I recently had occasion to read the journal entry I wrote after 9/11. I was a junior in high school at the time, and I didn’t really know how to deal with the news and the emotions that came with it. It was interesting to read my teenage thoughts on the event and its aftermath, and it gave me a chance to think about how the world and my own life has changed as a result of that day.
Right now, the world is reeling from Coronavirus, and it is leaving people with a lot of very raw emotions and frustrations that they don’t know what to do with. Writing in a journal can be a great way to processes the events that color our lives. Whether these events are close to home or a bit more global, taking the time to write them down gives us an opportunity to reflect on what happened, process trauma or express gratitude, and leave a valuable record for future generations.
But if knowing where to start feels a little overwhelming, here are some prompts to help you write about this and other world events in your journal.
- What happened? Be as specific as you want or need to be. Include dates, timelines, and locations. If this is an ongoing event, you may want to record the occasional update.
- Were there any warning signs? If you know them, you might also include background details that led up to the event.
- Is this something that has impacted a single community, region, or the world as a whole?
- Who was involved? Who were the important figures? Have any leaders or heroes emerged from the event?
- How many people were affected? Have you or anyone you know been directly impacted?
- How will you describe the event to your grandchildren?
- How have the leaders of your local, regional, and national government responded to the event? Do you agree or disagree with their response? You could also include the responses of other leaders in your life, such as from school, work, church, etc.?
- What news sources do you use to get information? What helps you know they are reliable and provide factual information? Do you ever do your own fact checking?
- How does watching/reading the news make you feel? How often do you check for news?
Is writing not your thing?
- How has the event affected politics, international relations, the economy, etc?
- How has this event impacted your community? This can include a variety of different communities—towns, cities, states, faith groups, coworker groups, clubs, you name it.
- What are the current prices for essentials like gas, eggs, milk, and bread?
- Have you had trouble buying things you normally purchase? Even if you can still get everything you need, you can write about how it supply and demand has affected prices.
- How has the event impacted the businesses you visit regularly?
- What hasn’t changed?
- How has the event affected your ability to access food, shelter, transportation healthcare, welfare, or other services?
- How has the event impacted your schedule or routine? Have you had to cancel any plans or events?
- How has the event affected your job?
- If you’re a student, how has it affected classes?
- How have your hobbies been impacted?
- How is your family responding to the event? Children, teenagers, adults, and seniors may all have different feelings about the event. What are you doing to process as a family?
- How do you feel about the event or its aftermath? Are you anxious or hopeful? Scared or at peace? What are you doing to appropriately address negative feelings you may have?
- What do you miss about life before the event? What have you realized you’ve been taking for granted?
- If you could go back to warn your younger self about what was coming but couldn’t give specific details about the actual event, how would you tell yourself to prepare?
- What do you hope will change moving forward? How can this change the way you live for the better?
- How has this affected your plans for the future? And how does that make you feel?
- What has the event made you more grateful for?
- What was the worst part? The best part? The most unexpected part?
- What has the event taught you about yourself?
- What are you looking forward to?
- What questions do you still have about the event? How will you find answers?
Have you been writing about COVID-19 in your journal? What details have you wanted to include?
I’d love to hear your ideas, so share in the comments below to help inspire others to keep their own record of this time. And as always, stay safe, friends!