How many of you were diary writers as kids? I know a few people who kept diaries but I wonder out of the writers I've met what percentage kept a diary and for how long? The reason I'm asking these questions was because I recently did an interview on Deb Marshall's blog and one of the questions she asked me was what advice I would give to young (and young as in 8-13 years old) writers. The first thing that immediately popped into my head was writing in a diary.
I used to keep a diary from about 11 years old until I was maybe, thirteen or so. Then I kept a diary all through my late twenties until I began writing fiction. I still have those diaries. I remember when I was in Grade 7 I wrote - whether I wanted to or not - in that diary every night for months. I often wonder whether that was the inception of my later discipline for writing regularly? What I am sure of is that it was the development of not only a good habit but it was also the early stirrings of developing craft.
Diary or journal entries allow us to describe our inner feelings, our daily activities, our friends and families, the events in our lives. Basically, it helps you to write character, emotion and plot. Kind of essential skills for a writer. I know it's hard (for some kids) to create a story out of thin air but they can all describe what happened to them on a given day. They can all describe how they felt at a particular moment or how someone looked when they dropped ice cream all over their new shirt. Diary writing skills are not self indulgent, navel gazing that is a waste of time. Diaries can tell us a lot about ourselves and our world. And, for this writer anyway, writing a diary was the start of a long, long love affair with the written word...
I guess I'm still writing a diary all these years later. We just call them 'blogs' now! :) How about you? Did you or do you still keep a diary? And what has it taught you?