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If you are thinking about how to start a diary, there is a really simple way - just start it! That being said, there are of course a few things to consider when you think about how to start a diary. We will walk you through some of the questions you should ask yourself to get going, in a direction that suits you.

Before you look into the sections below, make sure you have a pen that you like using. Everything is easier if you actually look forward to making your diary entries. Many people find it useful to buy new stationery when starting a new project, to mark the beginning of something new. There is a point in this, but it is by no means necessary, you can just as well start with what you have, and let your equipment evolve and improve along the way of the project.

1. Ask Yourself Why Do You Want To Write A Diary?

The very first thing you have to find an answer to when you are thinking about how to start a diary is of course why you want to have a diary. Is it to keep track of things that have happened, or to plan things ahead? Will you cover a specific topic in your diary, or will it be all-encompassing?

Perhaps you feel a need to let your creativity loose, and want to set aside some time for it regularly? A diary does not have to be a notebook with written text in it, it might just as well contain pictures, drawings or sketches.

2. Pick A Topic For Your Diary

The second question of how to start a diary is picking a topic. The possibilities are of course endless, but here are a few to help you.
  • The regular diary - things that happen and how you feel about them. A diary to keep track of your child’s development.
  • A diary where you regularly list things that you are grateful for, to help you become happier.
  • A work-out diary, to keep track of your workouts and results.
  • A race diary, where you keep your race analyses for any races you might participate in.
  • A dinner diary, to help with dinner planning for your family.
  • A guest diary, where you note down things about dinner parties that you host, for example, the guests and the menu.
  • A holiday diary for a specific holiday, to enhance your memories from it.
  • A pregnancy diary, for obvious reasons.
  • A creativity diary, where you regularly create something.

3. Dedicate The First Page To Your Chosen Topic

Once you have settled on a topic in your how to start a diary project, dedicate the first page to the topic. State what it is, why you chose it and what you intend to accomplish with the diary. If the topic is connected to any goals, note them down as well. If you go for an index, this is the place for it.


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4. How Often And For How Long?

Now we are at the finer details on how to start a diary, such as deciding on the frequency of updating, and for how long you intend to keep your diary.

Some topics have obvious choices, for example, a pregnancy diary, where there is a natural start and stop date. The update frequency could be chosen a bit more freely, even if there are some expected choices there as well.

For other topics though, such as a race diary, for example, the time period covered might be more difficult to set (a year? the length of the notebook? until the next Olympicolympic games?) than the frequency (after each race).

When you are thinking about how to start a diary, also consider how much time you have to spend on it. Make a realistic estimate on the update frequency based on how much time you have or intend to make available for it.

5. Personalise Your Entry Format (Date, Time, Headlines)

To thoroughly enjoy the how to start a diary project, you should personalise the entry format to suit you as well as possible. A few recommendations are to state the date and keep the headlines as informative as you can.

6. Write As No One Ever Would Read Your Diary

One of the best tips on how to start a diary is to write as no one ever would read your diary. This is another way of saying that you should focus on writing, not on editing. Your diary is yours, and yours only. Whatever you want to write is allowed to go in.


7. Draw, Make Doodles, Be Creative, Give Yourself No Boundaries

To keep at the project of how to start a diary, do not limit yourself. Allow yourself to show your creativity in your diary, even if it is a diary focusing on the written text.

Drawing and doodling can help you relax and let your mind become free to focus on the diary, it'sits content and what to write or how to express yourself.

8. Really Go For A Format That Is Fun For You (If It Becomes A Chore, Change What You Are Doing)

By deciding on a format that you enjoy, it will be easier to keep at your diary. Keep this in mind when you think about how to start a diary. Allow yourself to think outside the box.

A diary does not have to be written, it could just as well be in the format of a weekly drawing using watercolors. Or maybe you decide on using calligraphy for the headings of your entries, as a means of keeping it fun and rewarding to keep a diary.Β 

9. Invest In A Journal That Is Special To You

This tip is at the end since it is not the most important. On the other hand, when you are thinking about how to start a diary, getting the journal is one of the first steps. Choose your journal wisely, as you will keep it for some time.

When you select your journal, make sure the paper quality matches your pen. This is especially important if you are going to use a fountain pen, as you might have problems with the pen bleeding through the paper in an unwanted fashion.

If you prefer the pages to be blank, lined, dotted or checked is completely a matter of your taste, and the format you decide to use for your personalised diary.

10. Remember You Are Writing Your Own History

One thing to keep in mind when thinking about how to start a diary is that you are noting down your own history. This means that you are recording memories for the future, that you will be able to look back at for many years to come and recall the events more clearly.

Tips For New Journal Writers

  • The final steps of how to start a diary is to list a few tips for new journal writers, that will help you avoid some of the most common drawbacks or mistakes.
  • First of all, make sure your notebook and pen are compatible. There is nothing more annoying than sitting down to write or draw and ending up with an unintelligible mess. When thinking about how to start a diary, make sure you select a topic that will help you keep the diary, making it a pleasant way of spending time instead of something that you feel you have to do.
  • Decide on a frequency of updates that is not overwhelming. If you intend to make large and extensive entries, then maybe you should not do it daily as it might consume too much time. If you feel that keeping the diary takes too much time, it is more likely that you will stop it so keep your ambitions on a manageable level.
  • Decide on whether the format or the content is the most important part of your diary. If the aim of the diary is to help you be creative, then maybe it is ok to let some entries be smaller and simpler, as long as you make them.
  • Even if you have set a format and topic for yourself, do not let that be an uncrossable boundary. Should you, along the way feel that you would like your diary to evolve into something else, feel free to do so. However, that being said, try to stick to your chosen topic for some time, to see if it fits you and does not change it every week.

How To Make Entries

As the very last step of how to start a diary project, here are some tips on how to make entries to get you going on your own. Do not feel limited by the tips below, but instead regard them as starting points or inspirations.

  • Be structured. If you always keep the same structure and headings, it might feel easier to fill the entry with content.
  • Be unstructured. Let the words or pictures flow freely. The diary is yours, you keep it for yourself and that means you can choose exactly how you want to make the entry.
  • Do not limit yourself with a set structure. Let every entry record a feeling that you have in or about your life at the moment of the entry.
  • Set a specific time for making diary entries, and set an alarm to remember them. For example, set aside one hour every week, and set the alarm to remind you about diary time.
  • If you find it difficult to start a written entry, begin by a writing exercise to get you going. There are loads of great exercises that you can find online.