A case for keeping a diary
“The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”
– Virginia Woolf
For Virginia Woolf keeping a diary was a necessary exercise that not only allowed her to hone and sharpen her professional writing skills, but it was a place where she could be truly honest. It’s easy to forget how hard that is; and yet it’s entirely necessary.
The reason it’s difficult is because to be 100% honest is to be truly vulnerable, to expose our deepest and darkest secrets and fears.
Woolf used her diary as a therapeutic tool in which she explored the world in which she encountered on a day to day basis, and her own relationship with it. She used it to battle her crippling depression and capture in words the rapidity of her thoughts. It was a place where she could rush, make mistakes, disregard her pedantic literary instincts; it was her playground.
There’s no pressure in writing a diary, as long as it’s your own.
What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something looseknit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through.
What sort of diary will you keep?
Published: November 12th, 2013