Dear Diary…

Ever since I was in the fourth grade, I’ve kept some form of a diary/journal. (Random fact: A “diary” is something you write in every day. A “journal” is something you write in less often.) Those first entries from my nine-year-old self were awkward, and talked more about the boring minutiae of every day than anything of substance. They were only about half a page long, and I’d usually draw some kind of random “artwork” in the margins.

In high school, keeping a diary turned into an addiction. I always had a notebook with me where I wrote down whatever randomness happened to pass through my brain. If I didn’t have the notebook, I’d write on random sheets of paper and keep them folded into a separate compartment of my backpack that I reserved specifically for those sheets.

In college, I wrote in LiveJournal (which I no longer have). I would write pages upon pages of nothing but immature ranting, and to some degree, writing online was easier than it was by hand. Plus, everything was completely private. I didn’t have to worry about someone digging up my journal and reading it.

Now, I write in a paper journal, and sometimes it’s ranting, but most of the time, it’s me trying to make sense of things that are going on in my life. I treat this journal like the Morning Pages, in which you’re supposed to write first thing in the morning about whatever you like without worrying whether it’s grammatically correct or even makes much sense.

Some people will tell you that writing in a diary or journal can help your fiction writing skills. Others will tell you to forget about it, and focus solely on fiction writing if you want to improve those skills. I think that a diary can definitely help you. Some scenes from real life might make great fiction. Sometimes you’ll write about people who can become powerful characters.

But all in all, I see a diary/journal as therapy. It’s a constructive way to keep your feelings under control and to keep worries from eating away at you.

8 thoughts on “Dear Diary…

  1. I’ve never kept one myself but I can see how it can help and sometimes I write poems to suck those feelings out! Must be nice to look back at your younger self and feel how wise you are now 🙂

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  2. Definitely. I keep a journal/diary/whatever you want to call it and, like you say, I can just write about whatever I like without worrying about what anyone else says or if it’s grammatically correct. And yes – it does help writing skills, too.

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  3. Whether it’s “therapy” depends on how you use it.

    Some people become more obsessed with the “wrongs” done to them by writing them down OVER and OVER and OVER. Think Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

    Others use the pages to set it down . . . and let it go. Very healthy.

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  4. I’ve always loved the idea of keeping a journal. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve started writing one, and then quit less than a month later. Reading back over thoughts of my past self always makes me cringe. I find it to be embarrassing even when I know I’ll be the only one reading it.

    It is very therapeutic though. Now I’ve taken to writing out all of my feelings when I’m overwhelmed and then I delete it or throw it away once I feel better. It seems to work well for me.

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    1. Sometimes I do feel like throwing everything away and starting over fresh, but I know that I’d want to look back at everything after I threw it out and I’d be annoyed at myself that I had gotten rid of it.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  5. I keep one and I love it. For me, it’s an addiction as well. Since i started, I spend more time on the computer and so i have slacked a bit, but i have a blog where i write about my life now. It’s not one on here, but if you (or anyone else) want to check it out, i would be okay with that. it’s at http://fallingintoflames.wordpress.com hope you enjoy! I just started it a few days ago, so i don’t have many blogs, but there are like 4 now!:)

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