First, decide how the text is to be formatted. Select an option from the right-hand drop-down box on the top row.
Plain Text is the simplest way. This does not allow links or special formatting.
Auto Format allows links and special formats like bold and italic. This is more difficult to use, since using special characters may have unintended results.
Html Format allows you to use a limited amount of HTML: the standard way to write documents on the web. This is the most difficult to use: avoid it unless you already know HTML.
The two boxes to the left of text formatting drop-down are used to select the Topic and Section of your submission. The default entries of Diary and Diaries respectively are fine, so there is no need to change them unless you wish to.
Topic does little other than choose an appropriate icon to inform a reader what your diary is about. There are a number of options, but if your diary is about something entirely different, don't worry - the default option of Diary is a good catch-all, and you are not expected to constrain your diaries to fit into any particular pigeonholes.
Section makes a big difference to what happens to your diary. If you are at all unsure about what it does, it is safest to leave it on the default of Diaries, as this is almost certainly what you want. The options are:
Now you are ready to enter your content. There are three text fields to fill in:
Generally, first diaries can take many forms. Some people feel the need to introduce themselves and give their internet history. Others write topical/discussion format diaries where personal information et al is not necessary. Other folks blend personal stories with sports, politics and other events. Decide what form(s) match your style and go from there.
Once you've entered all the text, you are nearly ready to submit - first you must preview. Clicking the 'Preview' or 'Spellcheck' button will show you what your diary will look like when posted. Proof-read it, check that any links you have entered are all correct, and check that the formatting is as you wanted. You can keep previewing as many times as you wish, but presumably you'll get bored eventually... Your proofreading can be aided by using Spell Checking.
Once you are happy that the diary is well formatted and error free, you can click the Submit button. When you click submit, your diary will be posted for all to see. You will not be able to edit it after this point, so you must make sure you have proofread it fully. Naturally, many people do not proofread their entries even though they've nominally previewed them, so expect to make errors ranging from the annoying (a minor typo, or forgetting to make a poll multi-select) to the glaring (forgetting to finish sentences, paragraphs, or words). It is common for diarists to request editorial intervention when such mistakes are caught, usually by posting a comment to the diary. However, many users are approaching legendary status for their mistakes, which blatantly lie uncorrected by any hand; that's a part of their charm.
Two final pieces of advice to save you from pulling your hair out: