Dear Diary...

By Kate Carroll

“Dear Diary,
I don’t get you. I don’t get why I’m writing stuff to myself since I already know what I’m thinking. You’re supposed to be secret, but what if my little brother finds my key – or I accidentally divulge my innermost secrets at the next sleepover? This is dumb. Bye forever, Diary.   

Your friend, 

As a young girl, I loved to write, but I never kept a secret diary. Honestly, the activity seemed trite to me. Many of my friends wrote faithfully to “Dear Diary” every night, but I just didn’t get it.  I preferred writing fairy tales with happy endings, or reading until my eyelids drooped.
Today, we call this popular writing pastime journaling.
I love to write, but I am not a true journal writer. I find it too demanding to write something in a journal everyday because I’m “supposed “ to. Yet, as I pursued a new career as a writer, I felt compelled to pick up a blank journal and fill it with wonder. So… that didn’t happen.  I do envy people who fill page after page, book after book with their imaginings, their dreams and their insight.
Traditional journaling isn’t my thing, but I’ve discovered a way to use journaling as an effective tool for my craft.  As a writer, I look for moments of inspiration.  Journaling can be a treasure trove of ideas, crafted from everyday experiences.  I call this intentional creativity.  Watch people at the airport and fill a journal with vivid characters and situations ripe for a future manuscript.  Go to a playground and delight in the creative play of children.
Another simple way to journal is to word journal. I love words, and I write them down in all sorts of lists and categories.  I don’t keep them in a fancy book or under lock and key; I keep them in a folder on my computer. I have lists of grade level words, verb words, magical words, adventure words, silly words and rhyming words.  These resources come in handy when I’m searching for just the right word to polish my manuscript.
When you think about it, we use conventional journaling for many purposes:

  • Food journaling
  • Diet journaling
  • Exercise journaling
  • Vacation journaling
Can you think of others?   

"Dear Diary,

You're old, but your bones are still kicking around and have found new life in this friend. 


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