C-Carving Out Time & Claiming Place

Welcome to my 2020 Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Each day, I will post a Journal On! Daily Writers’ Workshops lesson and prompt. Teachers, parents, and students may use the material to encourage daily writing practice, spark insight, and embrace mindful reflection.  

How long should we journal? I like to start my journaling sessions with 10 minutes in mind. But if I get lost in my thoughts, and my pen just can’t be left alone, 20 minutes, an hour can pass by.

For the newbie journal writers, I suggest aiming for 5 to 7 minutes just for writing. Use a timer. Everyone’s cell phone has a timer app. Reliable ticking timers that wind can be fun to use.

When can you devote the time to journal writing? Is the best time to write first thing in the morning before you start your day? What about in the afternoon, when there’s nothing on TV or do? How about the end of the day, when (hopefully) all is quiet and soft.

The where is next. Do you curl up in a big chair, or stretch out on your bed with a dog or cat snoozing next to you? Maybe you like to scrunch into a bean bag chair, or hide in a closet, or crawl under a fort made from sofa cushions.

Maybe you prefer a sturdy chair and want to sit at the kitchen table or on a high stool at the kitchen counter. Perhaps you don’t want to sit. That’s okay. You can stand but be sure to stand in just one spot. Make sure you have good light and there is not too much distracting activity. Do you like music on, or would you like to be surrounded in silence? If you want music, I suggest that you choose instrumental music. Songs have words, and those words may interfere with the words you’re trying to put down on paper. Perhaps outside is a better place? Where outside can you write without interruptions?

Okay, so now you have your place where you can spend a solid seven minutes writing in your journal. I’m ready for prompts. How about you?

Date your page.

  1. Primary Prompt: Children, draw yourself writing in your journal in your favorite place. Label all the parts of your picture, the chair, a window, the pencil, or crayon. Perhaps you drew a clock to show us what time you were writing. Write a sentence about why you like this place or why you like this time of day to write.
  2. Intermediate Prompt: Students, take a breath and look around you. Describe your time and place for journaling. What is next to you? Add sensory details, like what you are hearing, smelling, and seeing.
  3. Upper-Intermediate Prompt: How did you find your time and place? What makes the time and place a good fit for you? Do you think this will always be your spot, or maybe you will be searching for a new spot?

Until tomorrow, Everyone.

Journal On!


Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

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