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?