Creative Life~Rituals and Routines

Diaries and journals

Rituals and routines. We all have them. What do you need to do before you can start to write? For years, I’ve needed to check and answer all my emails the minute I sat down at the computer. I love emails, especially letters from friends, but anything else is compulsive for me, as well.

The easiest writing I do is by hand, in my journal, stream of consciousness and venting. I can spend hours at that. Sometimes I’ll cull an idea that later becomes a blog. Then one day I was writing about journaling and I began to think about the difference between a journal and a diary. Also, I was looking forward to my grandson’s daily posts either on Face Book or in his blog because he had gone to Japan.

I do my journaling by hand because Julia Cameron suggests it in all her books, starting with, The Artist’s Way. I can’t really explain the differences. Computer writing goes fast and is not too hard, but handwriting in my journal may allow me more of a feeling of privacy and freedom.

So I decided to do both. A journal is a journey of life; a diary is a listing of the things that happened in a day. Now I’m keeping a dairy on the computer and a journal in a heavy-paper sketchbook. Why didn’t I think of that before? It’s great, it will help my production of blog posts for Writing Life on Rebekah Lyn books, and My Take on Old Things are New.

The big surprise is I feel more compelled to start with my daily diary than I do to go to email! Wow. How cool. I’m set free from yet another addiction. Today, I spent the whole morning starting with the dairy but going on to finish several posts. I’ll have to wait and see how it works with novels. But, I haven’t seen my email today, so ta, ta for now. I deserve it, don’t you agree?




  1. Ahhh… back in the day when I could take time to write in long hand in a journal. Now it seems so far away. I don’t generally have trouble writing. I haven’t as of yet, that is. I love to write, and probably because I write non-fiction there are always subjects to cover. I don’t envy people who have to figure out a process and get into it. Mine is simple, I think about what I want to write, I do some basic research and I get right to it!

  2. I do think there is something important about the tactile experience handwriting allows. And I wonder whether the generation raised on computers is going to miss that process. I do all my freewriting by hand; the ability to revise easily on the computer is actually a liability to me when brainstorming, because I get stuck on getting the words right.

  3. ckraggio says:

    It all depends on what I have planned for the day. Editing or researching starts with some procrastination on social media and emails. Actually writing my first draft starts with me outside with a pen and paper! You can easily see what I enjoy doing the most!! lol

  4. Diaries and journals are almost a thing of the past – especially handwritten ones. My mother-in-law would spend a few minutes each day writing about the events. She did this not for days, not for years for for decades. My sister-in-law inherited the books – all fifty-some of them. They go back to the 1940s and continue through into the early 2000s. If you want to know when somebody in the family was born, baptized, married, died or there was a special family event like putting on the back porch, putting in the garden, the number of beans canned and yes, even the weather – just read one of the journals. The outside were carefully marked with the start date and end date. Some entries are short with just a note about the weather and others are quite lengthy. I learned a lot about my wedding day that I didn’t remember or see, not to mention the events leading up to the day. And it holds true for the others of the family. My mother-in-law kept great records and it is always a delight to go back and read about certain days and how she saw or perceived the event. Keep up the great work – diaries and journals are great, especially hand-written ones.

    • divoran09 says:

      Dear Bob, I enjoyed the comment about your mother-in-laws journals. She did have a lot of them. I’m sure she’d be thrilled to know that the family enjoys them. Thanks for telling me about them..

    • Your mother-in-law journals are a treasure for future generations!

  5. If I’m having trouble starting to write I pick up a book and read. I’ve learned not to force the creative process, If I take care of myself, enjoy other peoples art, mine will flow.

    Journaling is great. I enjoy keeping a dream journal and love going back to read dreams of the past! Have a wonderful week!

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