Choosing Between A Diary and A Journal – Daily Quote


Teachers and friends have counseled me, at various times, to keep a diary. Others have extolled the virtues of a journal. We use the two words interchangeably, but they serve different functions. defines a diary as “a daily record, usually private, especially of the writer’s own experiences, observations, feelings, and attitudes.” It describes a journal as “a newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject or professional activity, i.e. a medical journal.”

I know people who maintain a record of their daily lives, and they tell me they often study their passages. I tried the exercise, and I admit I never knew what to write. The real test was when, several months later, I reviewed the entries. The blithering idiot responsible for the drivel appalled and embarrassed me. I swore no one would read the garbage, and I burned everything.

Since then, I have decided journals are much more to my liking. I log notes, plan for projects, and add inspirational references and pertinent research. I don’t require perfection and sometimes scratch out sentences. Thoughts toward the bottom of the page will crawl up the edges. Arrows and doodles cut across the text to connect ideas or highlight contradictions. Pictures, maps, and stickers add color, meaning, and creates a tether to the memories I record.

Do you keep a diary or a journal?


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

3 thoughts on “Choosing Between A Diary and A Journal – Daily Quote

  1. I don’t know what I write. It’s all taken from my life, a record, but lots of introspection thrown in. Are you familiar with the author David Sedaris? His recent book Theft by Finding is for me an example of a useful diary. He starts out simply jotting down his activities, but as his skills emerge, his diary turns into creative nonfiction. If you’ve read other books by him, you might like it. If you’ve never read anything else, maybe skip it–I think it would be boring.

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    • It sounds interesting, Jeff. I tired a diary multiple times and was horrified by the results. It drove me to examine definitions and what other people write. I am always open to trying new things. I will this to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing.


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