101 Writing Prompts for Veterans

In my own battles with PTSD, I’ve come to understand the importance of having as many weapons as possible. Therapy is one tool, but the VA only provided me with one form of therapy: theirs and it simply wasn’t sufficient. I started writing initially to help myself, then student veterans, and then expanded into the veteran community. Writing has provided me with an outlet to find closure on my military career, boost my mental health, and figure out my identity and goals after the military.

Writing is first and foremost a way to organize our thoughts. That’s why we make pros and cons lists in our decision-making processes. The veteran mind can be a warzone and writing can help calm the internal chaos. Writing will slow you down, which in a fast-paced world is something a lot of people desperately need. Veterans tend to judge ourselves harshly, we hold ourselves to the highest of standards and beat ourselves up when we fall short. Writing can open the door for self-acceptance over judgment.

You’ll encounter a wide variety of prompts written for veterans by a veteran. It’s important we approach our civilian lives with the acknowledgement the military is part of who we are, it’s in our DNA. We’re all forever changed from the military, no one coming out of the military is the same person that went in. Occasionally we get trapped in the grind of life and don’t consider what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, or what would make us stronger, healthier, and happier.

All veterans have incredible stories that deserve to be told, thoughts that deserve to be heard, and values to share. I see a lot of what I’ll call “normal veterans” not telling their stories but most of the military isn’t Navy Seals. The military is made up of normal people trying to do extraordinary things, not superheroes. We’re just people doing our best in tough circumstances. We’re underpaid and overworked and then have to learn how to re-enter a society that underappreciates and undervalues us. That takes a toll on our mental health and takes away from the importance of our roles in the world. You’re part of history, and that history deserves to be heard, written about, or documented somehow.

Veterans tend to lean towards a negative inner dialogue, sarcasm, and dark humor. I know because I do it. We have an embrace the suck mentality and writing is one strategy to rewire us to learn to be happier and healthier. Putting pen to paper is an intensely personal experience and these prompts are intended to get you to consider your past, present, and future. To think about who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going.

The most important questions are the ones we ask ourselves.

Check me out on Instagram and TikTok where I post Veteran content and resources. On my Veteran Blog I have more articles on mental health and on my Veterans Living Abroad blog I talk about moving and living abroad after service.

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