Dear Diary

One of my (and probably your) favorite blogging buddies gave us a peek into his journal today, where he had crafted his post, complete with artwork, before putting it up on his blog.  He travels in some pretty awesome company.  Over the centuries, lots of fascinating people over the centuries have kept diaries or journals:  Samuel Pepys, Anne Frank, even Charles Darwin , to name just a few.

Ever since someone gave me a little book with a latch and key, embossed with the words My Diary, for my twelfth birthday, I wanted to be among them.  Starting with that little book, I sat in bed every night and wrote Dear Diary, imagining myself as Gidget or Lolita or some other teenager with an exciting life.  It lasted about a week, and then I got bored and moved on.

I never actually knew anyone who kept a diary.  Now that I think about it, though, I guess I wouldn’t, would I? I mean, diaries are secret, right? That’s why they are locked, and kept under the mattress.  But the idea never lost its appeal.

At some point, a diary became a “journal.”  Really cool people kept journals, people like Ayn Rand, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath.  So I tried again.

Bottom line, I tried many times to join the ranks of those fascinating people who kept journals.  And failed every time. The whole concept had two fatal flaws for me.  First, it became painfully obvious to me that those people I was emulating had lives. Interesting lives.  I would reread my diary and journal entries, and even I was bored.   But more importantly, I had a problem with the whole concept of a private place to write.  I mean, if no one was ever going to read what I wrote, what was the point?

I’m sure that many people see a blog as a place to keep a journal. It may be true that those people are writing for themselves, and they are reaping all the mental and psychic benefits of keeping a journal that any book on the subject will enumerate for you.  I am not among them.  Blogging offers me the opportunity to write something and maybe someone else will read it.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

I still wish I could pull off the journal thing. When I saw my friend’s post with the image of a page from his journal, I felt the pull of the little red book with the key all over again.    Maybe it can be said that I did reap one of the touted benefits of a journal through my abortive attempts.  I learned something about myself.  A journal is a direct route to Failure for me, never to pass GO, never to collect $200.

Blogging on the other hand? On October 31, I will hit my first anniversary as a real blogger.  I’ve written  279 posts on my creative writing and non-fiction blogs.   And I’m not bored yet.  That beats all my attempts to keep a journal combined.


How about you?  How do you write?  Do you keep a journal?  Do you write your posts out long-hand before typing them into your blog?

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18 Responses to Dear Diary

  1. I’m a long-time keeper of journals as a tool for spiritual growth but sometimes I take a break. Right now my creative energy is devoted to blogging, especially poetry. Journaling–when I do it–is a part of my morning quiet time. For now it’s just prayer and meditation with some reading to nourish my soul. I like to keep a dream journal, too. Nice entry. My question would, “What do you do with all those journals?” I bet I have 30 or 40 of them packed away!

    • PattiKen says:

      The first one fell into a black hole somewhere. I wish I still had that one. I bet it was hysterical. The others were so unsuccessful there was nothing worth keeping except the actual book. I remember tearing out the journaling pages and using the notebooks in school for note-taking. But there were never 30 or 40 of them. I gave it up long before that.

      Do you ever go back and read the old journals?

  2. I suppose that could be an interesting journey. One time I reread a journal I had just finished and got so depressed/angry (it wasn’t a stellar time in my life) but I think it could be useful to see how I’ve grown and how my point of view has evolved. Putting some distance between the writing and reading would be wise, and I’m sure would evoke a few good laughs.

  3. Tara R. says:

    Before I got my laptop, I wrote out almost every post first in long hand. Now, it’s just easier to do it on my computer. I still keep a journal with me to takes notes or write out ideas.

  4. souldipper says:

    I have about 10 journals which are handy as references or to confirm dates. Although I remember so many significant events in my life, when I go back and read the journal, I’m amazed at how much I had forgotten.

    I journal sporadically now, but I know the material I have kept means the difference between a skeleton and something with meat on it.

    Oh well…that’s why someone invented fiction, Pattiken!

  5. I type my blog on the computer directly. I’ve never kept a journal since I prefer to talk out what’s happening with my Honey and best friend to gain clarity. But I do like blogging. Congratulations on your almost first year anniversary. I enjoy your blogs immensely.

    • PattiKen says:

      Thanks, Mary. I’m so glad you visit and like what you read.

      I’ve had friends who kept only travel journals. I once asked one friend a question about someplace she had and watched her go fetch the appropriate journal and give me the answer. I thought that was pretty cool. But still, I’d rather enjoy the place than sit and journal about it.

  6. mairmusic says:

    Congrats on your year! My “journal” is scraps of paper and grocery receipts scrawled on at red lights. The best ideas get finished and posted on my blog. Or lost & sometimes discovered in a pocket & read, continued, tossed. I’m w/ you– my blog is the pocket that I can always find.

    • PattiKen says:

      One of these days I’ll get smart and write the ideas down when they occur to me. If I’m at home, I can put a note in the computer, but while out, I try to rely on memory. Big mistake.

      Thanks for the congrats on making it a year. What I didn’t realize when I started was how addictive it is. I’d say I’m hooked.

  7. Jamie Dedes says:

    This is a great post, Patti. Didn’t we all follow the same path? I know a few people who succeeded in keeping traditional diaries/journals and have for years if they are to be believed and I do believe them. (How’s that for a run-on?)

    Anyway, I do see my blog as a kind of diary since each day and sometimes more than once a day, I post what is attracting my attention, what’s on my mind. I also am always writing … so my house is dusty!!! there’s dishes in the sink!!!! … It’s a way of life.

    I love that we have “dialogue” going with the blogs, but I’d happily write into a notebook if that’s all I had. Sometimes that’s all I did have.

    Thanks for another good one, dear friend. Happy days …

    • PattiKen says:

      Thanks, Jamie. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      It’s true; blogging has become a way of life. I’m with you on the dust and dishes. I often wonder how people with full-time jobs manage to be so prolific on their blogs and even get around and comment on scores of others. Maybe they don’t sleep?

      I love the dialogue too. It is so amazing to me to have friends around the globe that I will never meet. In a way, blogging has revived the old “pen pal tradition.

      Thanks again for visiting. I always enjoy your input.

      • buttercup600 says:

        Hahahahaha…Patti, this made me laugh out loud!! (Dishes the dishwasher does…dust..once a week I get someone to do just that) I know it sounds terrible but at this stage of my life, I could not be bothered doing it all…I also run a full on business and yep, hardly sleep more that 4 or 5 hours a night. (never needed more for some reason) I still write every poem by hand in a notebook before I post it on here…sometimes it might start with an idea in the middle of the night…I always have a notebook handy. Never took to the idea for keeping a diary either…what is it with us, as we get older, we need to write our thoughts down…it’s been 7 months for me blogging, I am not tired yet but am busy working on finding the right balance to do it all. It surely has opened a new world to me too..amazing friends like you!! Congrats on keeping at it for so long. Hugs xxx

      • Jamie Dedes says:

        Amanda is right. Finding balance is key to avoiding burnout.

        I have notebooks galore.

  8. PattiKen says:

    Ah, Amanda, you have asked the key question in your comment: “what is it with us, as we get older, we need to write our thoughts down…”

    I don’t know about you, Girlfriend, but in my case, it’s because I can’t remember a darn thing! In your case, I suspect it’s because you have so much on your mind, it’s important to record all the important stuff (like your beautiful poetry) so it doesn’t get lost.

    I’m glad you got a chuckle from this. I always get a big smile when you visit. Big hugs! XOXO (See? They’re BIG!)

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