Thursday, November 12, 2015

What's the difference between a diary and a journal?

Dear Diary:
Today I did the laundry most of the morning, had lunch with Mom and then shopped for shoes. Jack called and reminded me about Saturday.

Journal Entry:
I've been so focused on work I realized this morning I haven't done laundry in two weeks. The laundry basket has been sitting there, stuffed to the gills, and staring at me accusingly for days. So I did that.

I had lunch with Mom and we had a great talk. The lab tests were all negative so we had chocolate mousse for desert. Only because Francisco's doesn't serve champagne. Neither of us likes champagne anyway. Asterisk: don't order chicken at Francisco's again. Stick to the burgers.

I am NOT going to visit Jack's brother next Saturday. His house gives me the creeps and he has the conversational skills of a tree toad. I'm still figuring out how to get out of it without hurting Jack's feelings.


A diary is a daily record of what you did. It is extremely handy. Journals work for that too, but are usually so chatty it's hard to find something if you need to figure out when you last had the car's oil changed or exactly what day Margaret's kid was born. Nobody's ever going to want to read your diary unless your name is Samuel Pepys.

Journals are different. Journal pages are letters to yourself. That's where you talk about the stuff that would end up in a diary.  In the example above, on a previous page in the journal you would probably have shared how incredibly worried you were about your mom's lab tests. That page would have gently received your pain and grief and this page gladly accepts your relief and joy.

The diary (in the example above) will reflect how you went alone to a movie on Saturday. The journal entry will go into some detail about the tense conversation you and Jack had about his brother.

So diaries are lovely. Keep one of those too, somewhere. You should definitely include an asterisk about the chicken at Francisco's.

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