in the above lists is that you’re not creating a bunch of to-do’s but are focusing on what you already do. Thanks for your feedback.

  10. I love this list idea for journaling. Some of us just aren’t very good writers and don’t journal, because of it. But this idea is very useful thanks for sharing!

    1. Jess, what’s cool about journaling is that you don’t have to focus on writing skills. You can focus on your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. But you’ll see that the more you write in your journal, the more writing improves your writing skills. Thanks for your feedback.

  11. I have to have lists to help me remember what I need to do! One of my most important lists is one I keep at work. I have post it notes that I make my lists on and as I finish what is on one note, I throw it away. I have one section of my desk for the post its and it feels so good when I’ve have cleared them off. Of course it’s not long before I have another posted!

  12. This is a great list! Since I’m a crafter, my journals have lists of project ideas. When inspiration strikes I write and sketch my idea. I also keep lists of different projects I want to make for different design teams I am on. I have tried to do this on my iPad, but keep coming back to my journal. I just love the feel of paper!

    1. Morena, thanks for sharing how you use lists. I’m curious, what app do you try to use on your iPad for writing? I use Day One because it’s much better for me than handwriting.

  13. I keep lists galore, but typically only for shopping or “to do” items. Rarely any other things, but I love the idea! I should probably keep lists for books to read (I always forget what they are) and a written bucket list. Thanks for the ideas!!

  14. I do love my lists. In my planner I keep a running list of books I want to read, and in my phone I keep a list of things I want to purchase as well as names of people I see regularly but not everyday – helps me remember!

  15. I love making lists. I take after my mother who was (and is) the same way, and now my daughter is doing the same and taking after me. Now, I have started databasing a lot of my long term lists to make them easier to add to, organize and change and harder to lose.

  16. I love lists! I have a list of all the things I need to do around the house, lists of things to do for work. One list that I like to write every day before I go to sleep is “5 things that I am thankful for today” – a good way to end the day!

  17. Oh, I am one serious list maker! Don’t even know how I would survive without my lists! They help me to stay sane, I even keep one at my bed. Thank you for this post!

  18. This is great, thank you! There is nothing like writing to clear my head. It feels calming and therapeutic too. I did “Dear Diary” journaling for most of my life up until my three kids’ activities and needs started to take over most of my time. They’re almost all grown now, and I’m so enjoying my writing time again! I’ll be saving your list to play with all these great ideas in my new journals.

  19. I have been working on my bucket list for years. It changes as I find new possibilities and mark things off the list while I travel. Really loving it.

    I also keep lists of ideas for blog posts. Whenever an idea hits me, I write it down so I don’t forget. I use Evernote for everything and have it installed on all my devices so I am never without the info I need.

    1. Katrina, I also keep a bucket list. It takes a me a while to get things done it, but it seems like just making the list itself helps me a develop a vision for what I want to do. Do you use the Evernote reminders feature to revisit your list on a regular basis?

  20. I love your collection of lists. I might borrow one or two to use with class as I like to encourage them to see writing as more than just writing for an assessment but also something you can do for pleasure.
    That said, I must confess I’m not a huge list writer, other than the inevitable ‘to-do-list’ that comes from being a teacher. I might experiment with the idea as I can certainly see the benefit.
    Thanks for sharing. This has been pinned for future reference 🙂

    1. Awe, thanks for your feedback. And it’s great to know that you’re teacher. I think you’ll find some of the non-to-do lists pretty useful for processing ideas, recording memorable experiences, or just keeping track of things you do. Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Some of these would honestly overwhelm me, like keeping an hourly journal of what I did throughout the day. But others would be fun! I started a list of places I’d like to visit, the obvious list of to-do’s, and books I’d like to read. I can’t keep track of too many lists at once, so I think I’ll stick with these for now!

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Cortney. And don’t feel as though you would need to respond to all the lists. Just choose a few that are useful to you. To be honest, I automate the hourly log list, so that it pops up on my computer, and I simply type what I’m doing, and hit the return key. All the entries get saved in Evernote. I only do a log about three or four times a month.

  22. I make lists for everything! Not that I always stick to some of the lists, but I enjoy making lists such as a bucket list. I have had one for years,since I became ill and have actually knocked off a couple. One list I would love to start doing is “your happiest moments”. This would be such a great tool. Bookmarking for sure and will be back to make more lists. Have a splendid day.

  23. I’m all about making lists, I add things to my to do list after I’ve done them just to cross them off. There is something so satisfying about getting things done on your to do list.

  24. Tons of great ideas here! I used to keep a journal religiously throughout my teen years. Funnily enough, I found that writing was a way to vent and talk about my frustrations. But when things are going well, I don’t really feel like I need to write! I just enjoy it. I need to start writing down all of the wonderful things that happen, so that I have a way to remember them all later on! These sound like some fun things to include as well. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I am so used to keeping lists for work-related stuff, that I forget that lists can consists of other personal goals or favorites. The lists in this post can definitely inspire a lot of future blog posts – thanks for sharing.

  26. I consider myself a list maker. I make lists to keep track of my daily and weekly things I need to get done. Last summer my son kept a list of things he did over the summer so he could look back on what all he did before returning to school. I like your idea of making a list of cities you have slept in. That could be a fun way to look back at things you have done.

  27. I love these ideas! My list making consists mostly of things I need to do around the house, but I’ve also kept a list of blog ideas and recipe ideas since I develop recipes. One list I’ve thought about keeping but haven’t started yet is a list of descriptive words for the foods I’ve eaten. It would be a fantastic resource when I’m writing and trying to come up with something more profound than “yum” or “tasty” or “delicious”. Thanks for a fun post!

  28. Fabulous list! At 22 I was obsessed with logging my day and figuring out how much time I spent at tasks… the problem was I spent so much time logging that I couldn’t get an accurate picture of my day. I also love #1, I have kept yearly journals of books and really enjoyed it.

  29. I’m totally a list maker. I have notebooks full of lists! I love these ideas not only for list topics but for blog topics as well. Thanks for sharing!

  30. I love lists. I know want to sit down and complete all these lists. Crazy but true. I do find when I’m doing something like working on a list it sparks other thoughts so I typically start several lists when working on one. I often write short ideas down to come back to later and fully develop.

  31. Hi Bakari, love all this feedback on lists. I think lists are a great way to say a lot in a small space and can be a good alternative to narrative writing when you’re pressed for time or not sure what to write about. Here’s a link to a blog I wrote called:

    Explore Your Life in Lists | 15 Prompts to Zero in on Your True Self in Record Time
    http://www.inkandinquiry.com/journal-and-diary-writing-blog/15-prompts-to-zero-in-on-your-true-self-in-record-time

    Some lists I’d like to suggest are:

    Things You’re Thinking About These Days
    Things that Are Going Around in Circles in Your Head
    Things Your Really Need to Focus On
    Things that Are Right in Your Life Just as They Are
    Things You Can Let Go of Now (old stories, limiting beliefs, etc.)
    Things You Need Help With
    Things You’re Grateful For
    Things that Give Your Life meaning
    Things You’re Curious About
    Things You’re Good at
    Things You Love About Yourself
    Things You’d Like to Write About
    Things You’d Like to Make, Create, Experience
    Things That Inspire You (People, Places, Books, Music, etc.)
    Things You’d Like to Write Lists About that Are Not on This List

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