Keeping a diary - Susan Sanderson

Samuel Pepys is arguably the most famous diarist ever.  His last entry was 31 May 1669. He created a record of social and political history as well as more personal entries for which he devised a code.

A regular childhood Christmas present from an honorary aunt was a diary. I always began with good intentions, but could never keep up with entering something every day for longer than a few weeks in January. The diary became a reproach to me, although I read and reread the pages printed with useful information. These diaries were variously for Brownies, Guides or connected to an interest I had. London Underground maps and other factual pages were usually included - just the sort of thing I could read early in the morning in summer, before anyone else was awake!

Later I managed to keep a sort of journal of holidays. This was useful when hubby’s photos finally arrived after processing. We could match the places to my notes if he hadn’t made his own records other than focal lengths and settings for each photo.

In 2006 I began to keep a journal. I didn’t write in it every day, but with engagements from the calendar, regular activities not written down, and my memory, I caught up from time to time. This journal now occupies seven notebooks. I have not updated it recently. My last entry is dated Tuesday 7th March 2017.
Six of my notebooks

I have found my journal useful for checking when something unusual happened, for example, when a particular job was done on our house. Mostly it tells of our day to day lives.

As I found it difficult to write about my feelings and my prayer life in this rather mundane journal, I began to make separate entries in my prayer notebook. These were supposed to be answers to prayer, but have become anything for which I feel thankful or am concerned about. I am on my second prayer notebook. It includes pages of lists of people and issues for prayer. There are prayers cut and pasted from our weekly notice sheet. Sometimes I write out a psalm in my neatest writing. There are pages for each day of the week as well as a list for every day. Usually I read through the appropriate lists silently, but I know that at least two other options are open to me. One is simply to commend to God all the people listed in my book. The other is to spend more time praying specifically for particular people or situations.

Alongside my journaling I have been blogging for nearly five years. I have never regarded my blog as an on-line diary. Many people do. The word blog is derived from weblog – a log of someone’s life posted to the World Wide Web. My blogs are more about sharing information and opinions.

Do you keep a diary or journal? How easy do you find it to share your feelings? Is your diary secret or intended for publication?

Replies to any comments on this post may be delayed for similar reasons to stopping keeping a mundane journal. (Attempting to balance other aspects of life.)

Susan blogs at Sue's Trifles and Sue's words and pictures. Follow her on Twitter @suesconsideredt


  1. Hi Sue, yes I started a 'spiritual journal' just over a decade ago. The initial entries are a bit hit and miss, often several months apart, but noting down significant markers in my walk with God. During a year of chronic illness, I journaled much more frequently, it was my constant companion. It was then that I really started going deeper and writing what was truly in my heart. It helped me so much during what was at times a very dark time. Since then, I've continued writing in it regularly - usually a few times a month. I find it helps me process what is happening, how I'm feeling, what I think the Spirit may be saying.

    I also keep a daily diary by my bed and write in it first thing in the morning. That's got more mundane stuff in it though and there's only a small space for each day.

    1. Ooops, in all my rambling about diaries and journals I forgot to say how much I enjoyed your post. Thanks! x

  2. I've started diary-writing many times over, with various ends in view. I can never keep it going. I also find it takes up proper writing time. Well done you!

    1. Thanks, Rosemary. It certainly does take up time. sometimes time, which could be better spent!


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