Do you keep a DIARY or a JOURNAL?

United States
February 25, 2007 5:44pm CST
No, that's not a trick question. Actually, I am trying to figure out if there's really a difference between the meaning of the two, and (if so) what it is. Does anybody really know? So I have always called what I write a "journal." I think of my blogs as a kind of "online journals." What I write are basically "musings" and commentary on life and the world around me. But I've had people tell me I've got it all wrong, that a "journal" is actually a place where you record daily events (It snowed, I went to the doctor, we ate chicken), while a "diary" would be where you just jot down random musings and speculations. If wou write down "something" about your life periodically... what do you call it, journal or diary? Are they really the SAME or IS there a difference? Do you KNOW what the actual difference is? Please enlighten me!
14 people like this
59 responses
@SpitFire179 (2536)
• Canada
25 Feb 07
Every person has a different view on what the difference between the two is. I don't write much on paper, and what i do i automatically transfer it, but i write any thought, and most things i do in my windows life space blog. I write anything in there, from daily events, to how i felt, to stories, poems and different writings that i have done. Just pretty much anything. I don't write a journal or diary per say because i just see it as a waste, no one but myself would read it, and every time i have tried something like that it's just gone out the window, because i just don't like the idea of writing something for just me to see.. I want the world to see what i have written... I think there is a difference, but a small one. I'm pretty sure that in the beginning, a journal was originally for daily events, planning and otherwise, as a diary was for feelings... but to me, i do neither, just write a blog a few times a week to get things off my chest, inform friends and others what has been going on in my life and to present my pieces.
• United States
26 Feb 07
That's pretty much how I use journaling/blogging, too... it's a form of catharsis, as much as it is about writing anything specific. Although I still keep paper journals, I actually like the "interactive" nature of blogs better.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 07
i write in a journal. i do think they are the same thing. i haven't heard different. i always write about my life happenings about once a week.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
I don't write every day, either... sometimes for several days in a row, then nothing for a week. Nobody seems to really know the difference. I've heard some people say that a diary is written with no intended audience, while a journal may (or may not) be intended to be read by others. But I am still no wiser.
1 person likes this
• India
9 Mar 07
I agree with the two of you .. I also write my diary once every week on an average .. and the writings in my diary vary from that of my blog .. so for me what I write in my diary is for me only while what is written on my blog is for all to view .. I realised that my mind is automatically programmed to work in this fashion .. I realised it when I read your comment ..
• Nigeria
26 Feb 07
My grandmother has kept a diary every day of her life since she was a girl (not sure how old). She's now about 87. Even though she may not have had the world's most interesting life, it will be fascinating to read it one day when she's gone just to see how things were in the "old days" and what it was like to live through all the changes. Also, she lived in London during the War, married during the War, and lost both parents in the Blitz. As far as historical interest goes, it's worth keeping a diary just in case anything like that does happen - the boring years beforehand will serve to put it all in context, similar to the start of Lord of the Rings. I used to keep one for therapeutic purposes but now I find a much better way to get it all out of my system is to write long, rambling answers to forum posts on the internet. Nine times out of ten I don't hit "submit" at the end, but just close the page. It works just as well for me. Following on from that point, I don't think it's the case that nobody will be interested in your diary because everyone's got one. While it's true that there are far more people keeping diaries now than there were 400 years ago, or even 100 - if only because we have more free time, stationery is cheaper, and we're better educated therefore literate in the first place - think how much of it is on disposable format. My diary from 1998 to 2003 was on computer, and I lost it in a hard disk failure, whereas my diary from 1983 (my last year at primary school) is doubtless still at my Mum's house somewhere, including the ribbon I won for the three-legged race in the Sports Day! Proper diaries written on paper are pretty rare nowadays, I reckon. Worth keeping...
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
It's very true that old diaries can often serve as a window to the past-- especially when it involves an older relative. Some of mine have served as windows to part of my own past, and sometimes I'll read something I wrote and actually wonder "who IS this guy?" I suppose it is a benchmark for comparing the changes in our lives. I really relate to the idea of writing long diatribes to "get it out of my system," even though they are never saved. Yes, it does seem that the easier it has become to record words, so the more "disposable" words have become, in the process.
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
26 Feb 07
I used to keep what I called a diary. It included both specific events and random musings. I never really thought about whether it should be called a diary or a journal, though I've always thought of "journals" including specific data rather than random stuff. I could be wrong. In more recent years, I've tried blogging, but I really don't feel free to write too much in blogs because it upsets my hubby. I'm going to try again soon, though, because I really enjoy doing it.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
I have found blogging to be very cathartic, perhaps because of the interactive nature of many blog venues... it's nice to get other perspectives from people who really don't have an "investment" in a situation, the way friends or family tend to.
@maribea (2366)
• Italy
26 Feb 07
I like writing...since I can remember I can picture myself writing and keeping a note of my thoughts..I say that writing helped me finding my true voice, the one the world doesn't allow me to show or is not interested in listening to...writing I discovered and understood a lot of things about myself and writing is the way I disclose my soul to myself...I write poems and novels and little stories but above all I keep what we in Italy call a private diary (Diario privato). I choose beautiful books or notebooks for this purpose..some are made of leather, some of Florentin paper and soo on...and well I keep on calling it a diary, but I am aware of the fact that a more modern term is journal!!
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
Yes, it's interesting how putting something down on paper often enable us to "say" things we cannot say with our voice.
• Canada
26 Feb 07
I used to keep a diary when I was in my teens. I abandoned it after my rape ordeal. The thoughts running through my head were just too painful to write down and for some reason, I just never picked it back up. I have a blog now, and while I don't share my deepest thoughts on there, I'm pretty much an open book. I didn't know there was an actual difference between a diary and a journal. But my partner informs me that stereotypically a diary is more of a girl thing whereas a journal can be both a maale and female thing. I don't know how much truth is in that, but thats just my (and my partners!) two cents lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
I have used journalling as a therapeutic tool-- it was recommended to me as a "safety valve" when I was first in counseling, many moons ago.
• United States
26 Feb 07
I keep a "Diary" and I call it that. I have learned most recently and think its true. A "Diary" is more your what happened today, blah blah. While a "journal" is more "feelings". I think of it more like that. I write daily in my "diary" since December 19th of last year. I make it a habbit to write down exactly what happened. Then there are "writer notebooks" for writers where you write down ideas and stuff. Yeah I love to collect journals & notebooks have TOO many of both all over and still not used them all. Same for pens :p I also keep two online blogs, journals. I have a livejournal.com account under monkeywriter http://www.livejournal.com AND I have a Myspace (well two) http://www.myspace.com/monkeywriter (I blog twice a week Wed & Sat) http://www.myspace.com/truemonkeywriter (I put up a poem I try for one ONCE a week!) What can I say? I LOVE to write! :p
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
I have at times kept different KINDS of notes and ideas in as many as 6-7 written books... never been quite sure what to call them all, though. What I have found is that I tend to become TOO "scattered" and end up wondering where any particular set of words "belong." In a sense, I end up "serving the journals," rather than vice-versa. Thanks for sharing!
• Philippines
26 Feb 07
no i dont keep diary or journal..coz my family dont keep privacy..they read all my private property.so i dont use diary
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
Sorry to hear that-- but I lived with the same thing growing up. I ended up burning my journals after my mother read them.
• Philippines
26 Feb 07
I have a diary and a journal.. :) in my diary,,, I have wrote all the things that I dont want to forget.. I have wrote all the things that makes me happy and make my day complete... I have all my secrets in my diary and what I did for the whole day.. if its meaningfull and if it sad or annoying or maybe tiring.... :) in my journal... thatz where i placed my favorite pic if ever I went to camping or just memorable pictures with my friends and love ones,.. memorable dayz and places.. :) I also put there the letters or notes thats I receive from my love ones.. my diary is very private to me.. I am the only one who can read it.. I dont allow anybody to read whatI have wrote there.... but I can show my journal to all... :) ayun lang foh.. :) tnx :)
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
So for you, it sounds like the journal describes WHAT you did, while the diary describes how you FELT about it.
• United States
26 Feb 07
I have been an avid student of goal setting, self-help etc. I think mostly a diary is what girls start when they are young, and even some guy's. I look at a journal this way. Suppose you keep a journal, you record things in it daily, or sparodically, you record major events and your thoughts on that event, basically you take note of things happening in your life, problems or happy events, at work, at home, with your friends, with your kids, your wife, just make notes of any and all that is of interest to you, now the big benefit, try to always use ther same kind of journal or as close as you can, when your life is over, and your spouse or kids find these daily journals in a box or a bookcase, can you imagine there absolute total happiness and joy at sitting and reading your life story and what you actually thought about things that happened, now at that point it is a priceless heirloom to your spouse or kids Samuel
• United States
21 Apr 07
Journal as a recording of "daily events" makes some sense to me-- when I was doing bookkeeping for one of my businesses, we kept a "journal," which in accounting was basically a "log" of every financial event that happened on every day.
@jmichael (35)
• United States
26 Feb 07
Well Denmarkguy, I think I can answer this question :) Throughout history, and in the media, Diary's have primarily been kept by girls... Whereas Journals, were the exact equivalent for boys/men If you remember "The diary of Anne Frank" That would be an ideal example of what I am talking about... And you read the Journals of many men, so that would relegate it to the masculine gender... I hope it has helped... This was an EXCELLENT QUESTION AND I RATED IT AS SUCH!
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
I had never thought of it from that perspective-- so I learned something new today, and thank you for that!
• United States
26 Feb 07
I look at the term "diary" to mean a private daily log with thoughts and feelings along with mentioning daily events. I look at journal to be either semi-private as in a notebook a teenager keeps, or a bit public (as in a web journal). And then there's blog: something people deliberately write for the web to deliberately have lots of readers. I could be wrong... I don't really know the difference either. This is just my interpretation.
• United States
8 Mar 07
You're pretty close to the interpretation I have, as well.
@moonmagick (1458)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I tend to treat them as the same thing. I consider my writings a journal. Mostly because to me a diary is what I had when I was 12. I suppose the major difference is a journal is technically more of a daily log of events and your reactions and insights on the events. A diary is more of a place to record feelings. I guess that is the "feel" I get when those two words are used. But as I said for me personally, I put them all in one spot and call it a journal.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
We're pretty much on the same page, then. I do remember thinking at one point that a "diary" was something kids kept... a "journal" was somehow more serious. It seems like nobody really knows, though. Not even those who supposedly should KNOW such things. There have been sites like "dairyland" which was blogs, but other blogging sites call themselves "a community of online journals," and it's basically the same thing.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
Some use the words "Diary" and "Journal" interchangeably while others apply strict differences to journals, diaries and the practice of journaling (dated vs. undated). While traditionalist preferred to use the term diary, the current prefference (based on book and article titles)is to use the word "journal." The phrase "journaling" is often used to describe such hobby writing, simular to the term "scapbooking." Blogging is simply another way for people to chronical their lives wiht an added dimension of having an audience.
@ardano (145)
• Indonesia
21 Apr 07
I think journal is specially for something not our personal for instance like foot ball journal,political journal ect,diary is our personal occur in oue live,do you agree??
1 person likes this
@hezoid (2148)
26 Feb 07
I have kept diaries in the apst, and i've tried to keep a blog for a while, but i just find that i loose interest after a while and can't be bothered in keeping up making entires. I don't know the difference between a diary and a journal, maybe it doesn't even matter what the difference is?
1 person likes this
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
26 Feb 07
im open to correction, but as far as i know journal is simply an americanism meaning Diary
1 person likes this
@coolsid2007 (1030)
• India
26 Feb 07
yes ... i do keep Diary and a journal both... they are more specifically different with the meaning and use Diary is something about what happend and why...in life Journal is the real analysis book ... i analyse myself every now and then... try to get a stable mind... try to evaluate and progress... i also keep my meetings and my professional delegatiosn written in my journal... i also write my goals and about how near i am to achieve those goals etc etc
1 person likes this
@mywords18 (645)
• United States
26 Feb 07
Oh yes i do but of my expenses as my memories are stored in my heart:))
1 person likes this
@oiixdaii (1059)
• Philippines
26 Feb 07
I have a journal before but now I just started to use blog due to its availabilty. I only need to logon to any computer which has internet access. In using blog, I keep myself anonymous and prevent anybody from reading my private notes. I am currently maintaining three blogs right now 1. Nokia hints - this is where I put things that I've discovered in using my mobile phone http://nokiahints.blogspot.com 2. Currently thinking of - I plan to put daily happening in my life http://currentlythinkingof.blogspot.com 3. You earn here - this is where I plan to put my other online earning sites and keep my notes here too http://youearnhere.blogspot.com I just hope I would have enough time to maintain this site. Currently I just learned using html, javascript, and xhtml just by designing my site. My next plan is flash. :D