Why Write? Because You Can Read Your Old Diaries Later

“Well, I don’t have as much to write as I used to, but in my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are, that there’s- that the process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask tougher questions.”

Barack Obama, Time Magazine

It’s like the president picked those words right out of my brain to describe why I think writing is important. When I teach college composition to freshmen, I spend the first few classes trying to convince them why writing is important and why they should hone their skills. So many people automatically say they hate writing, and that makes me so sad!

However, people don’t realize how much they write in their every day lives. When you put up your Facebook status, you’re writing. When you write an e-mail to your teacher or to your boss, you’re writing. When you send a text to that guy you like, you’re writing. Don’t you want to be able to get your point across well?

Besides from all the academic and professional reasons to write, there are so many personal reasons to put your pen to paper. People don’t write enough for themselves. Like Obama said, it really can help you clarify your thoughts, see what you truly believe, and assist you in figuring out a problem or situation. I know when I have a problem, writing about it helps me decipher a solution. I do it now, and I did it when I was younger.

In fact, I’ve found some old diaries that I used to keep in middle school. And boy oh boy are they amusing to read now! But, at the time, I was really trying to think things through and just record my feelings. So now, for your entertainment, I’ll share a few segments of entries. No making fun though!

“I went to the movies with Amy to see Spice World. We saw the boys from John’s birthday party and talked to them!”

“Today was our school dance. Scott asked me to dance with him. I don’t like him, but I danced with him anyway. But he stepped on my toes a lot! Ouch! Scott also wanted me to get my picture made with him (Wow. I was a southern child getting my picture “made”, huh?), but I didn’t.”

Do you notice a theme that I mostly wrote about boys? Haha. And I also discovered the first time I had a friendship with Chinese people.

“We have 3 new people in our school, and they are from China. Bin, Ling, and Xiu. They are so cool, and they are my friends!”

And here’s what the ol’ diary looks like.

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I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I did. Now go write something!

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3 thoughts on “Why Write? Because You Can Read Your Old Diaries Later

  1. Ha ha, I love reading my old diaries! At some point in my 20’s I decided to read through every single one of them in chronological order (I have about 35 total). What I was especially surprised about what to see me often write about people in my childhood I thought I didn’t meet until later in life.

    For instance I thought I met my high school best friend in high school because he went to a different elementary and middle school than I did. But I was shocked to discover that when I was in 4th grade I called him on behalf of my best friend who thought his best friend was cute.

    And my early diaries were the same type of claspy/key one you had (minus the hippy stickers, ha ha!) Now of course, they are classy moleskeine notebooks. ;P

  2. Love it Ashley! I have been journaling since 14 and I’m very close to 40 😛 a little too close if you know what I mean. Writing is my life! I feel like it’s my best friend. She’s so good at listening and giving advice too! Keep on writing…

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