Writing down your thoughts every day seems like a pretty simple commitment to stick to, but for some people, the act of keeping a daily diary is a bit more complicated. There’s no doubt that writing in a diary yields a range of benefits. In fact, journaling can help you process and heal old wounds, alleviate anxiety, and provide you a protected space in which to unleash incoherent ramblings that aren’t subjected to traditional grammar rules or judgment from other people.
With all that said, why don’t more people grab a diary and just start writing already? Maybe it’s because they’re too busy, too afraid to face their own thoughts or prefer the appearance of a neatly typed out document over their scraggly, illegible handwriting.
But since there are more benefits that come from writing stuff down than pecking away on a keyboard, here are seven tips to help you actually keep a daily diary.
1Embrace keeping a diary as a form of self-care.
We all struggle with fitting one thing or another into our schedules. That’s never going to change. Successfully making time for something boils down to one thing: making it a priority. But if we can see how something truly benefits us, there’s a bit more of an incentive for us to make space for it.
Instead of viewing your diary as just another burdensome task on your increasingly long to-do list, try to see it from a different perspective. Don’t treat it like a chore — embrace it as a form of self-care that helps you track personal progress, sort out your feelings, or de-stress by blowing off steam.
2Schedule time to write.
After you’ve managed to prioritize keeping a daily diary, block off time in your schedule where you do nothing but write. Once you’ve set the appointment with your personal inanimate therapist to jot down your innermost thoughts, be sure to keep it.
3Purchase a diary that stimulates you.
When it comes to finding the best diary, the possibilities are endless: leather-bound diaries with textured covers, those with gold-lined pages, brightly colored books or journals filled with inspirational quotes. Check out Etsy, discount stores, or your local bookstore for a diary that’s too pretty to ignore.
4Find a good pen.
There’s something inexplicably satisfying about writing with a smooth pen. It just feels so good. Remember when you used to get so excited about getting a pack of new Lisa Frank pens? Well, it’s basically like that except you’re a grownup now so you’re probably have to worry slightly less about your classmates “borrowing” them and never returning them.
So, go ahead and invest in a writing utensil that ~glides~ across the page. You’ll be surprised at how a nice pen helps you become much more enthusiastic about documenting your thoughts on a regular basis.
5Give yourself a time limit.
With all other commitments you have, we understand how keeping a diary can easily fall by the wayside. After all, there are tweets to be sent and pics to be shared on Instagram. However, if you set a time limit for writing, you’re more likely to keep it up and maybe even exceed it.
6Do it first thing in the morning.
Research shows that morning writing can offer the same benefits as meditation. It can help you calm your mind, organize thoughts, and get rid of any angst associated with starting your day.
If you’re just not a morning person, you can move your daily writing sessions to the afternoon or update your journal during your nightly wind-down.
7Don’t censor, edit, or judge yourself.
Try not to get hung up on perfection. Your diary maybe the one place where you shouldn’t succumb to pressure to tame the most authentic parts of yourself. Don’t judge your thoughts; just let them flow, even if they feel inconsequential at the moment.
We’re rarely allowed or encouraged to fully express all the parts of ourselves, whether it’s on the job, interacting on social media, or even with our friends. So take this chance to explore your vulnerable side on paper, especially things that may feel too dark, painful, or embarrassing to share with another person.
If you find a way to treat your diary as a sacred medium for unleashing stifled energy and nurturing yourself, writing every day will start to feel less like an obligation and more like something you actually enjoy and look forward to doing.