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?

To vent

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?

37 thoughts on “Why I keep a diary

  1. I love this!
    I kept a journal of sorts for many years, although it was mostly not for recording the day-to-day (unless something extraordinary happened, like going on a trip), but more for jotting down story ideas, or flash fiction, or lists of things, or dreams, and so on and so forth. I’ve mostly replaced these with my bullet journal, but I still treasure my old journals! But like you, I don’t want anyone to read them, so I’m not entirely sure what to do with them…

    (Oh, and because I try to introduce myself when I randomly wander into someone’s blog…hi! I’m Samantha, and I’m a book blogger! I recently found and started following your blog. :))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks๐Ÿ˜Š. I guess I use my diary as a mash up of a bullet journal and a diary because I write just about everything in there๐Ÿ˜…

      Aww, hello!!! Very pleased to meet you! Thanks for following my blog, Samantha! But I can’t seem to find a link back to your blog. Can you send me your URL so that I can visit yours as well?

      Like

      1. Oh, cool! That totally works. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Nice to meet you, too! And you’re very welcome! Sure, my blog URL is samsbookshire.blogspot.com

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I kept a dairy regularly for a very long time – until my entries started getting so long that writing them took hours of my time that I decided might be better spent on writing fiction ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚ So now I only write an entry every once in a while, but I still love having those memories to look back on! Which is also why I’m never getting rid of my old diaries. They’re staying until I die, and then they’ll be other people’s problem, I guess ๐Ÿ˜ After all, once I’m dead, I’ll no longer mind if someone other than me reads them ๐Ÿ˜œ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I alternate between long entries (when I haven’t written for some time) and really short ones (when nothing actually happens for the day). It’s always good to look back on memories, I agree! Hmm that seems like the most normal way to dispose of your diaries๐Ÿ˜… thanks so much for your comment, Naemi!

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  3. This is so weird – just a couple of days aho I had thought about going back to writing in a diary! I kept one for a few years but I was never very consistent, but I recently read some of my old entries and it made me want to buy a notebook so I could get back to it. I find it so much fun to look back at what I’ve written because I’ve changed SO MUCH, it’s insane. I loved this post, it came, weirdly enough, at the perfect time for me, ahaha

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  4. i think about what will happen to my journal the entire time. like, if i dropped dead tomorrow, would my family read it? i hope not, because i am not super kind to them when i write sometimes, lol. i know that after some people become famous, their diaries end up getting published after death, which is possibly the biggest invasion of privacy that we allow.

    i loved reading that you actually collect memories in your journal, as i had never really thought about that. for the most part, i donโ€™t keep any kind of lists in my diary, i mostly just use it when i want to get really personal and vent. and i do agree journaling is the BEST way to comprehend my own feelings. sometimes, iโ€™m feeling so much all at once and when i put them down into words, i feel so much lighter after!

    if anything, i wish that i had journaled for longer. i kept a diary as a kid, but there’s nothing too substantial there. i only started journaling for real at the end of 2019 and when i look back at my high school days, i wish i had written down more of my thoughts at that time. i have such a bad memory and it would be great to look back now on what i thought was important and meaningful back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol yes some of the stuff I have written about my family aren’t the nicest words of the lot๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… I’m imagining right now my ghost writhing in embarrassment after seeing everyone reading my diary published after my death NO THANK YOU.
      I know that feeling you get when you dump your feelings into your diary – such a relief! And I love reading back to my younger days and things that happened that I would’ve forgotten if it wasn’t for my diary. Thanks for your comment, Lais!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. LOVED THIS. I journal a ton (or keep a diary….I’m not sure what the difference between the two words are either XD) and it always just feel so…..good to write, whatever it is I’m writing. Poetry, story ideas, venting (a lot of venting)…it helps keep me creative but also can be such a good way to process emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would love to be able to keep a diary for long, but I always seem to give up or forget about it after sometime. Great post, Jan : )
    I have a question: How old are you? Don’t answer it if you’re not comfortable giving it out, I’m just curious.

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      1. My journal is two feet away from me ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ
        Oh gosh I feel so bad now you were only like a year older than me when you started journaling

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lol๐Ÿ˜‚ one of the best things about journalling is that there’s no rule to write everyday – I sometimes don’t write for months on end and then basically info dump on everything I did on one day. That’s a part of why it’s so fun!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know.. I just feel bad when I don’t write everyday, and then I just leave it. This year I journaled for two months, then I slowly started journaling less and less, until I finally just didn’t write. I have to stop being that hard on myself

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