Journals and Diaries: Ideas for Keeping it Fun!

I have been keeping a daily journal for about sixteen years now, and I love doing it.  One of the things that keeps me at it is using variety in my journal-keeping methods.  Here are some examples:

Traditional Methods

1. Keep a small pocket notebook with you wherever you go, and when an idea of something to mention in your journal comes to you, jot down a word or two that will remind you of the incident so you can write about it in your journal later.
2. Write a memory of something that happened long ago.  Remember that it probably won’t make a difference in the next generation if you wrote it the same day or years later.
3. Write about something funny that happened recently.
4. Write about something someone else did recently.

Creative Methods

1. Draw a cartoon, sketch, or simple painting of the event(s) of the day in your journal.  Write what the picture represents, and be sure to date it.
2. Have a picture, cartoon, or sketch on a large paper that you add to each day based on the events of the date.  As you create your work, make a key that shows what each item represents with the date the event occurred.  Don’t plan what you’ll draw tomorrow, but let the events of tomorrow decide what will be drawn when the events are done.
3. Write about your day in a poem.  It can be funny, dramatic, or whatever style you feel like at the time.
4. Write about your day in a novel format.  Pick out one or two specific events (the more specific, the easier it will be to use this method).  Include descriptions, dialog, feelings, and motions.
5. Keep a media/book log.  Whenever you see an interesting movie or read a good book, record your thoughts and feelings about it in a journal.  Do reviews of events, speeches, and concerts.
6. Keep a hobby journal.  Whatever you do as a hobby, record your progress.  Be specific.  Assume that the readers are just as interested in the subject as you are – perhaps more so.  Tell about projects, recorded times, and any insights you get about doing your particular hobby.
7. Write down some of your latest ideas – projects you want to work on, stuff you’d like to make or accomplish.  It can be anything from an idea you’ve had for the perfect paper airplane to your idea to start biking a mile a day.

Spiritual Methods

1. Every time you give or receive a blessing, tape-record it and transcribe it into your journal.  Do the same with talks you give, and even your testimony born in church.
2. Write your testimony in your journal.
3. Every time you read scriptures, record your thoughts and feelings in your journal.
4. Read old journals and comment on how the Lord has demonstrated His hand in your life.

Other Methods and Ideas

1. Keep your journal on the computer.  That way you can have an appendix in the endnotes or footnotes where you can include news-clips (available on news sites), e-mails, comments and replies from discussion boards.  If you have family members who have blogs or personal websites that are updated often, keep a copy of their blog entries in your journal.
2. Keep an audio journal.  Use a tape recorder, digital recorder, or camcorder to record yourself telling the events of the day.
3. Keep a journal for family members.  For each of your children, for your spouse, for your siblings or parents – record in your journal anything that you feel they could write in their own journal.
4. Put a copy of a photo or two in your journal.  If you’ve got a computerized journal, put all your photos into your journal if you want.
5. Put something representing whatever you did that day into your journal – a movie ticket, a receipt, a school assignment.  This works well if you do a scrapbook journal.
6. Clip from a newspaper, or copy off a news website, what is happening in the world.  If you feel like it, comment on it.
7. Make a book of people.  Everyone you ever meet, write them in the book, with whatever you know or most recently learned about them.
8. Tell about a dream you had recently.
9. Begin or continue a life history or family history.
10. Read old journal entries and comment on how you’ve changed – or how you haven’t.
11. Copy part of an ancestor’s history or journal into your journal.

Anyone have more ideas?  Leave a comment and tell us about them!

19 Replies to “Journals and Diaries: Ideas for Keeping it Fun!”

  1. These are fantastic ideas Chas! Thanks! An idea my sister had was to do a 365 journal. As motivation to take more photos, every day, no matter what, take at least one photo and then write a bit about that day. 🙂

  2. I really like your ideas. I had an idea: sometimes writing in a journal gets lonely, so if you gave it a name- say, Annie, and instead of writing ‘Dear journal’ at the beginning write ‘Hello Annie’ and tell “Annie” all about your life, like you would to a best friend. 🙂

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