How to Keep a Diary and Stick to It

Two Methods:Sample EntriesKeeping Your Own Diary

Keeping a diary or journal is a great way to express your emotions on paper and treasure experiences. Years from now, you'll wonder what you were doing years ago. A diary will remind you of the good - and bad - times you had in your past. A diary can also help vent out anger and frustration as well as excitement. It is a great way to express your feelings and pour out your heart when you're sad or when you just need someone (well, something actually) to tell your innermost thoughts to. Many of us started writing journal one time or another but never kept it up. We started during a difficult time and simply abandoned writing when things got better. It doesn't have to be that way. Writing a journal can also be to record happy memories.

Sample Entries

Sample Personal Journal Entry

Sample Reader Response Journal Entry

Sample Task Oriented Journal Entry

Keeping Your Own Diary

  1. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 1
    Make sure your diary reflects your personality. Some of the ways people personalize diaries are:
    • Adding scraps, like movie ticket stubs, receipts, flower petals, etc.
    • Gluing in photographs
    • Making sketches and drawings
    • Writing poems
    • Choosing a quotation or a goal of the day
  2. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 2
    Write in some basic information about yourself on the first page. You could include your name, your age, your best friend, your occupation or school grade, and a few of your hobbies and favorite things. Sometimes people include a "reward if found" note, just in case it gets lost.
  3. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 3
    Start your first entry by labeling the top with the weekday and date, the time, and possibly where you were when writing that entry. Write your entry as if you were talking to your best friend, or even to yourself, with enough detail to remind you what was going on at that time. Remember that things may be different in the future.
  4. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 4
    Don't be afraid to even give your diary a name. Pretend it is a real person, not a non living object. This one day may become your best friend!
  5. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 5
    Write your frustrations and celebrations, but also write everyday things about your schedule, your friends, and the things you like to do. People forget things they think they will always remember, and these everyday things will be very meaningful to you later. Try to write positive in there too. Being positive can help you in the darkest of times.
  6. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 6
    Start again if you have a break from writing. If you do skip a day, days, or even weeks, don't worry about it. Just start in again from the current day. Obsessively trying to catch up with all your past events is the quickest way to lose interest a diary. If you're still remembering something weeks later that you didn't write about, it will come up again in your mind later and you can write about it then. Don't worry if you skip a day, week, or even a month. No one's keeping score.
  7. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 7
    Read your old entries every so often and see what you think now in comparison to then. But do this when you are in an accepting mood of yourself! It does not help to be mean and judge your former self and then throw away your diary in disgust. Be nice to yourself and treat your old diaries like letters from your former self to your present self. More importantly, see how much you have grown and learned from your experiences. At the end of the day, that is the true beauty of a diary, of your own personal and emotional growth as you strive to better yourself every day.
  8. Image titled Keep a Diary and Stick to It Step 8
    Make sure you hide it too. It's a personal diary so it needs to be safe! A hollow book is a good place to hide a diary.
    • You can also hide your diary in other places like between the mattress and the bed frame, stuck up under a table/chair, in a video case, in a shoe packet, or in your jacket.


  • Anthony J. Robbins, who keeps a journal/diary, believes if your life is worth living, it's worth recording! Write your goals not just on the first page, but throughout the year as they change.
  • Whenever you have a thought that will not leave your head, write a note to yourself to explore it later in greater detail in your diary.
  • Just vent every emotion that is in you in your diary! (For kids) Talk all about how irritating the person that sits next to you in History class is or about every little thing that your crush does for or with you. A diary is a friend that will never share your secrets. Don't be afraid to talk to it about anything; crushes, dreams, songs you want to write, or anything else!
  • Be honest in your diary. If you can't say what you really feel, what's the point?
  • Find a good hiding place so that you can write what you really feel without worrying about who will read it.
  • Never be afraid to add your deep, inner, and highly confidential thoughts and information in your diary! This is a place for you to vent and you don't have to worry about anyone reading your thoughts.
  • Consider decorating the outside of your journal with stickers, drawings, photos, etc. Be creative and you'll be amazed at how much you express yourself that way.
  • Some well-known people who have kept diaries include Leonardo da Vinci, Henry David Thoreau, George Washington, Maria Nikolaevna Romanov, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Sophia Tolstoy, Anne Hathaway, and of course the famous holocaust writer Anne Frank. It all helped inspire them!
  • Always write down what you feel. A diary is your best friend but is one that does not speak or move.
  • Try to put it somewhere that you'll remember to write in it. If you shove it in the bottom of the drawer, you might forget.
  • If you feel comfortable enough, have your best friend, favorite relative, or other loved one write a special holiday or just-because message for you in one of your diary pages. It will truly help your diary become more of a cherished keepsake and you won't have to keep track of collecting greetings cards that might get tossed away.
  • Keep sticky notes with you anywhere so you don't forget something you wanna add.
  • You could also write your diary like a book. Pick a name you like and call yourself that name, so if someone tends to read it if it doesn't have a lock on it they won't know who you're talking about.
  • If you really want to remember everything about your day, pick a certain time of evening to write. Maybe you want to write on the car ride home from school, or right after school. Anytime is fine!
  • Keep it in a place you will remember about it, if you leave it at a friend's house and they read it then they'll know all of your secrets.
  • Make sure to keep it hidden from nosy people like your sister or brother.
  • If you decide to read your earlier entries and there's something you don't like, don't rip out the pages or scribble on them! Things are going to be different in the past than they are now. But in a couple of years and you read them you will be happy you kept everything you ever did.
  • If you want to make it even more interesting, once you read your journal many years from now, write your entries humorously. It'll definitely make you laugh later.
  • Enjoy it! You shouldn't feel like doing homework when writing in your diary.
  • Write neat so you can read it later.
  • If you have nothing to write, write lists. It can be anything- a to-do list, a favorites list, a shopping list, a travel list, etc.
  • Don't feel bad about adding to previous days. You might need to leave some extra thoughts.
  • Make a secret code that only you know. Create a cipher wheel or other such thing to help you remember the code, or write the code down in your diary but shift the letters over; writing a riddle to help you find the correct beginning letter.
  • You can start off using your diary as a notebook to write things down that interest you, and then eventually you may become inspired to elaborate your thoughts on these notes.
  • Don't hide your diary, nor advertise it as such, just keep a mundane book in your backpack and no one will even look at it twice.
  • If you don't want a diary then don't start one. Just have fun!
  • Don't compare your writing or yourself to others; we are each unique and our lives and styles will naturally be different.
    • If writing a journal gets boring, you can write short stories or other topics that interest you.
  • Don't take it to school. Other people will be tempted to read it (after all, diaries have secrets) and all your secrets will be made public to the school. Unless you want the entire grade knowing about your crush (or some other big secret) keep your diary at home!


  • Be yourself. You don't want to look back on your life as other people.
  • Try to be neat so that you'll be able to read what you wrote in the future. You never know how long you'll keep your diary.
  • Write down everything! Censoring your own thoughts means that you are not honest with yourself.
  • Don't copy off others, this is your diary so make it your style!
  • Don't worry about grammar and proper spelling. You're here to write out your thoughts and feelings - not to write a perfect best-selling novel.
  • Make sure your ink doesn't leak through the paper!
  • Don't write a bluff be true to your diary/journal
  • Make sure you know where your diary is at all times, especially if there is important/embarrassing information in it! If it has some ultra-top secret information, get a lock or get a diary with a lock and then hide it. Be careful not to drop it somewhere and forget about it.
  • Write in pen only. Pencil might fade away.

Things You'll Need

  • A Favorite Pen: ballpoint, gel, and fountain pens are great options to look into. They can have barrels and ink in a variety of colors.
  • Page Decorations: Photographs, tickets, acid-free stickers, cut-outs, a favorite collector's card, ribbons, pressed flowers, acid-free printer paper, and anything else
  • A Lock and Key, a mini combination lock, a locking case, or a very good hiding place for your diary
  • A Special Spot where you can comfortably go to focus and write. Some people actually set up a designated place in their homes for this!

Article Info

Categories: Diary and Secrets