How To Write a Diary Entry (with Clear Examples)

A proper diary entry is important in the long-term. The examples, formatting, and suggestions in this post will help you get a clear idea of keeping a personal diary

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Diary entries can be more than a personal record of the day’s events or rants of how you feel after an argument with your BFF. They can also be a safehouse for unpeeling the layers of your psyche. With consistent practice, your diary entry can reveal your deeper self, help you brainstorm grand ideas, and make you better understand the people around you.

In this article, we’ll explore a typical diary entry, including its necessary components and practical tips for raising its sentimental – or, perhaps, monetary – value. We’ll then share a couple of basic examples. By the end, you’ll be ready to get started on your own unique memoirs.

Why Are Diaries So Important?

It’s relatively easy for our minds to recall big, momentous occasions. But less significant moments? Eh, they quickly become foggy and distant, don’t they? So, recording these no less critical events can help cement them in our minds, making them easier to recall with better clarity.

Also, we all change as we grow. A diary is an excellent tool for self-reflection and provides us with deep insight into how far we’ve come or whether more improvement is in order.

Moreover, diaries can help us explore our emotions and reactions to events with objectivity. This can turn into a potent tool for warding off negative thinking and feelings. Of course, it could simply make for a great vent-sesh to get things off our chest and reduce stress.

What Is a Diary Entry?

A diary entry is one record among an archive of the daily events you have personally experienced. Emphasis on “daily”. It’s a habitual safe space for you to reflect, create, and dream.

Diary entries don’t demand elaborate linguistics or godly handwriting (if you’re into better handwriting, check this article out). But aim to keep your words real and meaningful.

Diaries are incredibly personal, so they should be stored safely. However, in an era when you may be long gone, your diary could very well become an accurate historical record of your time. A sterling example of how historically significant a personal diary can be is The Diary of Anne Frank. Anne likely didn’t even dream of her musings becoming a vital record of such a dark time in human history as she was crafting each entry.

Benefits of Keeping a Diary

There are reasons aplenty for making regular diary entries. But here are a few to consider and spur you to start your very own.

Diaries help to maintain an accurate record of timelines and events in your life. When you achieve fame and fortune, your diary will be an invaluable tool you can refer to when writing your autobiography. But for the rest of us average Joes, it could make for great bonding time with loved ones (or with oneself) over some drinks years down the road.

A diary helps you to explore and get to know yourself in greater depth. Knowing yourself will help you step outside your comfort zone, overcome life’s many challenges, and achieve your goals.

Your diary encourages complete transparency of your thoughts and feelings. If you want to understand why you reacted to an event a certain way, or why you feel this way, a diary is an unbiased confidant. Consider this:

We all need to vent on occasion. But it’s not always appropriate to do so in public, or even with close ones. Your diary is a private haven for you to unleash these sour feelings without undesirable consequences. Plus, there is concrete evidence that writing stuff down can make you feel genuinely better.

A hidden bookshelf leads to a secret vault, illustrating the secretive aspects of a proper diary format
Your diary entry could be likened to a vault, with you as its sole access. So be candid with your words

Creating regular diary entries will improve your communication skills. And we mean the full spectrum of communication! Besides your writing abilities, you’ll eventually realize an enhancement in speaking, listening, and brainstorming. From a practical point of view, which of these traits aren’t highly desirable in today’s competitive job market?

Yes, There’s a Proper Diary Entry Format

Before my inner academic snob rubs you the wrong way, remember that diaries are personal. So there is NO right or wrong way to create a diary entry. Nobody’s judging you on this (unless you’re writing solely for a mark in school; in that case, rules, rules, RULES!).

However, sticking to a “conventional” format will keep your journal more organized and easier to reference. So, here’s how to structure your diary entry – for the benefit of all mankind.

1. The Date & Time Are Crucial

Some people like to be exact and record the precise time, up to the minute. Others are more general, opting to pin just the day, month, and year. You’ve got leeway in personal preference, but within good sense, of course.

Consider these hypothetical scenarios. If the love of your life proposed to you (or vice versa), followed by a resolute “YES!”, jot down the very exact time it happened in your diary. If you’re on an annual family camping trip, maybe the date, or even week, would suffice.

2. Address Your Diary

Most people go with “Dear Diary” because that’s what we’re taught to do. And that’s fine. But you can use whatever alias you like, such as Kenneth or Brenda. Actually, Anne Frank referred to her diary as Kitty.

Doing this has a psychological impact on you, the writer. By attaching a title, name, or alias to your diary, your mind personifies it. This leads to more heartfelt expressions.

3. Start Off With a Heading or Sentence That Sums Up Your Thoughts

Again, no hard and fast rules here. But try to say as much as you can with less. Be concise. This portion is amazingly useful for future reference when either you or others need to search for something significant.

4. Continue With Your Long-form Entry

Unload the burden! You can record your feelings and observations. Or you can state facts. Ruminate on these and try to offer some hindsight or future self-advice. The bottom line is: make it real and make it meaningful.

You can even save certain thoughts for a specific section. Some diary keepers like to include areas at the end of each entry for specifically recording how they felt or what they were grateful for.

One last tip. You’re recording stuff that’s happened to you or emotions that have been felt by you, so a first-person narrative makes the most sense. That said, write however you’d like, in whatever style you’d prefer. Feel free to also include doodles or artwork if you’re the creative type. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Diary Entry Examples

Now that we have the theory of how diary entries work, a couple of examples should drive the points home. Check these out:

Example 1: I Think I’ve Found My Soulmate!

Dear Diary,

I think I’ve found my soulmate!

Josh came to visit today, and I’m so happy that he did. He brought me another bunch of gorgeous flowers. Mom was furious and said she wished Josh would stop ruining her flower garden. But hey, it’s the thought that counts. I think he might be the one.

Feeling: Over the friggin moon!!!

Grateful for: THE LOVE!!!!!!

Example 2: Welcome to the First Day of Lockdown

To RML,

Hey, welcome to the first day of lockdown…

I’m so glad dad stocked up on toilet paper now that we’re all locked down for the next 2 weeks because of this pandemic. Wild times.

The store shelves are empty, and it’s actually starting to terrify me to think of what might happen if we ran out of TP while we’re all in lockdown. I guess this is the nature of the fight in our time.

I must admit this is all making me feel stir crazy. I suppose now is the time to try that positive thinking advice and conjure up sunshine and flowers. Here goes nothing…

I’m grateful for more time to study for the big Bio exam. I’ve squandered what was originally given, anyway. Oh, yeah – thank goodness for more toilet paper.

UPDATE: We got a chance to shop once more because mom had to have her Netflix snack. Chocolate chip cookies. Yay! I can’t wait for episode 5 of Obi Wan.

Fun, insightful reads, no? Even if these examples may never be exposed by their imaginary writers, they’ll age on the page like fine wine. So get started on your own diary! One day, your accumulated stories will become a precious treasure, whether to you personally or to others.

Leo Cai

Leo Cai

Leo Cai, the one solely responsible for the inception of this Mickey Mouse operation, has at least garnered the acceptance of Casey Cai - his wife. He used to view himself as an avid writer back in high school, with grandiose dreams of making a living using words. That never culminated because, as he himself puts it, "It's more practical to stock bakery shelves while striving to become a professional photographer".

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About Us

We’re Leo & Casey Cai, and Journaling Diaries is our outlet for sharing what we’re learning from the lightweight, nearly disaster-proof hobby of journaling. So far, we’ve found that journaling isn’t merely a shameful tool for hard times or a poor memory. It’s enriching & fun. Whatever, whichever, however – as long as it involves journaling – we’ll be covering it all here. Thanks for stopping by!

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