The title of this post is misleading. I should’ve named it ‘why I journal’ because, as I found out about two years ago, my interpretation of the words ‘diary’ and ‘journal’ were mayyybe quite the opposite of what they actually were. I thought the journal was the cold and formal thing while the diary was the personal and informal thing. Or maybe they mean the same thing. Its so confusing. Anyways, since I’ve referred to my dear old books as diaries for seven years, I might as well keep calling them the same.
So yeah, I’ve been writing in diaries for seven years, starting way back when I was a twelve year old. I found a custom-made diary in my home, with all the dates and days marked. I gave it a cover and dressed it up with polythene, and started with ‘happy new year!’. I began writing in Sinhala, just about four or five sentences for one day. Sometime along the latter half of the year I made the unconscious switch to writing in English.
Over seven years I’ve written in about eight books, and a 30 page document in the computer. My entries have grown longer, more varied. Sometimes they’re only a line a day. Sometimes it’s only a doodle or a badly printed photo. These diaries have everything from old tickets, cheesy good luck cards, my literature essays to my term test marks inside them. I think I have a kind of a thing for collecting stuff – post cards, bookmarks, ten ruppee coins, little bits of bling (now I’m starting to sound like a magpie). Why not collect memories?
So here’s why I kept writing in entries, year after year.
I can record what happened in my life
Let’s start with the obvious. This is, like, the whole point of keeping a diary. Reading my old diaries had me laughing or crying to these incidents that, by all means, I should have forgotten by now. I mean, you wouldn’t care to remember a time when you were caught cutting classes and had to listen to a sound scolding by the teachers or the principal? (This has happened to me so many times than I can count. I was both the kid who asks questions and has neat books and stays in class all day and the one who skips lessons all day for weeks on end. There was no in-between, so the teachers either loved me or hated me).
To jot down notes and take ideas from
Every day when I wake up after seeing a weird dream, if it seems interesting enough to be taken into story-writing material, I write it down in my diary. There isn’t any set rule about what you write. Literally anything can fill the pages of a diary – poems, sketches, blog post ideas, gift ideas, bucket lists, to-do lists…you get the idea. And it’s an excellent place to store stuff – pressed leaves and petals, old stamps, tickets.
For taking time to analyze my feelings
Like when something messed up happens and things turn upside down. This sounds like something out of a movie, but you do agree that stuff like this happens once in a while, right?
Ha ha, here’s the most famous one. There are days I vent for pages and pages with angst-ridden writing. Or maybe I would just do this:
What a spectacular waste of ink. It’s been a looong time since I’ve been this angry. The thing is, most of the time I can’t even remember why. Most of the time it’s for a very stupid reason, actually. So I’m glad I just vent it out this way, only to realise that there’s nothing to be angry at, and also spare myself irrationally lashing out at people.
To motivate myself
Who knew writing You Can over and over was such a good motivator? It may not work for everyone, but it certainly worked for me.
Wow, this took longer than I thought it would take. So these are the main reasons why I keep a diary. I have a question, though. In the long run, what happens to these books? As of now, I have eight of them. Most likely that number will increase. And I’m a person who’d rather die than have someone else read them. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO OLD DIARIES CUZ I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH MY BOOKS. Do you write in a diary? Or do you have any idea at all what happens to old diaries?