Writing a diary entry is made simple by using the following steps. This post is an extract from my new spelling workbook ‘Writing with Stardust’ now on Amazon. I hope it clarifies all the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s’ of a diary entry.
TEACHING A DIARY ENTRY
The diary is your dog. This is a controversial statement, but it is true. A dog is your best friend. You can tell him your innermost secrets, your darkest fears and your most precious hopes for the future. Unlike some humans, he will never betray you by telling someone else. That is why you should tell your diary everything. Treat the diary the same as a conversation that you would have with a dog about the day just gone. Use the K.I.S.S philosophy also-Keep It Simple, Silly! There is no need to use big, awkward words as you probably wouldn’t put them in your own diary. Underneath is a list of ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’t’s’.
|Do use the past tense mostly. It’s a mini-memoir of the day just gone.||Don’t use the present tense unless you are at your desk writing a diary entry.|
|Do use short sentences. You are writing to yourself.||Don’t complicate the syntax, the sentence construction, with long sentences.|
|Do explore as many emotions as the day just gone requires.||Don’t just rattle off emotions in a list. Explain why you felt as you did.|
|Do use train-of-thought. This means write it as you felt it.||Don’t ramble or use too much formal language. Keep it simple, silly.|
|Do use the diary as a self-exorcism of sorts. Use the diary to get things off your chest.||Don’t use excessively emotional language unless the situation warranted it.|
|Do mention features of nature that you encountered, but don’t over-indulge.||Don’t use too much omniscient (descriptive) language. A diary doesn’t want to know.|
|Do use humour as a writing technique that everyone can enjoy.||Don’t put in too many big words (grandiloquent language).|
|Do use rhetorical questions that can only be answered by you. It varies the writing style.||Don’t over punctuate, put in quotation marks or direct speech. It is not a novel.|
|Do use the future tense at the end of the diary entry. Look forward with joy or dread to tomorrow.||Don’t use the past continuous tense where possible (i.e. I was walking). I walked is fine. It will trip you up if you try it.|
|Do remember to ‘sign in’ with Dear diary and ‘sign off’ however you please.||Don’t forget to sign off! ‘Bye for now or ‘Till tomorrow is fine.|
There really is no such thing as different levels of language in a diary entry. There are merely different patterns of thought and structure. By employing techniques such as humour and rhetorical questions, a student can have a very engaging and enjoyable diary. If a student is asked to write the diary of James Joyce, there is an argument to be made for flowery, ornate language. Otherwise, it should be more like Forrest Gump; short on verbosity, but packed with emotion! The next page includes a sample diary entry of a student going on a school trip to a forest; a real one, not a Gump! The emotions are in bold and the rest of the diary should be finished by the students in simple language. The educator should also make out a grid of emotions based on the student’s level of ability. The categories could be: happy emotions, sad emotions, overjoyed emotions, angry emotions and self-confident emotions etc.
DIARY ENTRY FOR A FOREST OUTING
Why oh why does the world hate me so? My English teacher told us yesterday not to use big words when writing a diary but what does he know about catastrophe? Has he seen the end of the world like I have seen it, the end of days? Stupid forest. Stupid bees and stupid teachers. Look at my face. I feel horrified.
The shame of it is that I was enjoying myself. We pulled up on the bus and I have to admit it was beautiful. It was a leafy paradise with ferns like something out of a Tolkein novel. The birds were carolling, the bees (those damned bees!) were humming like hairdryers and everyone was excited. Even my stony heart was happy for a short time. I knew it couldn’t last though. Billy No-Mates was given special permission by the principal to come on this trip. Even his mother doesn’t leave him outside. How in the name of god did the principal think it would work out? You know how he is, diary. I might have mentioned him before. Serial killer eyes, his knuckles scrape the ground when he walks and he has a mad cackle instead of a laugh. He disgusts me because he’s a bully.
What he did to us with that bees nest was shameful…..
A diary is a private place where you can keep your thoughts, feelings and opinions on everything from work to school and everywhere in between. There are all different types of diaries, like food diaries, health diaries or academic diaries. But your diary doesn’t have to be specific if you don’t want it to be, it can also just be a place where you write about whatever you want. If you’re just getting started, maybe you haven’t decided what you want to write about, and that’s fine. That is what we are here for – to help you with all those moments of writer’s block you may be having. Our tips can help guide you and inspire you. Let’s begin!
How to Start a Diary
To start a diary, all you need is a willingness to write. Start by figuring out what you want to write in your journal. If you aren’t sure, simply start writing and see where that leads. It can also be useful to set a time limit in your early writing sessions. Set an alarm for 10 to 20 minutes and start writing.
Keeping a diary is a great way to record your growth and personal development. More entries will allow you to look back and see what has changed over time. The earlier you start, the more grateful you will be later on.
8 Tips When Starting a Diary
Writing can be hard and getting started is usually the hardest part. If you feel like you don’t know how to write a diary entry, don’t stress over it. You can start writing about anything. You can even write about how you can’t think of anything to write. Once you start getting words out, they will start to flow naturally.
1. Decide to write
First, you need to decide you want to start a diary. Once you have decided you want to dedicate time to creating a diary, starting one will be easy.
2. Decide what to write
This is definitely the hardest part when writing a diary, but it is probably the most important. If you want your diary to be specific, decide what topic you would like to discuss during your entries. You can create multiple diaries for different topics, or just have one diary that has everything. Generally, diaries are personal and private thoughts, but they can also be a great way to keep track of personal musings on anything you would like:
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but if you would rather keep your diary more general, it is totally up to you!
3. Create a schedule
Starting a diary requires that you write in it frequently, but it is up to you to decide how frequently you want to write in it. Whether it be once a day or once a week, create a schedule that you can adhere to. The more you can make writing in your diary a part of your routine, the more comprehensive and helpful a practice it will become.
When you have decided what you want write in your diary, decide on a writing schedule that is appropriate for the topic. For example, if you want your diary to be general, maybe you want to decide to write in it at a certain time everyday, like right before you go to bed. If you want your writings to be more specific, like about food, maybe you will write in it every time you cook or find a new recipe. Make your schedule work for you and your topic.
4. Set a time limit
It is easy to get carried away and write too much when diary writing. A way to stay concise and on track is to set a time limit for your writing. Depending on how much you want to write, set a time limit that reflects that. Somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour is ideal. If you feel like you want to spend more time than that, feel free.
5. Date your entries
The great thing about a diary is that you are able to look back through it and see how you have progressed over time. It is important to date every entry you write. Luckily, Penzu dates your entries automatically.
6. Create an introductory entry
For your first diary entry, try to write an introduction to what your diary will be about. Introduce yourself, what things interest you, what you think it important and what you want this dairy to be about. Open up and be yourself.
7. Act like you’re writing to a trusted friend
Wondering how to write a diary entry? The best way to write is as if you’re talking to your best friend. This is your personal diary, for your eyes only, so you should feel comfortable writing as if you’re talking to a trusted companion. As cliché as “Dear Diary” may sound, it can really lead you in the write direction in terms of the tone you should be writing in. The goal of a diary is to discuss things honestly and candidly, as if you were talking through them with a best friend or family member.
8. Have fun!
Writing in your diary should never be a chore or a burden, so remember to have fun with it. It can be a place of solace, a place of creativity, a place of reflection, a place where your thoughts can roam free. When starting a diary, make sure you are writing about things you care about and are passionate about because. As long as you enjoy what you’re writing and the process of it, you will never miss an entry!
Writing Diary Entries
Diary entries can be long. They can be short. They can be specific. They can be broad. Whatever type of diary you decide to write should relate to the entries within it.
Your diary entries should be shorter narratives, and here are 8 tips to consider when writing entries:
1. Brainstorm what you’re going to write about
Take a few minutes before you begin writing to decide what you’re entry is going to be about. Hopefully you have already decided what your diary is about, so dig a bit deeper into the topic or topics you have decided to focus on and get specific.
2. Ask yourself questions
To get yourself writing, ask yourself questions:
- What did you learn today?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What do you want to fix?
- How are you feeling?
These can relate to your general life, or specific parts of it, but turn inward and ask yourself things.
3. Write down your answers
Your diary entry can be your answers to the questions you have asked yourself. This is a great way to get writing when you don’t know what to write about.
4. Pick a format
Your entries can be in all different types of formats, depending on what you’re writing about. Maybe you are making a list of things you want to accomplish in your future. Maybe you’re writing about a conversation you had, or wish you had. Maybe your entry is just bullet points of thought you have had that day. Some people prefer writing in short notes, others like writing in detailed paragraphs. Decide what you enjoy most and go for it.
5. Make them different
Try and have a variety of different entries, so you don’t get bored. You may be writing about a certain type of topic, but you never want to write the same entry. Differentiating your entries will also highlight progresses you’ve made and things you have learned.
6. Don’t be hard on yourself while you’re writing
Your diary is a judgement-free zone, so don’t feel like they need to be perfect. Let the words flow.
7. Keep your thoughts in order
Your entries date themselves, so you know when you write what, but also try and keep your thoughts in order. Your diary will become a journey as you add more entries, try to keep the narrative something you can follow. For example, try to write about events in the sequence they happened. Avoid jumping around.
8. Get your creative juices flowing
Your entries don’t just have to be words, Penzu also let’s you add pictures. Adding some visuals to your entries will add some colourful and vibrant reminders.
To Write a Diary Entry with Penzu
Penzu offers easy-to-use diary software, so you can create a digital diary that can be accessed anywhere.
- Go to Penzu.com to create a free account.
- Create a login and password you will easily remember.
- Design your online diary to reflect your personality and your diary’s topic.
- Give your journal a meaningful name.
- Adjust your privacy setting to suit your preferences.
- Choose ‘New Entry’ and begin writing!
Tips for New Journal Writers
Is this your first time keeping a diary? Don’t worry. There is a first time for everything. Here are some things to help you get the ball rolling:
Look forward to starting a diary. It is both a fun and productive habit.
Reflect on yourself, the people around you and what you believe is most important. Once you look back, then you can move forward.
Unstructured writing is probably the best way to start writing. Once you get into the habit of keeping a diary, you will then feel more comfortable with structure.
Keys To Successfully Writing a Diary
A diary is a personal journey and should not be compared to any other writings, but here are a few way you can get the most out of your experience.
Your diary is for your eyes only, so be honest with yourself. Don’t hide anything or hold back.
The more often you write, the better.
Don’t try to write a certain way, just be yourself.
Like we said in the beginning, the earlier you start keeping a diary, the more grateful you will be later on, so sign-up with Penzu today!