‘Dear Diary ...’ ... Why Write a Diary?
by Daisy Mae
It struck me straightaway when I read Lois’s book Dear Woman of my Dreams, that she and I had this in common – My book Dating Daisy is also a diary. - Lois and I - are diarists!
However our diaries couldn’t be more different. Lois has written about 19 year old Kathryn, set in 1923, in Pennsylvania USA, whereas I have written about modern day Daisy, aged 52 in Brighton, UK. Kathryn is just starting out on her young life and love interests, but Daisy is divorced and has just started internet dating. Internet dating - unheard of, of course, in 1923!
There are many best selling diaries in literature: Anne Frank, Adrian Mole, Bridget Jones to name a few. I am currently reading Dawn French’s latest book – ‘Me, You, A Diary!’ I’ve just finished reading the American humorist, David Sedaris’s diary – ‘Theft by Finding.’
How many people write diaries?
Writing a diary seems to be quite a popular past-time. In 1996, Researcher Ruth Folit, interviewed 114 shoppers in an American shopping mall, and found that 16% were currently keeping a diary, and 50% had done so, at some point in their lives.
There were many reasons for keeping a diary but in general everyone was doing this for a common purpose – usually as a self-help exercise. Whether it was for personal growth and development, career aspirations, to try and stop a habit - for example to give up smoking, or to deal with a life event, such as grief for example.
In her article, Ruth quoted Socrates who said, “An Unexamined Life is not worth Living.”
What are the benefits of keeping a diary?
Psychologists have long suggested that writing a diary has positive mental health and other benefits. These can summarised as -
Writing provides a safe release for mental and emotional stress.
You may find when writing that your journal becomes your best friend. It’s a great place to vent emotion on paper. Also, this helps you to organise your thoughts, and then plan.
2. Writing helps you practice self expression and aids communication skills.
By reasoning on paper, andorganising your thoughts, this aids your communication skills.
3. Keeping for example a work diary, gives you an opportunity to record and look back over any mistakes.
Many people find logging events in their diary helps them remember what went wrong, and what went right. Keeping a diary of eventscan be very productive.
4. Tracking positive things in your life can be positive for mood your mood.
This is the essence of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Concentrating on positive thinking is very important for good psychological well being. Writing down say three positive events every day in your diary and then reflecting these, can help lift mood.
From my own perspective I find this aspect of CBT very helpful for example with my work with women going through Menopause, for whom CBT has been shown to be highly beneficial in helping control menopausal symptoms, as either an alternative, or an adjunct, to HRT (https://www.menopausematters.co.uk).
5. Keeping a food diary can help when trying to follow a weight losing diet.
How often do we hear people say they don’t over eat! But in truth, they are secret eaters! Keeping a diary of what you pop into your mouth every day is an honest record of your calorie intake. When dieting, this will also help you to stay within your daily calorie intake.
How do you keep your diary?
You can of course keep your diary simply scribbling with a pen in a journal. Or just opening a file on your computer! But there are a variety of diary apps, see 10 Best Diary Apps for iPhone & Android http://www.freemake.com/blog/top-5-diary-apps-for-thoughtful-writing/. Many are free, some are bright pink!, and allow you to upload photos, so that your diary is fresh and professional. You can also use some of these apps to share secret diary thoughts with other diary writers!
Why write our novels as diaries?
Why did Kathryn keep a diary? - She wrote to her future self as ‘the Woman of her Dreams,’ about her hopes and aspirations of the woman she would become. She lived to be 103!
Why did Daisy keep a diary? - To tell her funny tales of internet dating? But it was also a journey about life-change and new beginnings.
If you have never tried keeping a diary, do give this some consideration.
Some of the best writers will say they get their inspiration from recording life events and the people around them. Often these are just observations and little snippets of life. I recently have taken to carrying my notebook with me and stopping to jot things down at whim.
Who knows – starting to keep a diary may just be the key to a whole new world!
Why not try it – and see?
Get in touch - Daisy Mae
Writer, doctor, Agony Aunt
Contact me via the website, http://www.datingdaisy.net
Or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
... Also now an audio book!
Dating Daisy available at Amazon -https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=dating+daisy
See Daisy Mae, my Sexual Health Blog at The Huffington Post UK http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/christmas-and-chlamydia-the-facts-about-chlamydia-testing-and-treatment_uk_5a1193cae4b0e30a958507ea
Facebook - Daisy Mae/ Instagram Daisy Mae/ Twitter @daisy_sharer
Who keeps a journal or diary?