A diary filled with handwriting lays open on a bed with white sheets next to a brown mug of milky coffee.

How To Start A Diary (In 6 Easy Steps)

If you’ve never kept a diary, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

What is there to write about, anyway? And how do you find time for a daily writing habit?

I’ve been journaling all my life and this is my ultimate step-by-step guide for absolute beginners who are overwhelmed by the idea of starting a diary. It includes all my tips and hacks – from years of writing experience.

Because it’s not always easy to kickstart a daily writing habit. And it’s not always easy to fill that first blank diary page.

But once you get writing, you’ll be amazed at the incredible benefits of journaling. It’s a life-changing habit that reduces your anxiety, helps you sleep better and enriches your life in countless other ways.

Here’s how to start a diary (in 6 easy steps):

1. Find your perfect diary

A journal lays open on a desk with a single yellow leaf on top of its pages. There are wooden bowls nearby and a white mug of dark tea.

There are many different types of diaries – from one-line-a-day journals to thick spiral notebooks to journaling apps that let you keep a diary on your smartphone.

What’s the best kind of diary for you?

Consider the diary size, portability and privacy features. Will you be writing in bed at night? Then select a thick journal you can hold easily in your lap. Are you too busy to commit to longform writing? Then try a pocket-sized notebook you can easily carry in your purse.

2. Paper or plastic?

Journaling apps are very convenient for writing on-the-go. But remember that the act of writing by hand has its own unique benefits to slowing down your thoughts and reducing anxiety. You can’t get the same kind of benefits from typing.

3. Create a writing habit

Consistency is key to creating a meaningful diary.

Set aside 5-10 minutes a day (in the morning, afternoon or evening) to write in your diary. And stick with it until diary writing becomes an unquestioned part of your daily routine.

Incorporate journaling into an already existing routine, like right before bed or during your morning coffee. This anchors your habit into your day and makes it easier to stay consistent.

4. Overcome the blank page

A diary lays on a table with a tall chair standing nearby.

A blank diary page can feel frustrating and overwhelming.

There will be days when your life feels too dull to write about. And other days when you’re too rushed to pick up a pen.

What are the best lines to begin a diary entry?

Try some journaling prompts to guide your writing and get your thoughts flowing.

Here are some prompts for daily use:

1. What is your biggest hope and your biggest worry right now?
2. Name something small that you’re very grateful for right now.
3. What was the biggest lesson you learned recently?

5. Make it fun

Make your diary a fun and personalized space that’s uniquely yours.

Fill your diary with doodles, stickers and scraps and mementos from your everyday life. Collect the random quotes, inspirations and ideas you catch from social media, Netflix and anything else you consume.

Make your diary engaging and creative – and you’ll be a lot more likely to enjoy the writing process.

6. Keep it private

Your diary will only be meaningful if you write openly and honestly.

Keep your diary to yourself and write for your eyes only. Don’t worry about composing the perfect essay or being eloquent for prosperity.

You diary is a tool for catharsis, not a perfect finished product.

How do I start writing a diary?

A woman's hand holding a pen and writing in a journal with a cup of coffee in the background.

From using journaling prompts to finding the best techniques that work for you, read 17 Powerful Journaling Tips For Beginners (And How To Start) for my ultimate guide.

How do I start the first page of a diary?

A diary lays open on a wooden desk next to a cup of coffee and a white vase with dried flowers.

There will always be days when your writing just doesn’t flow. Keep a ready list of journaling prompts inside your diary for inspiration. Read 72 Powerful Journal Prompts for Self Discovery (To Inspire You) for my ultimate list.

More resources:

51 Inspiring Quotes About Journaling (To Get You Writing!)

Nature Journaling: An Essential Guide (+8 Tips To Start)

47 Life-Changing Journaling Techniques (And How To Start)