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Journal vs. diary

July 2, 2008

Yesterday I posted a couple of reasons why I never got into writing in a diary. However, I do appreciate and enjoy journaling.

What’s the difference?

I suppose some would contend that a diary and journal are the same thing, but I don’t view or approach writing in a diary and writing in a journal in the same way.

For me, the difference is area of focus. A journal is a place where I can explore different avenues of my thoughts. Play around with ideas that seem contradictory to each other. Explore just about any sort of thing I want. Write down questions I have.  A diary records events, impressions and experiences from a particular place and time. My journal may contain diary-esque elements, but that is only one aspect of the writings contained on the journal’s pages.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2008 11:34 am

    It’s kinda like the difference between a blog and twitter.

  2. natalie permalink
    January 17, 2009 5:36 am

    Hey! I really agree with you on this! I LOVE writing journals! Diaries… Not so much. But I appreciate the way you just sort of laid down the law on journals vs diaries… TIGHT!

  3. December 18, 2009 11:14 am

    I had to work this out years ago. Confusion came from “Dear Diary…” – What nonsense! Yes, both “Dia” & “Jour” are derivations of “Diary” & “Journal” respectively. They are both Logs (ex: Ships Log) The Diary was traditionally used to keep a record of statistics, a record of the inflow and outflow of goods and services. Today this would be handled in a spreadsheet. The Journal was the narrative recording of significant events and considerations thereon. Very simple. Right? Dear Diary, indeed! That was the personal ramblings, conjectures and musings on life. Today this often gets translated as “Blog”.

    I hope this helps to clarify what others have so correctly noted: Journal & Diary are not the same.


  4. September 15, 2010 4:08 pm

    During the 90s my friend Ben kept a diary. We’ve started blogging it. He liked Super Nintendos, Alice Cooper and holidays at Butlins. Even got photos of each page.

    Check it.

  5. September 16, 2010 5:55 pm

    Was there something in my clarification about the definition of JOURNAL vs. DIARY
    that was unclear to you? It is very simple if you consult the derivations and how the words were originally used.
    That is often what we have to do to simplify language. Some “Educators” feel that you should make up words as you go
    and let the words you do use mean whatever you want them to… And you see the state of most education today and the
    poor understanding we have for each other.

    Willy S. Li

    On 9/15/2010 4:08 PM, musings wrote:
    > bensdiary added a new comment to the post Journal vs. diary.

  6. September 20, 2010 11:36 am

    i was wondering where you got the picture of the girl writing in the journal. im taking journalism and i put it on my page but because of copy rights i need approval.

    please and thank you for your time 🙂

  7. hollygirl25 permalink
    November 18, 2010 8:17 am

    This is a good post. I like the picture you added in too.

  8. July 21, 2011 10:20 am

    Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  9. December 11, 2011 7:10 pm

    I don’t really take much time to think about the difference. Personally, I just call mine my journal. I don’t know why, maybe it just sounds more official than “diary”? Anyway, I LOVE to journal. I write everything in those notebooks. Lists, notes, daily entries, blog posts, obscure thoughts, etc. I am currently at the very end of my ninth since February of earlier this year.
    Journaling (and diary-ing) is rather stress-relieving. Helps me a lot.

  10. April 1, 2012 4:25 am

    hey thank you for sharing your view,, but here I am writing my journal in one diary… 😉


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