Last Updated: 26 September, 2020
If you are thinking of starting a journal you may find these posts interesting.
- Why should you keep a personal journal?
- 15 different types of journals to keep
- 7 different books to use for a journal or diary
- 23 ideas for the first page of your journal or notebook
- How to start a personal journal
- 11 ways to start your journal if you missed 1st January
- Extracts from my diary 25 years ago
Although most diaries are a personal record they can provide an interesting social record of a different time, such as comparing my school days when we used blackboards and the occasional overhead projector to my children’s with technology throughout the lessons. Particularly in this era of computers I sometimes wonder about the ability of future generations to review the records we leave, and even with the large number of blogs, are they really the same as a diary.
Later this year I will have written my diary for 25 years (on and off), starting when I was in high school. This is a real milestone, particularly when I consider my original aim was to write one for longer than my older sister (I wonder if she is still writing hers). I’ve never looked back through my diaries so I’ve researched what to do with my large number of notebooks, and here are my suggestions on what to do with old diaries and journals.
- Publish them – it is not just politicians who publish their diaries, for example Rochelle’s Diary and Diary of a Cornish Fisherman: Newquay 1962-1967
- Publish them real-time online, posting entries on the equivalent day several years later, similar to D-Day as it happens and Titanic Voyage on Twitter
- Review and index them so you can find posts and topics in the future
- Share passages with friends to remember the fun you had together
- Use the text in scrap pages, such as this page about my 2nd pregnancy scan with daughter
- Use entries to help date and explain old photographs
- Review the journals to discover more about yourself
- Use them to help write your memoirs
- Store them until you die and donate them to a museum or archive
- Edit the entries to keep just the key moments, such as key historical or personal events
- Write a list of your favourite quotes and use them to decorate notebooks, frames or cards
- Use the pages in crafts, cut them up or paint over them
- Tear pages out and give them as gifts, such as using one as background paper for a photograph of their birthday ten years ago
- Burn or destroy them
- Put the notebooks away and decide what to do with them in the future
Of course what you decide to do with your journals is a very personal choice and you probably want to take into account why you started writing and your views on sharing. Here are some other people’s thoughts
My diaries are currently all over the places. The oldest (in the picture) are still in boxes from when they were put in our loft to make room for baby, and the more recent ones are somewhere in our study. I love the idea of having them all in one place somewhere accessible, but I don’t know why because I don’t read them. At the moment, I really don’t like the idea of destroying them but not sure about sharing them; I have shared small excerpts in the past and wonder how interesting they are to other people, and they are not that old so is it intrusive to other people?
Do you write a diary? What do you with your completed notebooks? Do you want to share them with people or make sure they can never read them?