Arts & Culture

Keeping a journal: 101

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“People who keep journals have life twice.”

A diary will remind you of the good – and bad – times you had in your past. Keeping a diary or journal is a great way to express your emotions on paper and treasure experiences. Years from now, you’ll wonder what you were doing years ago. A diary is a great way to express your feelings and pour out your heart when you’re sad or when you just need someone to tell your innermost thoughts to. It can also help vent out anger and frustration as well as excitement. Many of us start maintaining a journal one time or another but never kept it up. We started during a difficult time and simply abandoned writing when things got better. It doesn’t have to be that way. Writing a journal can also be to record happy memories. Some of the most influential people in history kept detailed journals of their lives which served two purposes: a permanent record for posterity, and cathartic release for the people writing them. Even if you think keeping a diary is too old school, well you are greatly mistaken. Writing can be a hobby for one and practice for another. Writing enhances your personality. Even if you don’t think you need either, keeping a journal has great benefits you can enjoy immediately.


  1. Effortless writing, everyday

The motive should be writing for no audience or rather, writing just to write. It is indeed a great practice. Diary writing can be rough and ungrammatical. Though looking back on these entries may sometimes be embarrassing and mortifying, you will be able to trace the improvements- compare ‘then’ and ‘now’.

  1. My diary, my purpose

“Do I feel guilty about reading what was not intended for my eyes?”-ask that to yourself if you find yourself reading someone else’s diary. But to face the truth, one of the functions of a diary – a function we would more than likely deny to ourselves – is to be found and read. A diary is the one place where we have the opportunity and the luxury to be truly, cruelly honest, and it’s not inconceivable that we would secretly – dangerously, even – want others to learn those true thoughts.

     3. Introspect yourself, maybe?

While you write a diary, you can typically preserve everything you observe.  But when you raed it to yourself, you will realise that the notebook is not about other people and that it is about you. On the other hand, you can write to discover “the moments of revelation.” You may choose to write about heightened moments – “moments of emotional crisis” – because these are times when “human beings reveal themselves most accurately.” Keeping a diary, is essentially about coming to better understand of oneself.

      4. Unavoidable Unpleasantness

The keeper of a private journal should not be termed as a ‘different breed’ of person. They are not the ‘lonely and resistant ones’. But by any chance if the anxious malcontents of your diary are read by your children, they can be afflicted some unknown facts about you. It is not necessary that someone who writes a diary would have this compulsive need to write things down because he/she is does not feel blessed, nor are delighted with life. Making others understand about the phases in your life can be fagging if they think they know you because they have read your diary.

      5. Veracity and development

Maybe what she was referring to was that you have the moment you lived and then you have the moment you’ve written about – something you can always refer back to. Referring back to old journal entries – looking back on situations, life changes, old sufferings – gives one a kind of reassuring feeling. You look back on these situations and times – some “which today would seem unbearable” – and you realize you lived, you survived. You were even able to write it all down! And doing so can lead to great wisdom about the self. The insights you gain from looking back at old journal entries are the feelings of mortification while discovering your own “fraudulence and pomposity and immaturity.” These insights can make you desperate to change yourself, “to sound less idiotic.” Your journal entries, can lead you to a private commitment to personal growth.

     6. “Do not argue with me!”

Keeping a diary is an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments. You can say, “That’s not what you said on February 3, 1996.”

Here’s why you might want to sit down regularly to jot down your thoughts. Even if you don’t think there’ll ever be a documentary that uses your journal for flavour commentary, there are plenty of reasons to keep one for yourself. Maybe you want to leave something behind for your children who tell your story and what you accomplished. Maybe you’re more practical, and want a way to harness your creativity. Maybe you just want the cathartic release that comes with regular writing. Whatever it is, these are all great reasons. Let’s look at each one, and why they matter so much.

Image credits:

Radhika Boruah

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