And how cute are these?

Keeping a journal – we’ve all tried it before, with varying degrees of success. Now that blogs are so easy to set up and maintain, do we even need to worry about keeping a personal, private and handwritten account of our lives anymore? We do, as a matter of fact.

When I was 10 years old I bought my first diary. It was a gaudy purple thing, with a big symbol for Taurus (which is my star sign) on the front. It was the first time I ever decided to keep a running log of my life. I was moderately successful – the diary lasted me three years, and is such a beautiful, personal snapshot of my life at the time. My first crushes, my fears about moving to a new school, the petty fights I had with my sister, and all the important events in between. I had much less success in the following years, and eventually, I gave up keeping a diary entirely.

I’m sure this could be said for hundreds out there – boys and girls alike. As LiveJournal, Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr exploded over the internet, it seemed as though there wasn’t any need for journals or diaries anymore. Why spend time handwriting something when you can re-Tumblr a picture on the net that represents exactly how you feel? Why indeed.

Blogs are public. Yes, they can be set to private, but then what would be the point? Isn’t the best thing about having a blog knowing that people are reading it, and being able to engage with them on the topics you discuss? As much as a blog may detail your own personal thoughts, it also is a way to keep in contact with people, and spread your views and opinions around the world. Blogs are fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but they are not something that should replace keeping a journal.

Well, I can hear you asking, why should I bother to stay up an extra hour and record my deepest thoughts and feelings in a little notebook? For these simple reasons below:

Uncensored and unashamed. A journal is an uncensored account of your life, a place where you can be completely honest about what is happening to you and around you. Forget thinly disguised references to your ex, here you can name them, and all the other people you come across in your day-to-day life, as well as any fears or worries you’re too scared to say out loud. No one else is going to see this diary – you are not writing for an audience, you don’t have to worry about being engaging or what other people will say and think of your entry. It is for your eyes only!

Reflect, Relax, Re-energize. Not only is writing down your frustrations and anger HIGHLY therapeutic, it can also make your worries and fears seem much more manageable. Having it all down in front of you gives you a good chance to see what is really bothering you, or the chance to reflect over what has been happening in your life. It can help give you clarity and help to process any issues you may be having. At the very least, it can help to alleviate stress. Don’t know why you are angry, stressed or scared? Write it down – you might be surprised at what you find out.

Your own personal time capsule. At a most basic level, a journal is a snapshot of who you are and what you worried about, laughed over or thought about at any one point in your life. Years later you can go back over your journal and laugh or cringe at the things you believed important enough to write down. Especially if you become someone who manages to write daily, you will find that a lot of the funny or simple moments you jotted down you have since forgotten. Sometimes going through a journal is like one big memory trigger. As you giggle over the moments you scribbled down, you remember others, or while reading about the tougher moments in your life, you remember the ways you managed to overcome them. A journal is written only to benefit yourself – you can write about the small mundane things, which wouldn’t interest everyone around you, but you’ll appreciate knowing 10 years down the track.

Expectation free. Keeping a diary/journal is a personal endeavour. You only have yourself to answer to if you go a few weeks/months/years without entering anything into a journal. Unlike a blog, where you may feel pressured to update often for your readers, the only one looking at your journal is you. You can set it out how you want, write as much or as little as you want. You could even just devote a whole diary to your relationship troubles, if you don’t feel like recording your everyday life or doodle little cartoons in the margins.

For me, staring at a blank text document on my computer will never hold the same sense of possibility and excitement as staring at the first blank page of a new notebook. So next time you are feeling happy or sad, angry or ecstatic, confused or clear, why not take a pen and write about it? You’ll not only be preserving a particular art form, but memories for yourself in the years to come. After all, where would we be if Allie hadn’t written everything down in a notebook for Noah?

What do you think? Is journaling a nostalgic notion from the past, or does it have a place in our future?