dear diary picture days of the weekLast night I was watching Gilmore Girls (a great show), during which one of the characters admitting to having taken a “diary-writing course.” Where he (yes it was a he) learned how to “properly” jot down thoughts, even if they were private. He then said that he’d enjoyed the course very much. It was worth taking and even encouraged others to do the same. (To my knowledge there is no real such class, but if you’re willing to sign up, I’m willing to teach it. Probably.)

There’s no denying that episode was weird. They all are, it’s one of the reasons I love the show. But it did get me to wondering about diary writing, and whether or not people think there’s actually a way they should be doing it.

As a taker of many creative writing classes, I’ve done some seriously quirky writing in my day – sometimes it’s not even writing at all. It’s cutting out words from magazines and putting together only what you can find. Or it’s opening to random definitions in the dictionary and then having to write about them, as organically as possible. It’s basing essays after songs or after other favorite writers. It’s even weirder things than that … that you then share with others. And get graded on. So when it comes to diaries, why is there a right or a wrong? And who’s to say which is which?

Do People Still Keep Diaries These Days?

I’ve never much gotten into the practice. Probably because I’m writing so much during the day that one more session seems almost painful – like how a waitress hates going home to make coffee. But how many people have kept, and continue to keep diaries throughout their lives? Is it a normal thing? Or just something for angsty girls and English students looking for extra credit?

Really, aside from the fear of our personal thoughts “getting out,” keeping a diary is a great idea. It teaches us to write, it keeps us in practice, it helps us stick to a routine. It also forces us to sit down and spell out our feelings. No more avoiding one’s day or what might have been, it’s right there on paper. Maybe the actual right way to keep a diary is simply writing one at all.

Whether it’s your cup of tea or far from it, diaries have long since been a part of today’s social norms. A right of passage … or the source to one’s demise. It’s a choice we can make both in existence, and in style.