Dear Diary - How To Keep A Diary

Do you fancy the idea of being able to read back over your best bits? X Factor Style?
Then why not keep a diary.
And when I say keep a diary, I don’t mean in the standard way which usually goes something like this.

  • Christmas: Get gifted a diary.
  • Be excited about the year ahead and imagine all the things you are going to journal from the following January.
  • Put diary in pile of stuff to be put away.
  • Find the diary on January the 6th when you put the Christmas tree away.
  • Write a “hello diary” entry and promise to start writing in it every week.
  • One or two weeks later, write an entry apologising for not having written another entry since the 1st.
  • Misplace diary.
  • Find diary in October.
  • Write a ‘I lost you but then I found you again’ diary entry.
  • Write three days worth of diary entries in November. You’re on a roll.
  • December 1st, write an entry about having to go Christmas shopping.
  • December 20th, write another entry about really having to Christmas shop soon.
  • Christmas. Get gifted a new diary. With a bonus calendar.
  • Repeat.

That’s not the type of diary keeping we’re talking about here. Nuh-uh! Diary-keeping, journalling, scrapbooking; whatever you want to call it, we’re creating books crammed full of memories to be treasured and looked back on in years to come.

There are so many ways to keep a dairy these days. When I was young, you were stuck with basic lined pages, with a cover that didn’t necessarily inspire you to write inside. Now, you can journal online or via a blog, and there are millions of physical diaries and pretty notebooks to choose from if you prefer the traditional paper route! I like paper, I must admit.

So step one on your journey to keeping a diary would be to choose a journal that you like. I like a tactile book that feels nice and solid in your hands. It makes me smile just to write in it. And I find that this helps because you want to feel really connected to your diary. You are after all treating it to your emotions, and memories and secrets. Love your diary! My current favourite is a Paperblanks!

paperblanks diary

Then there is the subject of what to include. The devil is in the details. It is the little things that you want to remember in the future that you should highlight. So jot down the places you went, and the people you spoke to. Maybe snippets of conversations, or bits about how things made you feel, or things that made you laugh.If you are listening to particular songs, note those down. I say that because it’s surprising that no matter how much you love certain songs, sometimes their names will escape you a few years down the line. You’ll be able to sing bits of it still, or even hum the tune, but if you wanted to reference it to someone else, you’d be stuck. There is nothing quite so annoying as when you know the other person will have heard the song and you’re desperately trying to jog their memory, to no avail. So write it down and save yourself that trauma! #LifeTip

how to keep a diary

Perhaps you want to use your diary to jot down your hopes and dreams. Diaries are great because you can be completely honest with your diary, and not worry about it judging you. It won’t berate you for having dreams of being a writer, nor tell you to go and get a proper job. It won’t tell anyone about that particular dream you had………well, unless you leave it lying about of course!

So when to journal? Diaries work best when you commit to putting pen to paper regularly. They’re not such fun to read back through when you only make a handful of entries in a year, and you have to flick past acres of blank spaces where your memories should’ve been. But it is your diary. So set a loose schedule that suits you. It could be every day. It could be a few times a week, once a week, or once a month even. But if you do want to keep a diary, do make the effort to write in it because before you know it, years will pass by and those memories you always said you’d get round to jotting down, become hazy and sometimes even lost forever.

Diaries are lovely keepsakes. I like a diary to be full of a happiness and things I am grateful for. I don’t like to include sad stuff in my journals because the feelings live on to be re-awakened on re-reading. However, you might want to journal the less cheery things. And of course you can. Again, it is your diary! Write in it what you please!
You could always have a separate book for those things if you did want to document and process your low points in that way. Whatever works best for you.

what to put in your diary

I also have a separate book that I use to document my intentions and achievements. Noting these down really helps me focus on the things I want to do and the steps I need to take to make them happen. It’s great to be able to set intentions and then update them with completion dates when you have accomplished your goal. It’s a very satisfying feeling! You can use any book to do this, but if you would like one that has been specifically tailored to this purpose, please do feel free to purchase a copy of ‘my little book of intentions and achievements’, which you can find on amazon.

my little book of intentions and achievements


What else you put in your diary is completely up to you; poems, stories, song lyrics, things cut out of magazines and newspapers, photographs, train tickets, theatre tickets, gig flyers, beermats, snippets of fabric, motivational quotes, paint swatches. Everything can all have it’s own place in your diary for you to keep forever!

How do you keep your diary?

This is post 13 of 100 blogs in 100 days!
100 blogs in 100 days

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Ms Moem is an English poet. Since 2007, she has taken thousands of commissions for personalised poetry. Bespoke poems make the best personalised gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and more! Commmission your personalised poem today!

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