How to Write a Diary Entry   39 comments

Writing a diary entry is made simple by using the following steps. This post is an extract from my new spelling workbook ‘Writing with Stardust’ now on Amazon. I hope it clarifies all the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s’ of a diary entry.


The diary is your dog. This is a controversial statement, but it is true. A dog is your best friend. You can tell him your innermost secrets, your darkest fears and your most precious hopes for the future. Unlike some humans, he will never betray you by telling someone else. That is why you should tell your diary everything. Treat the diary the same as a conversation that you would have with a dog about the day just gone. Use the K.I.S.S philosophy also-Keep It Simple, Silly! There is no need to use big, awkward words as you probably wouldn’t put them in your own diary. Underneath is a list of ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’t’s’.

Do use the past tense mostly. It’s a mini-memoir of the day   just gone. Don’t use the present tense unless you are at your desk   writing a diary entry.
Do use short sentences. You are writing to yourself. Don’t complicate the syntax, the sentence construction,   with long sentences.
Do explore as many emotions as the day just gone requires. Don’t just rattle off emotions in a list. Explain why you   felt as you did.
Do use train-of-thought. This means write it as you felt   it. Don’t ramble or use too much formal language. Keep it   simple, silly.
Do use the diary as a self-exorcism of sorts. Use the diary   to get things off your chest. Don’t use excessively emotional language unless the   situation warranted it.
Do mention features of nature that you encountered, but   don’t over-indulge. Don’t use too much omniscient (descriptive) language. A   diary doesn’t want to know.
Do use humour as a writing technique that everyone can   enjoy. Don’t put in too many big words (grandiloquent language).
Do use rhetorical questions that can only be answered by   you. It varies the writing style. Don’t over punctuate, put in quotation marks or direct   speech. It is not a novel.
Do use the future tense at the end of the diary entry. Look   forward with joy or dread to tomorrow. Don’t use the past continuous tense where possible (i.e. I was walking). I walked is fine. It will trip you up if you try it.
Do remember to ‘sign in’ with Dear diary and ‘sign off’   however you please. Don’t forget to sign off!    ‘Bye for now or ‘Till tomorrow is fine.













There really is no such thing as different levels of language in a diary entry. There are merely different patterns of thought and structure. By employing techniques such as humour and rhetorical questions, a student can have a very engaging and enjoyable diary. If a student is asked to write the diary of James Joyce, there is an argument to be made for flowery, ornate language. Otherwise, it should be more like Forrest Gump; short on verbosity, but packed with emotion! The next page includes a sample diary entry of a student going on a school trip to a forest; a real one, not a Gump! The emotions are in bold and the rest of the diary should be finished by the students in simple language. The educator should also make out a grid of emotions based on the student’s level of ability. The categories could be: happy emotions, sad emotions, overjoyed emotions, angry emotions and self-confident emotions etc.


Dear diary;

Why oh why does the world hate me so? My English teacher told us yesterday not to use big words when writing a diary but what does he know about catastrophe? Has he seen the end of the world like I have seen it, the end of days? Stupid forest. Stupid bees and stupid teachers. Look at my face. I feel horrified.

The shame of it is that I was enjoying myself. We pulled up on the bus and I have to admit it was beautiful. It was a leafy paradise with ferns like something out of a Tolkein novel. The birds were carolling, the bees (those damned bees!) were humming like hairdryers and everyone was excited. Even my stony heart was happy for a short time. I knew it couldn’t last though. Billy No-Mates was given special permission by the principal to come on this trip. Even his mother doesn’t leave him outside. How in the name of god did the principal think it would work out? You know how he is, diary. I might have mentioned him before. Serial killer eyes, his knuckles scrape the ground when he walks and he has a mad cackle instead of a laugh. He disgusts me because he’s a bully.

What he did to us with that bees nest was shameful…..


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39 responses to “How to Write a Diary Entry

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  1. I am loving it………………………….gooooooooooooooooooooooood

  2. very niceeeeeeeeeee…………………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. its really
    osm//// helped me in my Y13CE

  4. Hi Joy:
    How are you? Thank you very much for the generous comment and I’m delighted that the post helped you in some way. Cheers for now, take care, and be well. Liam.

  5. Never realized writing a diary entry was so complicate….I just jotted my thoughts down on paper.

  6. Hi bamauthor:
    How are you? You’re right in one sense as a diary can be written in any way you choose. These posts are geared towards students sitting exams in most cases and that’s why the guidelines are above in the grids. They’re just suggestions, really, and how to avoid pitfalls while gaining the maximum marks. Thanks very much for taking the time to comment and I wish you well. Cheers for now. Liam.

  7. This is cool…as we are doing it at

  8. Hi Lungafa:
    I hope you are well. I will check out that website and thanks for bringing to my attention. Best of luck with your writing! Cheers for now and thanks for the heads-up. Liam.

  9. it helps me alot.
    thanks to make this web site..

  10. Um loving this guys..
    thanks alot

  11. Wow really helped me ! I got 4.5/5 in the diary entry .thanks to this website

  12. Hi Nishant:
    How are you? I’m delighted this post helped you with your assignment. Best of luck with your English in the future. Liam.

  13. Is there anything for writing emotional narratives?

    • Hi Hannah:
      I hope you are well. I write mainly descriptive writing so I don’t think I can help you there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Cheers for now. Liam.

  14. Thank you

  15. hi

  16. wow…………..

  17. Thank you. Liam.

  18. i would love to share my past

  19. Loved it!…Thanku

  20. Hi Parth:
    I hope you are well. Thanks for taking the time to comment and it is much appreciated. Cheers for now. Liam.

  21. Very useful

  22. Hi Andrew:
    How are you? Thanks for the friendly comment and I wish you well. Cheers for now.


  24. Hi all,

    Punctuation pondering… do a character’s thoughts in a narrative need speech marks when a character is talking to themselves? Eh. A diary entry along the lines of…

    The golden slipper landed on my lap and I thought to myself, “finally, here’s a chance to escape the boredom”
    Speech marks or not???

  25. Wow very niceeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

  26. These are the BEST guidelines (and examples) on the diary genre I have found in the many, many years that I have been teaching the text type! Thank you

  27. Hi Raymond:
    I hope you are well. Thank you for taking the time to post a complimentary comment. Much appreciated. Cheers for now. Liam.

  28. Hi! This is very good! Thank you! I’m sure to pass my exams now! Thank you so much! This is gold! Thank you! 😄

  29. Hi MidnightBlueRedRose:
    Interesting choice of name! Delighted you’re happy with the post and I hope you pass your exams too! Cheers for now. Liam.

  30. Hey, I just happened to be looking for a good resource to help me before my Exam and you saved my the effort of reading ginormous paragraphs. You advice was short and effective perfect to skim through before an exam. Thanks locking forward to your future pieces of work. 🙂

  31. *Your and *looking

  32. Hi Morgan:
    Thanks for the pleasant comment. Much appreciated and best of luck in your exams. Cheers for now. Liam.

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