Why I Keep a Diary (And Why You Should, Too)

I love to write. I love stories – two reasons why I decided to pursue fiction writing.

They’re also why I keep a diary (or journal or whatever you wanna call it, but I will continue to say ‘Diary’ because there is absolutely nothing wrong with that – IT IS NOT INFANTILE), and why I write in it as much as I can. As a writer and booknerd, here are my reasons:

Diary-Writing Is Therapeutic

It’s not just writing; it’s writing in a diary, in a space that’s (ideally) for your eyes only. When I write, I censor myself. I have to, because I consider many things about myself, about what I present, and how I want people to see me.

Also, when I write for others, I remember that I have to present the post or article in a way that’s easy to understand for my target readers.

But when I write in a diary, I write for myself. I write to converse to a non-entity, to just let it out. Some people have their crochet. Others, their playlists and musical instruments. And then there are the artists who vent out their frustration or celebrate their joy through artworks they share only with themselves.

With writing, it’s the same. The idea is to just write, without pressure, without thinking about other people’s opinions (because it’s my diary, you know. Don’t read it. Respect other people’s privacy!), and without censor.

Writing Habit

You might think that “real” writers are those who NEVER find writing a chore. You’d be wrong, because if you were write we’d never read posts about writing productivity, writer’s block, or anything about helping writers develop a effective writing habits.

That’s why the idea of the “muse” is appealing to others. And that’s why we have to develop a writing habit.

During my years as an English teacher, you’d think I’d be writing every day. Wrong. I rarely had the time to write creatively. I wrote lesson plans and curriculum courses. I made Powerpoint presentations and visual aids. I had to come up with test questionnaires.

But all that were different to just sitting down and plotting something. Back in college, I could write stories and poems. When I started working, I was too tired to think about anything else beyond the next day’s lesson. There were times I wrote stories for class, but they were far and few in between.

So when I started writing online, I became a bit rusty and couldn’t write as much as I can because I was stopping myself – expectations, fears, and doubts that blocked me.

But when I wrote in my diary, I started to release those fears and doubts. I got into the habit again. I “got back on the horse”, and pursued other online jobs that allowed me to write, so that I could develop a habit of creative writing.

Reading Stories

Remember when I said I loved stories? Well, that’s one of the great things about writing in a diary. After months or years, I read the entries. And I get surprised, horrified, embarrassed, and tickled funny.

It’s literally reading the story of your life (or well, parts of it). I see how much I’ve changed, how many of the things I had only dreamed of become real, and best of all, I get to see much I have improved in my writing.

It’s a helpful portfolio of my writing abilities. In the teaching world, I would call it an “authentic” assessment. It’s a collection of write-ups that reveal how I really write without worrying about what other people would think.

I Make Mistakes

It’s super all right to make mistakes when you’re writing in a diary. You don’t have to have proper grammar. Your sentences don’t have to make sense all the time. You can use as many exclamations as you can. You’re not expected to produce a journal that looks like Shakespeare wrote it.

And that’s really how we begin to know – when we allow ourselves to make mistakes and to learn from them.

So get a diary and start talking to it – I mean, writing in it.

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