Starting 2015 with an Empty Journal Jar


Happy New Year, Inksters! Let’s start the year off with a fun writing challenge: Filling an empty journal jar with our very own creative ideas for writing.

Journal Jar

You remember what a Journal Jar is, right? A Journal Jar is full of ideas — questions, words, or starter lines — for writing. To start your New Year’s Journal Jar:

  • Pick an empty jar. It can be glass or plastic. It can be any shape, but it should have an opening large enough for you to reach in and grab a slip of paper out of from time to time. Try to use a jar from your favorite jelly or spaghetti sauce or preserved fruit.
  • Then take pieces of paper — any color plain or lined paper or a brown paper bag or leftover gift wrap — and cut these large pieces of paper into long strips. Aim to have at least 15 slips of paper — for 2015!
  • Keep these strips of paper, along with pencils, pens, and markers, close to your empty jar.

Each day that you come home from school or play, take a few minutes to write a question, word, or idea for a story down on one strip of paper. Then roll or fold the paper and place it into your jar. Do this every day until all your paper strips are in the jar. Some days you may have a few ideas, other days only one. Be sure to use a new slip of paper for each new idea.

Struggling to find ideas? Not sure what to write on those slips of paper? Remember that you don’t have to fill your jar alone! Ask your friends, grown-ups, and siblings for ideas. Also use these ideas to help you create your own Journal Jar slips:

  • Write down a favorite line from a favorite story.
  • Fill in the blanks: Today I ______________ to the _______________.
  • Or this line: We made it all the way to the top of the ______________ when we realized we forgot ___________.
  • Write a word you really like. (You can always use these words in a story later).

Once you have filled all those slips of paper with ideas, use them to help you write. Pull one slip of paper from the jar each time you need an inkspiration and use it to help you fill your writing journal with wonderfully creative stories.

And a note to Grown-Ups: For pre- or newer readers and writers, fill a jar with vivid photographs, pictures from magazines, coloring pages, or even miniature toys. Listen as your young inkster tells stories using these images and objects. Record them or write them down. And don’t forget to have your inkster illustrate their stories!

Happy writing in the New Year!


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