The Diary

this post was written in response to a prompt for a writing 200 class at George Fox University.

I don’t know how old I was when I acquired it, but I was youngish. It was purple, with feathery fluff on the front, and I was never much a fan of how it looked but still adored it for one reason: it had a lock. I’ve forgotten what words I stored within it and don’t have a clue as to where it ended up, but I do know that I regarded the thoughts within those pages as sacred. I could write any truth in The Diary, then lock it up tightly and put it somewhere safe. And it became a problem.

Here’s what The Diary taught me: my words don’t need to be shared. In fact, I’m better off if I don’t share my words. And it seems silly that some purple-covered journal would haunt me into my high school years, but that’s exactly what it did.

I wrote constantly, little scribblings in the backs of math notebooks, abandoned plot-lines and half-hashed poems. Stray pages ended up stuffed in notebooks on dusty bookshelves; sticky notes covered in characterization and plot development found their home in dark drawers. It wasn’t shame that made me hide my words. No, I was afraid of them, those honest little etchings. The power they held to reveal tender parts of my heart—I wasn’t sure that I could survive criticism or judgement.

I broke the curse of The Diary when I launched my blog (not this one, but the one I’ve been running for a while now). I made a pact with myself that the foundations of life of grace would be vulnerability, authenticity, and unapology (I know that’s not a word, and I’m not sorry about it). This was my rebirth into writing, if you will, a fresh start. I launched my words into the world and—amazingly—the world didn’t end.

So onward on this trail I go, and each new sentence that I write is a step out of the woods. Perhaps one day, I’ll leave that little purple diary (and all the fears it represents) lost behind me.

onward and upward,

emma grace

5 thoughts on “The Diary”

  1. Emma-
    We have a somewhat similar experience 🙂 I don’t think I had the fear associated with the lock (which was a very strong image, by the way. I like it), but my old journal opened when I was 5 and closed when I was 13 or so. Other journals and diaries I have kept/keep are either in the trash or in hidden places. I find that many of the concepts I write about have roots in what I have written in my personal reflections. Do you feel keeping a diary or journal has helped you as a writer? Do you still keep a journal?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hannah-
      Yes, I do still keep many journals (my mom actually cut me off from buying anymore for a brief period of time), and they for the most part remain rather private places for me to write. My perspective on journaling has changed, though — those pages are no longer hiding places as much as they are a spring board from which I’ll eventually share.

      I don’t know if I could claim that keeping a journal has helped me as a writer, because I have no clue what it’s like to not keep one. It almost feels like trying to determine whether breathing has made me a better human, if you’ll allow me such a dramatic comparison. The two (for me at least) are so intertwined that I’m not sure where one begins and the other ends. Perhaps my journaling has made me a better writer, or perhaps my advances in writing have pushed me to keep journaling — I’m not really sure.

      I think writing is, regardless of subject, an extremely personal matter, and so I can identify with your comment that all writing seems to stem from personal experiences and opinions. The fact that everything I write is rooted in my heart is what kept me from sharing for a long time. But alas, here I am!

      thanks for the thoughts,
      emma

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually began writing in a similar way! I used to keep a diary when I was younger. Later in life I decided to continue journaling. I would never allow a soul to read my journals. The thoughts were simply too personal too share. I have not started a blog before this one, but I have definitely thought about it. It is amazing that you have been blogging, I have a serious respect for people who do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I love love LOVE your writing! You have such a compelling voice and I can see your style so clearly in your writing. I took the liberty of checking out your other blog and it’s so cool. You go girl! The world’s going to gain an amazing writer and a top notch publisher in the near future!

    Like

  4. I also did a lot of journaling when I was younger. There is something about writing with pen and paper that makes the words being written feel so much more significant. I like the point you made about how the diary taught you to keep your writing hidden. Sharing work, at least for me, can be absolutely terrifying because there is a piece of who I am hidden within everything I write. Breaking away from the fear of criticism is something I think a lot writers struggle with. It’s great that you are actively overcoming that fear, one blog post at a time.

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