Journal Writing

Writing regularly is one of the best ways for you to improve your literacy skills. The key to keeping a successful writing journal is not limiting yourself simply to writing about what’s happening in your life. You should write a range of pieces, both fiction and non-fiction, imaginative and factual. Part of the process of keeping a successful journal is reflecting on how you can improve your own writing. The very best writers are able to think carefully about their own work and how it can be improved.

The rules

1. Choose a topic from below and write at least one journal entry every week.

2. Each of piece of writing must be finished. It must be proofread and typed.

3. Give your journal to your teacher at the end of each term.


1. The Age’s Oddspot features humorous stories. Pick one and write a story about that.

2. Rewrite a traditional fairytale with a modern twist.

3. Pick one of your favourite fictional characters and write an imaginary interview with them.

5. Find an unusual picture in a newspaper or magazine and write a fictional story based on the image.

6. Write a story about eating a meal, from the perspective of the food.

7. Write a story based on the most terrifying dream you ever had.

8. Write about a romance story in which the two main characters start off disliking each other.

9. Write a story from the perspective of a family pet.

10. The secret life of a bully.

11. Write the opening chapter of a book based on your favourite film.

Story starters

1. Heart hammering in my chest, I gently pushed the door open…

2. The detective burst into the room, pacing back and forth before lighting his pipe and staring at the three suspects. “Yes,” he proclaimed. “Mrs Applebottom, owner of this mansion and millionaire, was murdered.”

3. I knew what had to be done…

4. There was a doll sitting on the table. Limbs akimbo, one eye missing…

5. The waves lapped gently against the jetty…

6. The graveyard was silent, eerie.

7. It was the third worst day of my life.

8. The clown had a leering smile and a bulbous red nose.

9. “Stop! Put the kitten and the scarf down!”

10. The bow of the ship exploded against the rocks and water started to rush in…

Instructional and informative writing

1. Think of something that you’re really good at doing and complete a piece of instructional writing explaining how do it.

2. Write a recipe for a dish that you’re good at making. Make the dish and take photos to accompany your recipe.

3. Interview a relative and complete a piece of writing about their life.

4. Write a step-by-step guide for annoying a younger brother or sister.

5. “Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”

6. Research and write about someone you admire.

7. Research and write about a random country.

8. “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”

9. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

10. Explain the top five problems facing our society.


1. Write a review of a novel you’ve read recently.

2. Write a review of a film that you’ve seen recently.

3. Write a review of your favourite video game.

4. Interview someone in your family about the five books that most influenced them.

5. Write a scathing review for a fictional restaurant.

Descriptive writing

1. Sit somewhere around you house for ten minutes and describe that place in detail. What can you see, hear, smell and feel?

2. Pick an object from around your house and describe it in extensive detail…

3. Think of someone in your family and describe their appearance without mentioning their name. Can other family members guess who it is?

4. Describe someone who is feeling nervous.

5. Pick a photograph from a magazine and describe it in detail.


1. Create an advertisement for a product of your choice.

2. Pick up a copy of the daily newspaper and read the major stories. Write a letter-to-the-editor on a issue that you feel strongly about.

3. Explain why television is bad for you. Then, explain why it’s not.

4. Write a letter to your parents arguing why you should do more chores.

5. Explain what you think is the greatest invention ever.


1. Write about a memorable trip with your family.

2. Find a picture in your family album and write a story about that point in your life.

3. Write about your earliest memory.

4. Who is the most important person in your life?

5. Interview your grandparents and write about their lives.