Writing Wednesday: blank journal or dated diary?

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dated vs journal

I’m reading a great book right now called The Accidental Diarist: A History of the Daily Planner in America by Molly McCarthy. In it she discusses the rise of dated planners in the US. She makes a very interesting point, one that I have experienced myself in keeping a journal: the advantages of using a dated diary or planner as a journal.

In her book, Molly gives examples of several people who started a journal in a blank book only to quickly abandon it. A blank page felt like too much pressure to some. Others didn’t know what to write on the page. But those same people, when offered a dated planner with only enough space per day for a few lines, subsequently became habitual diarists. The limited space took the pressure off. There were no expectations of great writing, and it only required a couple of minutes each day.

A few years ago I was lamenting having fallen off the journaling wagon, so I started using a day per page diary as my journal. The dated format encouraged me to write something each day so I wouldn’t leave any blank pages. Using the dated book jumpstarted my journaling habit and I faithfully wrote every day. Since then I have switched to blank notebooks, but my daily writing habit is still ingrained.

Have you ever tried using a dated planner as a journal?


3 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: blank journal or dated diary?

  1. I am finding one page per day limiting as I have more going on in my life I need to track and record. A page per day, dated planner has been best because I like to write future reminders onto upcoming dates, and having an undated planner makes that cumbersome.

  2. I mostly use composition notebooks where I write in the date & time with every entry.
    I can write in anything.
    I also use my phone because I can type faster.

  3. I have used both blank pages and dated planner pages for a diary. I prefer the blank page or ruled paged without dates. This allows me to be more flexible in my entries, based more on mood than on the calendar. Nothing wrong with either system though. Whatever works for you. 🙂

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