“Diary writing is far more than a way of exorcising one’s unhappiness. The effect is extraordinary. Distanced on paper, troubles shrink to their true size. You can regard them objectively and see how temporary they are”….Devi, my Mother
That’s the truth.
I figured I’d write about Diary writing for D on Day 4 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge – as I was looking through my journal for ideas.
I remember starting my diary writing when I was very young. I’d write all kinds of stuff, from the mundane everyday events to poetry, stories, and fantasies and so on. My Mom encouraged me to w rite about my experiences, every trip we made, even if it was to the grocery store. If you are wondering what could possibly come out of that – I used it as an observation test. I noticed the number of items on display and described them. I wrote about their texture and uses. The words just poured out.
In fact, diary writing turned into one of my main sources of entertainment, besides reading and music. My childhood was blessed with no TV or internet. Heck, we didn’t even have a refrigerator or fans in the house. All that came much later. But let me not digress.
I’d like to share what I have learned from keeping a diary. Oh yes, I still do. And in the process of growing up, I’ve progressed from being open about it, being secretive and gradually becoming focused.
A fresh perspective
Have you ever noticed how, when you offload your thoughts on paper, everything looks different from how it appeared in your head? More manageable? More hopeful? I find I can tackle anything easily. And peace reigns.
When I go back and read what I’ve written in the past, I am happy to see how I overcame situations. Makes me feel I am capable, I am enough. Along the way, it made me emotionally strong – nothing more inspiring than learning from my own mistakes.
Great way to keep a record of my progress
If I am working on an assignment, I free my mind through self-talk. I like to think it is one of the reasons I am able to stay cool and take on any kind of project with confidence. When I look at what I was doing in 2005 and compare it with today, I feel happy with my progress. On days when I feel low, flipping through my diary raises my spirits.
In the journal I am at ease – Anaïs Nin
While I am not big on actual goal setting, I am a list-maker. Lists drive my life. They help me focus. I make to do lists, wish lists and extract my priority list from that. Writing a diary helps me be specific, which in turn helps me focus and move towards my goals. I find it also helps me keep my memory sharp.
One of the things I enjoy about writing is the freedom to just let go. Like travel, it broadens our minds. It fuels our creativity, while improving our writing skills. It makes writer’s block a myth. When I write in my diary, I don’t worry about who might read and react. And that freedom brings forth the words without restraint. I take Hemingway’s advice seriously – write drunk, edit sober!
A memoir of my Momhood
Diary writing took on new meaning when Vidur was born. I’d write down everything that happened. The other day, I was looking for something and came across one of the writing pads Sury and I had taken turns to write – and we had a good laugh reading it! A great reminder of the wonderful time we had. Keeps us grounded.
There is no dearth of topics to write about when diary writing becomes a habit.
I remember, when I was about 16 we had a family friend who visited often. He used to be very holier than thou and got on my nerves. But my folks liked him a lot. Nothing really wrong with him per se, but you know how some people grate on the nerves. I used to pour my heart out in my diary, merrily cussing him as much as I liked. One day, I must have dozed off writing and my Mom, who was about to shut the book happened to see what I’d written. Arrgh. Never mind what happened the next day – but from then on, I wrote in my own shorthand in a mix of French and other languages I knew.
What solid stress relief it was to get things off my chest. I also imagined all kinds of crazy outcomes for situations and well, my sense of humor only got better. Things I dared not share with my Mom went straight into my diary. My heart was light and happy. Oh yes, I wrote about my imaginary romances and nonsense about what I’d do if I met my favorite celebrity and of course, those guys I secretly drooled over. So hilarious to see it now.
“Everyone thinks I’m showing off when I talk, ridiculous when I’m silent, insolent when I answer, cunning when I have a good idea, lazy when I’m tired, selfish when I eat one bite more than I should.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
Diary writing is a great way to ensure smiles. It is encouraging to see the progress we’ve made as individuals over the years. It helps us to understand ourselves better and makes us happy. It makes us reflect, introspect. It serves as an affirmation.
Yes, diary writing makes you happier! And who knows…someday there might be a book deal waiting to happen in those pages!
Do you keep a journal? How does it help?
D is for Gerald Durell at ObsessiveMom