hikaymm
3 years ago1,000+ Views
Benefits of Keeping a Diary
What are the benefits of keeping a diary? Is it really worth it? How should I start? These are all questions I've asked myself hundreds of times. As a writing major, my college professors were constantly telling us to write daily, and to keep a diary if that's the only way we could get it done. I never gave in. It wasn't that I was too lazy (I hope), more that I intended to and never gave it the time needed. Now that I've graduated and moved away, I'm thinking that it might be time, but I still needed a little push. Which is why I was delighted to find this article by Maria Popova about the benefits of journaling, accounting to some of my favorite authors! “You want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you,” Madeleine L’Engle counseled in her advice to aspiring writers. W.H. Auden once described his journal as “a discipline for [his] laziness and lack of observation.” Hmm, Auden, sounds like me! Without further ado, here some major benefits of keeping a diary: Anaïs Nin: "It was while writing a Diary that I discovered how to capture the living moments. Keeping a Diary all my life helped me to discover some basic elements essential to the vitality of writing." Henry David Thoreau: "Is not the poet bound to write his own biography? Is there any other work for him but a good journal? We do not wish to know how his imaginary hero, but how he, the actual hero, lived from day to day." Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The good writer seems to be writing about himself, but has his eye always on that thread of the Universe which runs through himself and all things." Virginia Woolf: "The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and the stumbles. I note however that this diary writing does not count as writing, since I have just re-read my year’s diary and am much struck by the rapid haphazard gallop at which it swings along, sometimes indeed jerking almost intolerably over the cobbles. Still if it were not written rather faster than the fastest type-writing, if I stopped and took thought, it would never be written at all; and the advantage of the method is that it sweeps up accidentally several stray matters which I should exclude if I hesitated, but which are the diamonds of the dustheap." Oscar Wilde: "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." (Oh, how we wish ours would be as exciting!) Susan Sontag: "Of course, a writer’s journal must not be judged by the standards of a diary. The notebooks of a writer have a very special function: in them he builds up, piece by piece, the identity of a writer to himself. Typically, writers’ notebooks are crammed with statements about the will: the will to write, the will to love, the will to renounce love, the will to go on living. The journal is where a writer is heroic to himself. In it he exists solely as a perceiving, suffering, struggling being." And lastly, a quote from Maria: "This, perhaps, is the greatest gift of the diary — its capacity to stand as a living monument to our own fluidity, a reminder that our present selves are chronically unreliable predictors of our future values and that we change unrecognizably over the course of our lives." I think it's time I start that journal.
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I cannot agree with this more! I've kept a diary for years and at the very least, it helps me keep writing. But, I won't be letting mine get published-too embarrassing!
3 years ago·Reply
@Sjeanyoon that's a really good idea, how did you get yourself in the habit of doing that? I feel like I get so distracted that I don't want to take the time to write it down when it's happening.
3 years ago·Reply
@AgentCory She wrote a lote in the 50s-70s! Her things were a bit racy for her time :)
3 years ago·Reply
ooh ok thanks @hikaymm sorry for the dumb question XD
3 years ago·Reply
I've been thinking about doing this a lot lately. I think there's so much going on in my life that I just want to be able to record it all and reflect on it later. Plus it really gets those creative juices flowing.
3 years ago·Reply
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