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I Use a Diary for 30 Days (And Counting): This is What I Learned

I am a writer who writes what's on her mind. I enjoy telling stories about myself and exploring intriguing topics and ideas.

Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

It's no secret that I'm a university student. And being a full-time undergraduate means prioritizing my studies above anything else.

For September, I was busy with both my classes and freelance work. So unlike before, I didn't have the luxury to create articles as often as I wanted. And with my preliminary exams, I barely had enough time to do personal projects. (Thankfully, I survived that whole ordeal.)

But I didn't completely stop writing during my downtime. Both YouTube and my partner inspired me to get back into an old hobby that I did before in high school.

I decided to get back into writing a diary.

Why Journaling?

I could have chosen other hobbies during my free time. So why did I pick journaling?

This isn't my first time having a journal. (And I'm very sure this isn't the last.) Back in high school, I carried a black notebook and a pen wherever I went. And when I was free, I would write down events, thoughts, and ideas. And it worked for quite some time. But I didn't take journaling seriously back then. It was something I do "just because."

So fast forward to 2021. One night, I decided to just own a diary and start writing in it again. But unlike high school me, I'm going to take it seriously.

And so far, it's working in my favor. "How?" you might ask. Well, let me tell you how journaling for 30 days (and more) has helped me grow.

Journey: Diary, Journal

Journey: Diary, Journal

Digital Diary: Why Did I Chose This? (And What App Did I Use)

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Journey nor Two App Studio Pte. Ltd. All my opinions belong to me and are not subjected to any reviews.

For my journaling journey (pun intended), I decided to use the mobile app Journey. It's a decent app that lets me write unlimited logs every day. What I love about Journey is that it provides synchronization across multiple devices, has a mood tracker, and has a straightforward UI. There are some things I wish were not behind a paywall. But as a journaling app that tracks my daily life, it's a decent one.

So why use a digital diary rather than a traditional one? I had considered using a notebook as I did in the past. But after I found out that my hands are so used to typing and cramp up if I use a pen for too long, I decided not to pursue that idea. Besides, I'm trying to follow a minimalist lifestyle, and I don't want to spend my money on notebooks when I can easily use my devices for the same purpose.

I found that writing 2-3 journals daily was the perfect routine for me. I either hop on my Chromebook or phone and write. I do it in the morning, afternoon, and night. And what's great with a digital notebook is that I can easily insert pictures and videos. My journal became my creative outlet when I wasn't working on a project or studying in school.

So what benefits are there in journaling? I'm sure that people have many answers to that question. For me, I found three changes in myself when I started journaling. And I'm ready to share them today.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

My Diary Tracks My Emotions

I was diagnosed with a mood disorder back in late 2019. Everyone in my life knew that I was an explosive person when I got angry. It's upsetting whenever I remember all my embarrassing moments where I lost my temper. But I'm now working on fixing my issues.

I never thought of tracking my emotions before, though. I tried going with the flow and living life like I was a "normal" person. But then I realized I wasn't learning more about myself. I still let my emotions get the better of me. I knew I needed a way to track my feelings and discover what my triggers were.

That's why my diary is so useful. Every day, I would log my emotions whenever I wrote an entry. And each entry described what I felt and what I did. Slowly, I formed a coherent image of who I was and what made me tick. I knew what brought me joy. I knew what brought me sorrow. I knew what I needed to do to avoid destructive behavior. I knew myself better.

Emotions are tricky, especially for me. So having something that I can tangibly observe is very helpful. I can easily look back and understand what made me happy, sad, upset, or neutral.

My mood tracker for September.

My mood tracker for September.

I Have an Outlet for Anxious and Intrusive Thoughts

Anxious thoughts about health, death, and crime are things that plague my mind. Sometimes, those thoughts are too personal to share, even for my mother and significant other. I rather keep them a secret.

But bottling my intrusive thoughts is not healthy. The brain is a powerful, complex, and scary organ. You could just be minding your business, and then suddenly, your brain brings up a traumatic event from ten years ago! It's infuriating, but I learned to live with a mind like this.

Fun fact: I named my journal after my dog. And what do a dog and a diary have in common? They never judge you, no matter how depressing your thoughts and words are. So my diary became this personal outlet where I could deconstruct my anxious and intrusive thoughts.

My diary is a safe place to keep my darkest secrets. If I feel like I have a thought that shouldn't be shared with anybody, I immediately share it with my journal.

There are some things in our minds that are best kept to us only. People have the right to own their secret and not expose it to anyone, even if it's with a trustworthy person. For me, my diary is an outlet that I keep safely protected. And the more I write, the better I cope in everyday life.

My Writing Has Improved Because of Journaling

Like any skill, you will need to practice almost every day to improve it. I can say the same for writing.

Practice is crucial if you want to succeed in the writing sphere. But that doesn't mean you need to make giant projects, like 10,000-word essays or lore-heavy novellas. You don't even need to publish all your writings for people to see. That's where a diary comes into play.

A diary is like your private classroom. You practice your writing every day whenever you log your daily activities and thoughts. And what happens in the classroom will always stay in the classroom. As an added challenge, I try writing without a dictionary or a word checker. Alternatively, I use my diary to log short stories and poems when I'm in the mood to make one.

My diary is a literary safe space where I can freely jot down anything I want. I practice the intricacies of words and language when I use a journal every day. Plus, I'm not obligated to share those personal writings with anybody.

Photo by Mark Neal from Pexels

Photo by Mark Neal from Pexels

Will I Continue Using My Journal?

Yes! I don't see myself stopping from journaling any time soon. My diary is like my imaginary friend whom I can trust and rely. And in times of confusion, turmoil, and stress, that's just what I need.

Comments

Athena Barroga Perez (author) from Philippines on October 10, 2021:

Hi Priya!

I'm glad to see that journaling is working out for you. Keep it up!

Priya Barua on October 09, 2021:

I also journal as frequently as I can. Sometimes, the entries are far apart, other times, I write almost every day. I think you get a bigger picture of your life once you start re-reading it.

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