We know that keeping a journal can be a very private endeavour, one that helps you truly understand yourself. But can it actually help you become a better author? Well, some of our favourite authors are no strangers to the act of diary-keeping, so we thought we’d take their advice when it comes to writing that personal record of one’s life.
The main requisite, I think on re-reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time. But looseness quickly becomes slovenly. A little effort is needed to face a character or an incident which needs to be recorded. Nor can one let the pen write without guidance; for fear of becoming slack and untidy.
A man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought are commonly the most valuable and should be secured, they seldom return.
You want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.
[A journal is] a discipline for my laziness and lack of observation.
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.
Superficial to understand the journal as just a receptacle for one’s private, secret thoughts – like a confidante who is deaf, dumb, and illiterate. In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could do to any person; I create myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood.
I’ve been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning. Most of it’s just whining, but every so often there’ll be something I can use later: a joke, a description, a quote.
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