How to Start a Diary or Personal Journal

What to Write

Any time you are not sure what to write or just can’t seem to get started – read back your last post to the journal and comment on it. Did you meet any goals, achieve something or did the day you expected turn out completely different from what you had written?

Write with Pen and Paper

Take a break from the computer, sit in a different chair and use a different table when you write your journal. Buy yourself a paper notebook with blank pages for you to fill. Pick a pen with a nice flow and even a pretty colour of ink to write with. (Blue ink can be pretty – there are all kinds of shades of blue ink in pens once you try out a few of them).

There are endless books created to be journals. You can go to a book store and look at a display full of them. Pick something appealing to you. While you’re there pick out a bookmark too. Not that you really need one but it’s nice to have something to mark the page you last wrote and the new one where you will write again.

There is a nice feeling when you actually write with a pen on paper. Plus you will be practising your penmanship. keeping cursive writing alive and working through writer’s cramp rather than losing those muscles and that hand dexterity.

Writing Every Day, or Not

There are those who believe a journal or diary must be written in every day. That’s a lot to stick with. I know from my own experience how tough it is to stick with a schedule/ plan like that.

However, writing everyday does give you writing discipline. You can get into the habit of writing each day and then it does become easier. You will even find yourself composing your daily journal entry as you get up in the morning, on the drive into work or while you’re doing something routine like brushing your teeth. Then all you need to do is sit down long enough to write it all out.

Putting thoughts on paper is a great way to sort out all the stuff going on in your head. We think about so many things, get so many ideas and plans and then poof, they’re gone as we get busy with something else. Keeping a daily diary is a good way to keep track, solidify, and give more respect to your ideas, thoughts and plans.

As you sort out and give some real space to everything in your head you will find your mind become a little better at organizing everything going on in there. You can define your thoughts as you have to work out just what they are and how they could work in order to put them on paper.

Of course, there is no law saying you have to write in your journal or diary every day. So don’t take it so seriously you end up not writing at all because you feel you haven’t done enough with keeping the journal. It’s there, waiting for you, when ever you come back for it. A journal is just a notebook, a collection of pages, it doesn’t blame you or want you to feel obligated to it.

To Edit or Not to Edit

This is such a tricky thing. I did go back and edit some of my old diary posts. I regret it and yet, those edits are part of the history of my diaries now too. I still feel I should have just left them as I originally wrote them, however. I can never go back in time and be the person I was at the time I wrote them. It seems just a bit snarky to criticize or correct myself in any way.

Of course, some of what I wrote were not so much edits as comments based on how things turned out as time went by. The comments are pretty cool really. Now, even more time has gone by and I have yet another perspective on both the original post and the comments I made on it somewhere in between then and now.

One of the good things about keeping a journal/ diary on paper is that you can’t so easily delete your old posts. Online you can make a quick decision to edit or delete something and it will be lost and gone forever.

Extra Tips for Diary/ Journal Writing

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