How to Write a Diary Entry: 9 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health

this is a drawing of a Never Alone leather journal

How to write a diary entry

Diary entry examples

A diary entry is a section of writing that has been organized by date. Here’s a checklist of the key features to use when you write a diary entry.

  • Add the date
  • Always be honest to yourself
  • Talk about your feelings
  • Use creative writing if needed
  • Doodle
  • Draw
  • Bullet point

Here is How to Write a Diary Entry: 9 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health

A diary is a safe space for you to record and release anything that is on your mind, and it’s an effective way to take care of your mental health. Your diary belongs to you and you only, so you get to decide whatever goes into it. Whether it’s a thought, feeling, or even a doodle, a diary gives you the chance to express yourself openly, creatively, and honestly. When you open up your diary, whether or not it is your first time keeping one, sometimes looking at all those blank pages can be intimidating.

Writing a daily diary is also a great tool for your mental health growth. Adding this daily writing to your morning routine can make sure you get the most out of it every day.

If you don’t know how to write a diary entry, the following tips will help you learn the basics about creating a diary entry format and keeping at it day after day.

What is a diary entry?

A diary entry is a section of your diary that is organized and marked by the date. It can be as short or as long as you want it to be, and each day doesn’t have to be consistent. One day you might write a small paragraph about something you want to get off your chest, and the next night you might write a whole page about your day or something that happened.

9 tips on how to write a diary

Write your diary entry in the first person

The first step in learning how to write a diary entry is knowing what perspective to write from your own. You should write your entries in the first-person perspective since your diary is meant to be a personal record of your life and feelings.

The first-person perspective uses “I” statements–so, “Today, I went to…” or “I think that…”

Write about your current mood or feelings

One of the great things about keeping a diary is that you can pick it up any time. There is no right or wrong day or time of day, especially when you are experiencing feelings you want to write about and that you feel would benefit your mental health.

Don’t preoccupy yourself with all the right terms or labels. Instead, just describe how you are feeling in your own words. If you have more than one feeling or mood to explore, just take it one at a time. Connect to and understand your feelings or mood by writing down why or what happened that may have caused you to feel that way.

I turned these “how to write a diary entry” tips into a 9:23 YouTube video, in-case you learn better watching a video

Write about your day

You can write about your entire day or choose an event or highlight – perhaps there was something that happened that was out of the ordinary. Maybe you had an exciting or awkward encounter with someone, and you are experiencing some new feelings surrounding it that you want to identify or express. Or maybe you tried something new and just want to write about it because you are feeling excited! You can choose any or every detail of your day to put into your diary.

Address your diary

If you are struggling to come up with the words or how to write a diary entry, sometimes the simplest place to start is by writing, “Dear Diary.” It may help you to think of your diary more as a friend or non-judgmental listener. If it feels funny feeling like you are just talking to yourself, this is a great way to start each entry. It doesn’t even have to be “Diary” – you are free to choose any name!

Consider including other content in your diary entry

Your diary doesn’t have to be strictly your own writing. Many people benefit from including other content in their diary, such as favorite quotes or even pasted pictures which illustrate friends, family, things they saw, or simply images that inspire them. Including other content in your diary can help you to reflect on your life, find inspiration in others, or simply share something to be included for posterity.

Be honest

Your diary is a space to express anything that you need to without worrying about what anyone else thinks because nobody else will see it but you. Suppose you are experiencing some negative emotions or something you are not feeling very proud of, such as jealousy or anger. First of all, remember that those feelings are entirely normal, and writing in your diary is a chance to release them without any added guilt or shame. It is both healthy and necessary to your mental health to feel.

Don't worry about the actual words

It is easy to get caught up mid-sentence because you are unsure about spelling or grammar, but a diary is not about being perfect. Allow yourself to carry on because focusing too much attention on these trivial matters could make you lose your train of thought. Do not judge yourself for your handwriting, either. If this is something that bothers you, try to remember that this is the one place you can write as messy as you need to – the goal is to just keep going. You are writing from your heart and personal thoughts, and that is what matters.

Stick to a writing schedule

While we absolutely encourage you to pick up your diary anytime you need to; if you are just getting started, your diary might not be the first thing you turn to. Even if you are excited about it or like the idea of starting something new to help you express yourself and boost your mental health, if it is not a habit for you yet, then it can be easy to forget to do it.

What you can do to help make writing a diary entry part of your routine is choose a time of day that you feel works best for you. This could be first thing in the morning, the middle of the day, or before bedtime. Many people prefer writing before bedtime so they can talk about the day they had or let go of anxious thoughts. But it is all about choosing a time that’s best for you. Start with a 5 or 10-minute time slot and adjust from there if you regularly find yourself wanting to write more.

Whatever time you choose, make sure you have your diary nearby to help you remember and make it a habit. Keep it in on your nightstand or somewhere you can see it daily. Otherwise, if you are worried someone might find it, you may want to set a daily reminder on your phone and keep it somewhere private!

You may be feeling excited and ready now to begin and follow your new writing schedule, but at the end of the day, remember that you never have to force it. There may be a day where you simply do not feel like writing, and that’s okay! Taking care of your mental health is about listening to yourself

Read your diary entries after you're done

It might seem strange, but there’s actually several benefits to reading your diary entries after you’re done writing them. For one, you will get a stronger sense of your own writing style, which will help you continue to write effectively in the future. You will also be able to remember past events or thoughts as you read through the entries. Most importantly, though, you can get a sense of where you were–and where you are now. This can be especially beneficial if you are writing a diary in order to reap the mental health benefits.

Ready To Start Your Diary?

How did that go?

Let’s run over a few of the key points to take away so you can feel more confident the next time you go to write a diary entry – Hopefully right now!

How do you write a diary entry?

Here are 7 bullets to remember each time you sit down to write a diary entry

  • Date your entry
  • Fond a topic to focus around
  • Write for yourself
  • Be honest with what you put down
  • Talk about the good and the bad
  • Draw if you like
  • Use quotes

I would love to hear which of the 9 tips above stood out to you most, leave it in the comments below.

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