Writing Wednesday: Journaling through the ages

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Diarist Samuel Pepys (image public domain)

I’m currently reading a book called The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists. The book is set up in a very interesting way: For every day of the year, there are several diary entries by different people in different years. The entries span hundreds of years and various continents. It’s fascinating to see what happened in different people’s lives, and in the world, on that day over the years.

The diarists include familiar names like Anne Frank and Samuel Pepys, but these well-known diarists are not the focus of this book.  There are many other people I had never heard of or, if I had heard of them, had no idea they’d had their diaries published.

The diary entries range from the deeply personal to large-scale events that are now historical milestones.

The style of writing varies widely. Many entries seem to be written for the writer’s eyes alone with no intention of anyone else ever seeing them. Other entries obviously are written with the intention that they will be published at some point to a wider audience.

When I write in my journals, I write for my own interest. I write things I want to look back on later. I don’t write any big secrets in my journals, so I won’t mind if my children or grandchildren want to read my journals when they are older. I wonder if they will be of any interest to anyone but myself. Who knows, what I am writing now could be of interest to someone else, either personally or historically.

When you write your journal, do you have an audience (real or imaginary) in mind? Or do you write for yourself only?

6 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: Journaling through the ages

  1. Thank you for this post. I was so intrigued by this title that I found it on Amazon and ordered it from New Jersey. 710 pages? It will be fun.

  2. I write daily about the events of my day, as well as the occasional rant about situations or people who are on my nerves. I always write with the thoughts that someday in the distant future, somebody may read my journal, just to get an understanding of what life was like in whatever year in which I write.

  3. i love assassin’s cloak! i write for myself and destroy after 10 years… though some of the older entries on my blog have now surpassed that. hmm..

  4. I love diaries of all kinds so I will be sure to check out this book! In fact, I think a diary mention was how I found your Plannerisms blog to begin with. I don’t find journalling to be productive for myself, but I enjoy reading the work of others.

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