Typical response, right? When I think of diaries, I think of locks, keys, disguises and hiding places that are all meant to keep out the impostors who might traipse into intimate thoughts and feelings not meant for them to read. I’ve had my share of diary drama over the years, so I know a little something about what you should know when you keep a diary or journal.

Three cardinal rules of journal/diary keeping

  1. Don’t write about anything you wouldn’t want someone else to read. While it’s your journal and private and no one may ever read it, always write thinking that one day, someone could read it. Think of it this way, if you ever become famous for any reason, would you want someone to know once heart felt and secret details of your junior high or high school crushes? Probably not. Don’t use fake names or try to be tricky. Odds are the reader could figure it out (even if it takes a little wikipedia reasearch on your future famous bio page). Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want someone else to make public.
  2. Don’t write anything about anyone that you wouldn’t tell them to their face. Similar to the rule one, rule two protects you from embarrassing yourself later with information you didn’t mean to get out in the public eye. Regardless of how you feel about the person you’re writing about (you like them or don’t like them), words can hurt—them and you.
  3. Never write when you’re upset. Upset sad?—don’t write. Upset mad?—don’t write. Upset you’re-not-sure-what’s-wrong-but-you-just-feel-upset—don’t write. You run the risk of  hurting someone’s feelings whom you would never want to hurt otherwise. Humans vocalize a lot of things they don’t mean when they’re in a less than sunny disposition. You’ll put down more than that on paper if you’re writing when upset.

If you think these rules limit you to the weather and what your cat did in the afternoon, think again. You are an interesting person and there are fascinating events going on all around you. Look for the little moments that mean something to you and write about why they are meaningful. Did you learn something important that one day may help your kids? Write about it. Anything of interest in national or world news today? Record it and your position on it. Your diary is a place where you can go back and remember what your life was like 1, 5 or even 10 years ago. Have fun with it. Make it yours. Follow the rules.

Photo of Autumn Spice Journal from cepratt.etsy.com