How to Make a Diary Interesting

Four Methods:Learning About Different Kinds of DiariesFinding the Diary Style That’s Best for YouUsing a Diary for Self-ImprovementMaking Each Entry Interesting

If you're bored with keeping a diary, you might need a new approach. Think about the different kinds of diaries you might try: a dream diary, a travel journal, a sketchbook for your creative ideas, or a combination of different types of diary. You’ll want to find the kind of diary that's most comfortable to you. You might use a handmade notebook, a spiral-bound notebook, or an online blog. Try different writing strategies to keep each entry interesting.

Method 1
Learning About Different Kinds of Diaries

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    Try keeping a dream diary. A dream diary is a place for you to record what you remember of your dreams upon waking. It should be written as soon as you wake up, because your dreams will soon be forgotten.[1]
    • You might keep a small notebook, pen, or pencil right beside your bed. Or, you might try an app on your phone that uses speech-to-text technology. No matter which sort you choose, the main thing is to be able to access it as soon as you wake up.
    • If you’re interested in seeing patterns in your dreams, try writing a title on each one for easier indexing.
    • Consider analyzing your dreams using a dream dictionary, or by looking carefully at the imagery you see recurring in your dreams and thinking about what it might mean.
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    Create a time capsule of your daily life. This kind of diary can be fun to create if you’re thinking about the possibility of your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren reading your diary in the future. This kind of diary includes detailed information about your everyday life.[2]
    • You might want to include newspaper clippings, recipes, your own thoughts and comments on the daily headlines.
    • Consider including both national and local events, as well as personal family information.
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    Keep a travel diary. If you’re going on a trip, keeping a daily diary of the places you’ve been, things you’ve seen, people you’ve met and other detailed information about your trip will help keep your memories alive for years following your travels. It will also help you live more fully in the moment of your trip as you consider details for including in your diary.[3]
    • Take plenty of photographs, and carefully label each one by date, place, and any identifying information regarding people in the pictures so that you’ll be able to remember them later.
    • This is a diary that’s often kept online in a blog format, but can also be kept by writing daily entries in a book.
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    List the books you’ve read in a diary. A reading diary allows you to keep track of all the books you’re reading. You might want to include a short description of each book, its author, and your own response to the book. You can make your own rating system, and rate each book according to its merits.[4]
    • There are many options for keeping a reading diary online that you can explore. These can be useful if you want to quickly link to the book’s online description.
    • You can also use a reading diary to keep a list of books you want to read, books on your wishlist, or books you started but never finished.
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    Keep a gratitude journal. This is a list of things that you’re grateful for, no matter how small or large. Research shows that people who keep a gratitude journal have lower stress, improvement in self-esteem, and more positive outlook on life.[5]
    • Some research suggests that keeping a gratitude journal might be most effective when done on a weekly basis, rather than a daily habit.
    • Think about imagining what your life would be like without the specific thing you’re grateful for. This is a way of making the gratitude journal more interesting.
    • Write about the good things that happened that were unexpected or surprising.
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    Maintain a project diary. If you’re working on a long-term project, whether it’s building a house, planting a garden, or teaching your first course, consider writing about your progress in a diary. Keeping a diary about the work you do towards this project can help you chart your progress.[6]
    • Keeping a diary is also a good way to write down details that help you learn about your project. For example, you might want to write about project materials you’ve tried, and the results you found.
    • This way the information is found all in one place, and can be referred to later.
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    Sketch out your ideas. A diary might be used as a place to store up sketches, ideas, random thoughts and observations. You could include clipped articles, pictures, or quotes from other people that you find inspirational.[7]
    • You can include these ideas in any kind of diary, of course, but some people prefer to maintain one diary that contains nothing but their rough sketches and ideas.
    • Quick drawings of things you see, or imagine, might be scribbled into a diary of this kind.
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    Keep it short. Consider minimizing your diary entries. For example, limiting your entries to one sentence per day. Or one word. Or one picture. Try writing in haiku.
    • The purpose of this kind of diary is to allow you to create a quick snapshot of your mood, your location, or your thoughts about the day.
    • One diary possibility is to write down one adjective at the end of the day which describes that day. Then write another that you hope will describe the next day.

Method 2
Finding the Diary Style That’s Best for You

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    Choose your favorite format. Do you want to write in an elegant handwritten journal? Or would you rather create a daily blog? There are benefits to both. A handwritten diary can be easily carried in your purse, backpack, or even in a pocket. An online blog is more interactive, and you can include links to other sites, photos, respond to comments, etc.
    • Try different formats until you know what you prefer.
    • Personalize your diary to express your personality, using stickers, drawings, photographs, widgets, or anything else that you might want to include.
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    Vary your diary entries. You might sometimes write long entries, and other times just a quote that caught your attention. Include mementos of your day, such as flowers pressed between the pages of your diary, or a special card or paper wrapper. You might want to add a photo of something you saw that day, which may be accompanied by a story...or, it might not.[8]
    • Try cartooning a diary entry. Particularly if you’ve never drawn before, this can be a fun thing to try to make your diary interesting.
    • Write a daily entry in haiku, or another kind of poem for variety.
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    Experiment with pens and pencils. If you write your diary by hand, try writing with a variety of pens or pencils. Writing in colored ink may change the things that you think to write about, or you might try color-coding your thoughts. Writing with a calligraphy pen or a fine fountain pen might lead to new ideas.[9]
    • If you write with a pencil, you can easily include sketches in your diary. Colored pencils can also lend themselves to new and interesting ideas.
    • Try writing with gel pens, ballpoint pens, felt-tipped pens, fine-tipped or thicker tipped pens.
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    Try setting up an online diary. If you've never tried creating a diary online, explore some of the free options such as Penzu, Dear Diary, My Diary or Popular blogging programs, like WordPress, Live Journal, and Blogger, can also be set on "private" settings and used as a diary.[10]
    • Digital diaries have many possibilities for personalization, and allow you to be very creative with content. For example, you could include audio clips, or video options.
    • Consider adding more photographs or other images to express your feelings.
    • Some online sites allow for more social interaction than others. Remember, you can select what you want to share even on a public blog site.

Method 3
Using a Diary for Self-Improvement

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    Reread your diary to see your progress. Whether you’re using your diary to record your goals, getting over a romantic breakup, or using it to chart your travels, it can be fun to look back across your earlier pages to see the progress you’ve made. Successes can be easily forgotten. One of the best things about a diary is that you’ll have evidence of your own personal progress.[11]
    • Reading about the hard times will remind you that you have what it takes to get beyond them. You’ll be able to see evidence of achieving goals, working through frustrations, and overcoming adversity.
    • Keeping a journal can remind you to articulate steps you’ve taken to work towards your goals.
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    Remember that a diary provides accountability. Even if no one ever reads your diary, writing down your goals, and steps taken towards those goals, tends to keep you more focussed on doing the things you said you would do. Writing down the things you’ve done every day that lead you towards your goal, as well as the things you’ve left undone, will help you stay on track.[12]
    • When you start to see the tangible results of your actions, you’re more likely to want to continue to move towards your goals.
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    Commit to a daily writing practice. Find a time of the day that’s best for you to sit down and write in your diary. For many people, this is first thing in the morning. It can be any time of the day when you can find a time that’s relatively undisturbed. Some people use their lunch breaks to write in their diaries. Others find it easiest to write in the 30 minutes before bed.[13]
    • No matter what time you find works best for you, make sure to prioritize this time. Try not to schedule other things that conflict with the time.
    • Even though you’re making a commitment to write every day, try to think of your writing time as a special treat that you’re giving yourself. Maybe pair your writing time with a favorite beverage or snack. If you start to think of it as a chore, you’re heading in the wrong direction.

Method 4
Making Each Entry Interesting

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    Add details to your diary entries. The more details you can add to each day’s entry, the more interesting it will be to read -- and to write! If you’re writing about the events of the day, for example, include who you saw, where you were, what you were doing there.[14]
    • Think about adding sensory information to really make your diary entry realistic. What did you smell? What was the light like? What did you hear during the situation you’re writing about? Was your body cold, or hot? All of these details can be interesting to consider.
    • If you were outside, think about what details you noticed that let you know what time of day it was, or what the season was like. For example, you might include the jonquils that hadn’t yet started to bloom, and the frost melting on the grass.
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    Write a title for each diary entry. Not only can writing a title to summarize your main point of each entry be interesting, but this practice will help you should you want to come back to your diary for information later. The title can be short, only a few words, and summarize the main gist of your entry.
    • For example, you might write: Clarke Family Reunion, Day One. Battlefield, Tennessee. If you’re processing your feelings following a breakup, your title might be the date, and a short descriptive phrase, such as “Feeling lonely, but called a friend.”
    • If you’re writing a travel diary, the title might be the date, and location you’re writing. For example, May 13, 2015. Copenhagen. Fish Market.
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    Think about including a “Table of Contents.” If you’re writing in a paper notebook, set aside several pages at the beginning in order to insert a “Table of Contents” as you go. If you’ve included a list of titles for your entries, you can then go back through and write down the titles and page numbers for easy referencing.[15]
    • Diaries may just be a way to process your feelings in the present moment, but you may want to go back to them in the future to refresh your memory on what your life was like.
    • Number each page as you go, if the pages don’t already have numbers.
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    Consider writing for an “ideal reader.” You may not ever plan to have your diary read, or you may be blogging online under a pseudonym. No matter what format you’re using for your diary, it can help your writing be more interesting if you’re focused on writing for an ideal reader. After all, think about how much more interesting it is to tell a story to a receptive friend than it is to repeat it to an empty room.[16]
    • Some people write diaries imagining their children may read them years in the future. If this is the case for you, what details would you want to be sure and include?
    • Sometimes the ideal reader is someone much like yourself, who may have the same hardships, struggles, and successes that you do. If that’s true, then you might want to include periodic affirmations as a way to encourage your reader (and yourself!)
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    Use writing prompts. If you’re stuck for ideas about what to write in your diary, try looking at a list of writing prompts. You might want to write about the past: What was your younger self like? Where did you go to grade school? Who was your best friend, and what was that friend like? What did you do together? Try writing a letter to yourself as a younger person.[17]
    • You might write about the future. For example, what do you think your life might be like in 5, 10, or 15 years? What do you hope will be different? Are there parts of your life that you hope remain the same? Writing letters to future children or grandchildren can be an interesting topic to write about in your diary.
    • Be imaginative and creative. Writing about your special superpower (real or imagined!) or imagining your ideal mate can be quite entertaining, but also useful in learning more about yourself.

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Categories: Diary and Secrets