A diary is a private place where you can keep your thoughts, feelings and opinions on everything from work to school and everywhere in between. Starting a diary can have many benefits.
BEFORE YOU PUT PEN TO PAPER
First, set a date. The start of a new year, for example, is a fitting occasion.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be the 1st January. Perhaps you start your diary after a significant event in your life, such as getting married, having a child or starting a new career.
GET PROPERLY EQUIPPED
If you are keeping a paper diary, ensure you get a pen you enjoy writing with.
Interestingly, which type of pen/pencil you use says a lot about your personality. You can, actually, quiz itself.
Also, make sure you get a decent, good quality diary that will last some time—you don’t want it to fall apart after a few weeks!
CHOOSE A WRITING SPACE
Writing in the same location every day can help you stay committed. It will create structure and help to develop a routine.
It doesn’t matter where you choose—it could be your bedroom, on the train to work, your favourite coffee shop, even a bar!
The important thing is to write in the same setting every day as this will reinforce your regime.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
If you want to log entries every day, create a routine for yourself. That way, writing your diary will quickly become habit.
Depending on what sort of diary you are keeping, adjust your schedule accordingly.
Those keeping dream diaries, for example, need to make entries as soon as they wake up in the morning (or in the middle of the night) when their dreams are still fresh in their mind.
If you are keeping a food diary, though, make entries after each meal, and remember to include everything you’ve eaten.
If you’re keeping a personal diary, perhaps you’ll write first thing in the morning about what happened the day before.
Or, maybe you’d prefer to make your entry at the end of the day, as a way to destress and collect your thoughts.
To make sure you stick to your writing schedule, set an alarm on your smartphone to remind you to write at the same time each day.
WRITING DIARY ENTRIES
Starting a diary can be a daunting prospect; being disciplined with your writing regime is tough, to begin with.
DATE AND MARK EVERY ENTRY
Make a note of the date on the top of the page so that you don’t forget when you logged your entry.
One idea is to begin each entry with the same prompt each day. Something like: ‘Dear diary’, ‘Today I…’ or ‘Right now, I’m…’:
If you don’t know what to write, write about why you want to keep a diary. Write about your hopes, dreams and aspirations; write about your regrets.
Don’t worry about writing the next Ulysses. Your diary is personal and not an epic piece of literature.
Write short entries, to begin with. A paragraph that sums up your day is all you need, especially when you’re starting out.
You don’t always have to write short entries, however. As time goes on, gradually build up their length and detail.
BE OPEN AND HONEST
The idea of a diary is that no one can judge you for it—provided you keep it well-hidden, that is!
Log your deepest emotions, secrets and desires. Open up and let loose as this form of catharsis can be really beneficial for your mental well-being.
RECORD WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
Each day, it’s the little things that make us happy. It’s all too easy to forget these moments as time goes on.
Try recording the moments that make you smile.
There are three key ways to successfully start a diary:
1. Be excited – look forward to engaging in this fun and productive habit.
2. Be reflective – reflect on yourself and those around you, use your diary to consider the state of the world.
3. Write freely – don’t hold back, write about whatever pops into your head. This will develop a kind of ‘stream-of-consciousness’ that you’ll be able to look back on in years to come.
Keeping a diary isn’t easy, but as we said at the start, if you do you’ll thank yourself in later life. So, don’t delay, buy yourself a shiny new journal and get going! We hope this article has encouraged you to start a diary. If it has, we wish you happy writing!