Dear Diary...

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Do you write a diary?

I did, that is, for distinct periods of my life.

During my childhood, I wrote into a perfumed notebook that my aunt had given me for my birthday about my dolls, pets, and  dreams. But I also wrote about my fears as I saw my parents' marriage degrade, and as I began noticing patterns and behaviours that made me feel like the world wasn't this safe cocoon around me. I wrote about world events such as 9/11 as I saw them from my child eye, and I wrote about my first pre-teen crushes.

My teenage diary, dating from about Troisième (ninth grade in the French system) to the last days before I left for college, was filled with much more angst, as I blackened pages upon pages about the difficult relationship I had with my mother, impossible love, and the inevitable high school drama I lived through. But there was also a lot of hope in it, as I taught myself to always look at the bright side of any situation.

I journaled sporadically ever since. Mostly because I felt that pouring your heart into a notebook is something that only a child or a teenager should feel the need to do.

On the other hand, I also had to train myself to understand that my blog, or worse even, Facebook, should not supplant a personal diary. It's something that I still try to remind myself of, sometimes.

This September, however, I've decided to mark the new beginning that the fall represents to me by starting a diary again. Doing so will allow me to do a "bilan" ( or "appraisal", as Google Translate says) of my days, and keeping track of how close I am to achieving my goals for the next few months.

However, I went against my instincts, this time, and decided to write my journal not on paper and in cursive, but on Penzu,* an online journaling program (that also comes with phone and tablet apps, on which your entries synch automatically). Among others, it allows you to lock your virtual notebook with a password, add photos and quotes, and also search terms among your past entries. There's even a feature where the program will bring up past entries to a complicated algorithm that uses relevant words and sentences, allowing you to look back at them.

I won't lie, I do miss the ritual of journaling, that comes with a quality notebook with that distinct smell of luxury paper, a fine pen, a cup of tea and some chocolate. But I enjoy having a more organised, seamless, and most importantly password-protected space to pour my thoughts, worries and hopes into.

So far, I only have a small number of entries, some of which are only a sentence or two short. But I've decided to write every single night, no matter how tired I am, so that, a year from now, I will look back at all of this and really feel that I've achieved a lot of my goals (I'm turning 25 next March, so the pressure is on!). Journaling, in a weird way, holds you accountable and is such a great motivator!

I'd love to know, what does your diary look like? For how long have you been writing it?


*This post is not paid for or sponsored by Penzu. (I wish though, because I'm loving the program so far!). I just searched online for reviews of different journaling programs, and Penzu was the one I thought would work best for me.

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