Diary or Journal? Same Thing Right?


People often use the terms diary and journal interchangeably.  Many people think they are the same.  However, there are some differences between the two. Which one are you using?  Which one do you want to use?  Let’s take a look and see the differences.

A journal, according to the Merriam Webster website, a journal has the following definition:  Entry One: ” A daily newspaper usually used in the title.  A periodical dealing with matters of current interest.” Entry Two: “A record of ideas, reflections and experiences kept regularly for private use. A record of current transactions (bookkeeping), or a day to day account. A record kept by a deliberate or legislative body.”

For my purposes and yours the second entry “A record of ideas, reflections and experiences kept regularly for private use” is what we want to look at.  Journals can be used for a variety of things.  A journal is a blank book, literally. This type of journal lends itself to a free flow of ideas and writings.  It can contain everything from a description of your surroundings, a shopping list, goals, ideas for a book, and anything else your mind can come up with.

A diary, according to Merriam Webster website, “a diary is a record of events, transactions or observations kept at frequent intervals.  A daily record of personal activities, reflections, or feelings.”  A key phrase here is at frequent intervals.  I think of a diary more like a ship’s log. Just the facts and a commentary on them. I had a diary once when I was a young girl.  It was given to me as a gift.  Each day of the year was printed in it.  Two days for each page. After the date, twelve lines each to record the days events.

I soon discovered this was not my thing.  I need pages, pages that I can write anything on! I like to draw, paste things, list things.  I don’t like a structured format.

Which would you choose?  Do you prefer diary? Do you prefer journals?  Let me know in the comments below.


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