Diary Writing

For Diary Writers

Why do diaries work?

Many diarists claim that diary writing can be used as a therapeutic tool:

“Having read my earlier entries made me remember how good I can express – how well I can feel – through writing. It’s funny how I feel when I pick up my journal, it’s like stepping inside myself. I ought to remember how therapeutic it is for me to write out my feelings.” K. Volkov

“All writing is in some way therapeutic.” J. McConnell

“Like a spider spinning thread out of its own belly, a diary is a lifeline to an innermost self. Often it is the only place someone can be honest.” Alexandra Johnson

“There are times when it’s only coming to the notebook that I truly do face my own life. [Rereading notebooks] is very reaffirming, because sometimes writing seems useless and a waste of time. Suddenly you are fascinated by your own mundane life.” Natalie Goldberg

A Small Compilation of References

Some excellent sources to consider for diary and memoir writing:

A Book of One’s Own: People and Their Diaries, by Thomas Mallon;

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamotte;

Living to Tell the Tale, written by J. McDonnell;

Writing from Personal Experience, by Nancy Kelton;

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg; and The Hidden Writer: Diaries and the Creative Life, by author Alexandra Johnson.

Join a critique group and get feedback on your material. Learn the basics of editing. Avoid vanity publishing; read blogs on the subject.

Those Who May Inspire You: a few famous diarists include Beatrix Potter, Anne Frank, Louisa May Alcott, Lewis Carroll, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Bernard Shaw, Alice Walker, Harry Truman, Buckminster Fuller and Queen Victoria, who “kept diaries from the age of thirteen to eighty-two.”

Random quotes by diarists, and some about writing~

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” Virginia Woolf “[I’m] one of those people who can think something out only by writing it.” May Sarton “…everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath “Writing is both mask and unveiling.” E.B. White “Keep a diary and one day it’ll keep you.” Mae West “Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.” Jules Renard “It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order.” Ann Beattie

READ MORE ABOUT THE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF KEEPING A JOURNAL at this link.

Kalila with her collection of personal diaries

Kalila with her collection of personal diaries.