The habit of diary writing

eco balance diary

Gongjang’s eco Balance diary


A few years ago, I was doing some decluttering at home and I found an old diary written by me at the age of seven. The diary was about a holiday with my family and the ‘dilemma’ that I was facing then. Of course what bothered me at seven seems trivial now, but it made cackle because it was silly and sweet at the same time. Unfortunately, I stopped writing after the holiday, so the diary was left mostly blank.

This diary, however, reminded me that I was told to keep a diary when I was a child by either my teacher or parents. Why? No idea, but this turned out to be one of most beneficial habits that I still keep (on and off) decades later.

I did not write consistently over the years but there were certain periods of my life when I did write quite obsessively. The first period took place in my mid to late teens, and it certainly wasn’t all about my study… it contained a teenage girl’s insecurities, fantasies, desire and disappointments, a bit like the female equivalent of Adrian Mole. Every night, my room mate and I (we were boarding at the time) would write before we went to bed, it was like our daily ritual! Some of these diaries even have locks… in total I must have written about 6 diaries over a two-year period; I had no intention to read them again, so I locked them all away about 10 years ago.


eco balance diary


When keeping a diary, one is often anxious about the possibility that someone may accidentally find it and discover all their hidden secrets. I sometimes think that too, but at the same time, I want to be honest with myself, so occasionally I would use codes to disguise people’s identities. Is it necessary? Probably not, but it is part of the fun of diary writing. Yet why keep a diary in the first place? For me, I see it as an outlet to express my feelings, emotions and anxieties. Sometimes I would be emotionally affected by an event, but it is only when I write things down that I become fully aware of my subconscious thoughts and feelings. And when I experience personal crises, writing becomes a cathartic tool. For me, diary writing is not about reminiscing because I would seldom read them afterwards; it is more to do with giving myself the time to record and articulate my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I also see the act as a self-discovery/ personal development tool.

Unlike writing blog entries, I never know what I will be writing beforehand, it’s spontaneous and words would flow as I put my pen down. I don’t need to check spelling or grammar, and sometimes I would be so sleepy that words would slant off the lines. And since there is no audience to consider, I can allow my deepest and darkest thoughts to emerge. Honesty is essential for diary writing.

Perhaps the reason why I continue to stock notebooks and diaries is because I know that like myself, there are many people who would prefer to write with a pen than to type in front of a computer. There is also something psychological comforting when you hold a pen and write on a smooth piece of paper, the experience is totally different from pressing your fingers onto a cold metal or plastic keyboard.

If you don’t keep a diary, I urge you to start one today because I guarantee that there will be plenty of surprises in store for you.


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