Writing a diary can be an incredibly rewarding process. It can help you work out what’s going on in your head and in your life, provide an opportunity to reflect on how you’re feeling, give you an outlet for expressing your thoughts and emotions, and can even help you gain perspective on whatever is going on.
Diaries don’t have to be public, either, so there’s no need to share your most personal thoughts with the world if you’d rather keep them private. Writing a diary is a great way to just let it all out, whether that’s for yourself or for others.
There are loads of ways to keep a diary, from writing about your day as it happens to delving into deeper reflections about what matters to you, reflecting on why something means so much, or talking about the big issues of the time.
Diary writing also helps to reduce depression.
A diary can take as long or as little as you want it to, but if you like the idea of writing a few lines each day, here are some tips that could help:
Use prompts. Often it’s hard to start a diary. We tend to revert to describing our day, and so keeping a diary becomes monotonous and tiresome. Prompts such as ‘The most fun I’ve ever had was when…’ or ‘What are you looking forward to most?’ trigger memories and ideas that you may not have thought to include in your daily diary entry.
Look at websites such as The Huffington Post or Creative Writing Now for ideas of the kinds of prompts and then choose which ones you want to write about.
If you decide that you want to make prompts a part of your everyday writing routine, you could always create a journal jar to store your ideas. Simply write some of your favourite prompts on bits of paper and put them in a jar to keep close to your journal. Then each night, pick out a piece of paper and write your entry for the day using that prompt.
Send a letter instead
If you’re not into the idea of having a journal that’s just for you, why not send letters instead?
You can write about your day and send your thoughts, ideas, and questions to friends and family to create an interactive diary.
It’s a great way to keep in touch with people that you don’t get the chance to speak to regularly or ask them questions or simply chat about life at home.
Even if you don’t want to send the letter to someone else, why not write a letter as if you are sending it to yourself in the future? Write a traditional letter but on the pages of your diary, so you don’t have to send it to a recipient and can look back over it in years to come.
Design a Doodle
If you’re not an artist that doesn’t matter!
Doodling is just a way to express your creativity and can help you relax.
Take 5 minutes or half an hour and doodle on your journal pages. It could be abstract or an image of something that brightened your day, for example, a donut you ate or a friend you saw.
To get started, I’d highly recommend taking a look at the Doodle Diary by Gemma Cornell, which is full of fun images to inspire you
Making your diary visual or even mixing images and writing will mean you’re less likely to get stuck in a rut. Although doodling doesn’t give you a detailed account of the day to look back on, it does allow you to express your creativity and relax after a busy day, which is what a diary should do as you pour out your thoughts and feelings on the day before you head to bed.
A picture a day
Whatever you want to remember, whether it’s a special occasion or a simple day out with friends, this app allows you to keep a visual record of your life. It is free and easy to use. All you have to do is take one photo per day and the app will then create an awesome video montage from them.
Once you have created your video, it can be shared on Facebook or Twitter, as well as by email or text message. You can also upload your video onto YouTube for others to enjoy and comment on.
You can also add captions to your photos and even add music to enhance the mood of your video.
Lists, lists, lists
You could start a list of all the things you are grateful for, or do a little self-reflection by writing down your positive qualities and characteristics. You could also start a list of goals and objectives to achieve over the next week, month or year.
Maybe writing a whole paragraph or two every day in a diary is too daunting a commitment. Why not turn your lengthy ramblings into more concise lists that trigger your memory.
You could even use list prompts in your journal jar to vary your writing style. Questions such as ‘Top Ten Places you’ve enjoyed visiting’ or ‘The People You Admire Most’ allow you to reflect on your adventures and then give you the option to expand into more detail on these memories.
Lists make writing a diary quick and interesting, as well as creating ideas that jog your memory when you reflect back on your diary in the future.