a plain notebook or journal with small pink flowers sticking out of it. the image reminds me of a diary of a girl

How to Start a Diary

Ever want to vent but equally not let everyone know your thoughts? Ever want to express your happiness but felt like no one would care about that particular topic? Then you need a diary. Not only will you be able to say things you can’t say out loud, but the practice of writing in a diary allows you to enhance your mind, process your emotions and reduce stress.  In this post, we will talk all about how to start a diary to reflect, recharge and create a better life for yourself.


What is a Diary?

A diary is a book of records. It is a way to log your everyday life. The original idea was to have a daily log, and in some places a diary actually is your daily planner

The current idea of a diary is seen as a cutesy, cozy, cuddly (maybe even YA) book or sometimes as books of mystery and full of secrets.  It certainly can be any of that but what to put in a diary is totally up to you.

A diary allows you to record your observations, mood, experiences, experiments, adventures, secrets, and more. You can choose your exact frequency and inclusions for your diary.  

Do you see how starting a diary overlaps the ideas of starting a journal?  

video instruction on how to start a diary

The Diary vs. Journal Discussion

We could go back and forth for days listing the similarities and differences of a journal and if you should keep a diary vs. journal. A journal records your journey while a diary is more about your thoughts and feelings about events or persons. You could see it as a diary reads like a biography or an autobiography while a journal reads like an adventure or travel guide.

No matter which term you choose to use, you can write whatever you wish or in whatever style you prefer. You can buy a notebook labeled as a journal and write in it diary-style. You could buy a cutesy notebook with a lock, labeled as a diary and record research or make lists. What’s written is what matters and that’s up to the person writing in it.

a page from an unlined journal that reads "and so the adventure begins"

What Type of Person Keeps a Diary?

The type of person who keeps a diary is called a diarist.  This person, a diarist, is someone who wants to remember, process and express life fully.  A diarist wants to keep track of thoughts, plans, goals, failures, and hopes. They may also be the type of person who likes to remember silly jokes and situations, favorite books and authors, movies and actors.  

Why Everyone Should Keep a Diary

There are specific wellness benefits to keeping a diary or a journal.  But I’ll give you a cliff notes version.  Writing reduces your stress, increases your writing skills, builds your confidence and your memory!  For the full version of the benefits of journaling you can visit that post right after this one.

What Should I Write in My Diary?   

Now you are convinced that keeping a diary is a great idea but you need things to put in your diary.  

The thing is, what to say in a diary can be problematic for some. Although starting a diary is super flexible and can be really any method or idea you’d like, this also is what makes it so annoying! 

It’s too wide open. 

Which, in the case of writing, makes many people’s brains (mine included) go blank. So I’ve created some posts to give you some ideas (plus I’ll list some specific ideas below).


Incredibly Simple Journaling Prompts for Beginners

50 Fun and Creative Ways to Fill Your Empty Notebook: Quick Reference for Busy Moms

Cute Things to Do with a Notebook: 19 Unique Ideas

More Ideas of What to Say in a Diary

Tell about your day

  • Your routine
  • Details of what you did and why
  • Who you talked to

Write what you are frustrated about

  • Frustrations about your parents, siblings, spouse, or kids
  • Work or School
  • Frustrations with life, purpose, pain, the past

Things that you look forward to

  • Bucket lists
  • Summer vacation plans
  • To-do lists for after baby is born and you recover

Fanatical ideas

  • Favorite music group or singer and everything you know about them
  • How you would rewrite the script of a favorite movie or tv show
  • Everything that happened in a book, anime, or on game night

How to Start Off a Diary: First Page Ideas

How to start a diary’s first page is troublesome, especially if you are the creative type. Since your diary is so personal, it can be hard knowing how to design the introduction to your life. But be assured, what to write in a diary to start doesn’t have to be difficult.  

Personal Diary First Page Ideas

  • Draw and design a title page 
  • Sticker page
  • List your favorite people
  • List all of your favorites
  • Draw the year in large numbers
  • Write “The Diary belongs to:” along with your name in cursive
  • Write a warning like “Keep Out!” or “Property of ___. No Peeping Allowed”
  • Profile of yourself (name, birthdate, address, the school you attend, etc.)
a lady writing and doodling for inspiration of cute things to do with a notebook

How to Start a Diary Entry

How to start off a diary entry is pretty simple. Most people start like they would a letter with the date and a greeting. You can do both or just one.

I used to start with Dear Diary, Dear Di, and Dear Journal. That became just the date and then I jumped into the entry (or letter). Nowadays, there are times when I don’t even write the date, I’ll just start writing the entry.

If you can’t just jump right into the conversation you can do some lead-ins. You can write what the weather is like at the moment, or that today was a school day, today was a weekend day. You can describe what you are wearing or what other people in your house are doing. Anything to get you started.

Other Ideas on How to Start a Diary (Types of Diaries)

Mom Diary Ideas: What to write in a mom’s diary

I know many of us on my blog are moms, so what do you write in your diary?  You can write about things that stress you or, better, you can write about the joys of motherhood.  If you’d like some specific prompts, here are 365 journal prompts for moms.

Cute Diary Ideas: What can we write in a cute diary?

You can write all kinds of fantastic things to make a cute diary.  A cute diary can include stickers, and info about your favorite cartoons, actors, singers, kpop idol, etc. You can draw cute pictures, print cute clip art or design the pages using calligraphy so you can leave jokes, quotes, or other fun messages. Get started with these cute journal pages!

Girl Diary Ideas: What girls should write in a diary?

Girls can start using a diary as soon as they can draw! No words required. But if you’d like to add words, you can write about friends at school, characters on a show you like, or make up a story of your own. You should always include whatever is important to you because it’s fun to go back and read it later.

Secret Diary Ideas: What to write in your secret diary

How do you write a secret in a diary? Easy. You need to write things that you don’t want everyone know to, like about your first love, your deepest feelings about other people, or where you keep your secret treasure. Other ideas include your plans for the future, things no one knows about you (or someone else!), and creating secret codes.

Video Diary Ideas: How to start a video diary

A video diary, obviously, is different from writing in a diary, but I still have some ideas for you if do better visually. Create a video daily diary, like the day in the life (DITL) videos on youtube. You can video record a trip, so it’s like a trip diary. You can record yourself once a day at the same time a day to tell your thoughts, leave a message of inspiration or talk about that day’s outfit and/or jewelry choices. You can share your diary on a video or social platform or have it just for you.

Daily Diary Ideas: How to start writing a daily diary  

Okay, knowing what to write in a diary every day won’t come naturally to you unless you love writing or get into the habit of writing. But keep in mind, not everyone can keep the pace of daily diary writing. If you think you have what it takes, here are a few ideas to get you going in the right direction.

  • Write the same time every day. It may be time to try morning journaling.
  • Start a Habit Stack
  • Use journaling prompts when you get stuck
  • Have fun! If you do it because it’s fun, you’ll more likely keep doing it.

Want More Interesting Things to Write in a Diary?

How to start a diary isn’t hard, there are tons of ways and there is no need to get stuck. There are many things you can do to fill your empty diary pages.  Your diary is like a canvas for your life and you can express all your emotions, de-stress, and clarify your goals.

If you ever run out of ideas you can use prompts or check out ways to fill a notebook.

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  1. It has always been a task for me to write my experiences and events in my life down. Thanks for reminding me and sharing this guideline.