Diaries vs Journals

If you’re female, you probably remember those cute little diaries with the tiny keys that were meant to keep small brothers from reading your secret thoughts. You had a parent buy one for you every year. Each page was dated and…yes…might even have had a flower decorating the top. (I don’t think boys kept diaries, but I might be wrong.) I had a love-hate affair with mine. I loved to write in it, but simply had too much to say for one page. No one told me about blank books and journals. I remember my mother looking at blank book and commenting, “Who would buy this? There’s nothing written in it.”

Diaries taught me to break the rules. I hated to do it as I was an exceptionally law-abiding child, but I just had too much to say. I admit my crime. I often wrote onto the page designated for the next day. Then things got worse—sometimes I wrote stories that took up several pages. When lightening didn’t strike me dead, I finally decided to continue to ignore the neatly printed dates and just write as much as I wanted when I wanted.

I began keeping notebooks of ideas and thoughts. I wondered what it would be like to fill up one of those blank books. It dawned on me that if I did that I would actually have written a book myself! Little did I know that journals would hold more than my simple stories. They would give me a place to talk to myself. When I needed to make major decisions in my life, I would write my thoughts down. I also wanted to record what it was like at different stages of my life. I wrote and wrote and wrote. No one read it but me. I wasn’t even writing for me. It was more of an outpouring of thoughts—a “mind dump” if you will. I have stacks of these blank books that are filled with me, my thoughts put into words. Someday, I’ll randomly pull down one of these wonderful creations and remember. I’m not ready to do that yet. I’m still too busy filling new blank books, new journals. I fondly remember my old diaries, but the freedom of journals is blissful.

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