‘Diaries’– #AtoZ Challenge

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I’ve always written a diary and now have a whole drawer of them under my bed, dating back to my teenage years. Looking back, I feel they’ve been useful in my writing process, partly because they’ve helped me to find my voice, but they’ve also been a form of therapy in that they’ve allowed me to work through various problems and issues in my life. Occasionally I’ll dip into them and read about the person I used to be. I’d tell my diaries everything, and when reading them I realise how much I’ve changed. At times I feel almost sorry for the person I used to be. I do recognise, however, that I needed to go through these experiences in order to become the person that I am today.

Up until a few years ago, I used to do ‘Morning Pages,’ a term coined by Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way.’ This involved writing three pages of whatever came into your head first thing in the morning and the purpose of the practice was to empty your mind so you would be mentally free to be creative. It really worked for me at the time but I no longer do it as I don’t find I have as much ‘mental clutter’ as in the past, so there’s less to get rid of!

I’m currently writing a novel which is based on a past relationship. Much of the story is connected with people and experiences I’ve had over the years and my diaries are a valuable resource as I’ve forgotten a lot of the details. It’s strange as I often feel that I’m reading about someone else. I vaguely remember the characters and events but they happened so long ago and I think I’ve changed so much since then that it’s almost as if I’m reading a piece of fiction, and I feel immensely grateful to have lived such a full life. I’m not sure I’ll go back to writing a diary, but maybe it’s something that all writers should do. It can be difficult when writing a story to really get into the head of the characters, but  regularly writing down how you, the writer feels can help immensely.

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16 thoughts on “‘Diaries’– #AtoZ Challenge

  1. Great post. I have four journals that I’ve written in my adult life and I thought about burning them so no one can read them if something happens to me. Lol what were your plans with yours when the book is completed? Need suggestions.

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    1. Don’t burn them! I have friends who have done that and really regretted it.. I’ll probably keep mine tbh.. a lot of embarrassing stuff in there but as most of it happened a while ago, it’s almost as if it wasn’t me that it happened to! I think it’s worth taking the time to read through what you’ve written – you might find some gems in there!

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  2. I have to admit, I kept a diary (journal) when I was a teen too. I started around 1984 and wrote in it till about 1992+. After that, life got in the way, marriage, children, divorce. I too go back and reread a lot of the entries and they fascinate me. I’d probably still be keeping a journal if I hadn’t started blogging. Really, to some degree, that’s taken the place of diary writing. It’s all prep work for getting my actual writing done. Those books aren’t going to write themselves.

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    1. Yes, you’re so right, Jeffrey. I think you need to decide what works for you. Now I’m finding that all the blogging I’m doing is really helping improve my writing & it’s nice that other people can read it. I try to do 750words.com every day but use it more to brainstorm for short stories and flash fiction.

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  3. I started Morning Pages about five years ago when life was unraveling at an unprecedented rate. Now I can’t imagine going more than a few days without doing them.

    I wish I had kept a diary growing up. I’d love to look back and see how I’ve evolved over time. I like the idea of keeping a writing diary to help develop ideas and inspire new ones.

    I look forward to following your posts throughout the challenge.

    Molly @MyCozyBookNook
    My Cozy Book Nook
    Revising Life after 50

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Molly. From reading the comments, I’m kind of thinking about starting Morning Pages again – I let them go a while back to focus more on blogging, but I did really enjoy them at the time. Look forward to following you too! Mary

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi again, Molly. I checked out your blog and loved it, particularly today’s post about Degas (one of my favourite artists).
      I’m not sure why but I wrote a comment and it disappeared & I couldn’t follow your blog. Tried a few times. I’ll keep checking in though! Mary

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m intrigued with the “Morning Pages” idea and might give it a shot. I just watched Ms. Cameron’s explanatory video, and it makes a lot of sense. What a great way to get into the writing “spirit” each morning! Thanks for bringing this forward, Mary. 🙂

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