Keeping a diary can be fun, useful, and therapeutic – or it can be frustrating, time-consuming, and stressful. Today I’d like to offer some writing tips (as a person who has kept a diary for the past three years) for making your diary a helpful tool as well as an enjoyable pastime.
4 Diary Writing Tips
1. It’s okay to miss a day. Most people will tell you to write something, anything, every day, just to get words on the page. The truth is, your diary is for you, and it’s not doing you any good if you’re stressed about coming up with something to write about. It will just make your entry feel forced. It’s also okay if you’re too busy living your life to write about it for a day – you won’t enjoy writing in your diary if you’re hurriedly scribbling away in the bathroom at your friend’s birthday party to get an entry in before midnight.
2. A craftsman always has the right tools. If you love your diary because it’s your favorite color, or because it’s leather-bound, or because it has a picture of a kitten on the cover, you’ll be more excited to write in it. Check out this awesome me journal, for starters. You’ll also want a good sharp pencil with a fun design, like these paw print pencils. Or, if you’re like me and one color just isn’t enough for your diary, grab a set of colored pencils and challenge yourself to use every color.
3. Write about anything. A diary can be so much more than a record of events. A wise professor once said to me, don’t give up for the wrong reasons. That piece of advice became the first entry in my current diary, along with some other wisdom she imparted. I read that entry often, and remind myself of the lessons therein. Having the things I need to work on all in one place and close at hand makes it easier for me to keep focused on them. In addition to (or instead of!) writing about your day, keep track of burning questions, record quotes you love, jot down recipes you want to try, write a letter to a loved one who’s passed away, sketch the floor plan of your dream house. There are no rules to what a diary can and can’t be. You can doodle, use stickers, glue in ticket stubs, cut the pages into snowflakes. Fill your diary with everything that makes you who you are so that when you look back on it you’re not just remembering events that transpired, you’re remembering who you were when you lived it.
4. Don’t censor yourself. Your diary is a place for you to let loose. Have a research paper due the same day as a test? Call your teacher all those words that would get your mouth washed out with soap, then get to work. Caught your girlfriend cheating with the Robert Downey Jr. lookalike from down the street? Have the tearful breakdown you’re too much of a manly man to have around your friends, then meet the guys at the bar for good-riddance beers. Your diary lets you be explosive, passionate, and outrageous in private so you can get over life’s little speed bumps and move on.
Those are my tips! Do any of you diary-keepers out there have writing tips of your own? I’d love to read what you’ve got, so don’t be shy about sharing your writing tips in the comments!