Literature’s Diaries

 A diary, or a journal, if you prefer, is a deeply personal thing.  How many of us have kept a diary at some point or another?  It is the perfect place to keep our secrets, our thoughts, ideas, our dreams, our bucket list, and a place to record life events.  Journals are a place for anything and everything.

Algernon: Do you really keep a diary? I'd give anything to look at it. May I?

Cecily: Oh no. [Puts her hand over it.] You see, it is simply a very young girl's record of her own thoughts and impressions and consequently meant for publication. When it appears in volume form I hope you will order a copy.”            -Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

I’ve been a journal writer most of my life, and I am grateful that I have taken time to write life down.  For many years, I faithfully wrote every Sunday, going over the week, what we did as a family, and little anecdotes about my children.  When my children were young, I thought they would never grow up and I would never forget all their shenanigans, but once in a while, I look back through my journals and realize just how much I’ve forgotten.  I am grateful for the time I took to write down those fun little moments and capture a few hours of my week. 

Gwendolyn: “I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”     -Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Journaling is more than just writing down the events of the day, however.  There are many advantages to keeping a journal.

  • It can improve your mental health. Whether you use a computer to type out your entries or use good old-fashioned pen and paper, the process of writing your day can help you think through your internal thoughts.
  • It can help with achieving goals. The physical act of writing down a goal can make it feel more real and help motivate you. It can also help you plan out how you will achieve that goal.  Want to eat healthier?  Write down a list of meals or recipes you want to try.  Want to run a half-marathon?  Use your journal to write out a plan to make it happen.
  • It can boost memories. Writing down information by hand is a great way to commit ideas to memory.  And when I do forget, I have it written down to help me remember later.
  • It can encourage self-confidence. We need to be mindful of the things that we write down in our journals.  Write down your achievements!  Write down the compliments you receive.  Write down the things that bring you joy.  Sometimes, we have a bad day.  Looking back through our journals can help us remember the good things. 

I started to think about books that are written in journal form.  Of course, Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries pop into my mind right away.  The word diary is right in the title, but there are a lot of books where the story is told in the form of a journal/diary/or a series of letters.  Check out these books from your local library and read these great stories, told in the form of a diary or letter.

Bridget Jones's Diary

Anne Frank's The Diary of Anne Frank

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn


The Princess Diaries

Dear Mr. Henshaw

The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Catcher in the Rye

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Diary of A Spider