What’s The Difference?

What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between a journal, a diary or a notebook? In terms of a diary and journal they are pretty much synonyms, they do have their differences. If you’re wondering whether you are wanting to keep a journal or a diary or just keep a notebook here are the differences between them, hopefully they can help you to make your decision. 

One of the biggest differences between them is how you use them. Straight to the point, a notebook is for notetaking, usually spiral-bound. Of course you can use a notebook as a journal but for the most part they are used to be stuffed in your bag or pocket so you can have it with you should you need to remember anything or have a burst of sudden inspiration that you do not want to forget.

What really defines a journal is what you use it for. When you are  journaling, you’re writing out how the day went, any hopes or dreams, maybe you'll even write down your plans to take over the world, etc. We like to think that journals are adult “diaries” without the lock and ‘KEEP OUT’ sign on the front. 

There are many different types of journals that you can keep, bullet journals, fitness or food journals, etc. Journals are the most detailed, you tend to include the most information. You use it to explore ideas, help them take shape. Your journal can be set out with or without dates. You  can include random thoughts, lists, ideas, pictures, doodles, memories, song lyrics, and anything else that comes to mind. They are an extension of you and your thoughts.

When we think of diaries two things come to mind, the diaries which have the dates either weekly or daily as well as note pages and monthly overviews, the other is the book that you would have kept under lock and key when you were younger which no one was ever allowed to see.  Now what really defines a diary, you use a diary to record events, note down what you have planned for this day or that day. You can use it to record other little notes too such as feelings, moods, and emotions. A focused diary can help to highlight possible recurring symptoms which could lead you to discovering more about yourself. 

Which one would be best for me? Well really it all comes down to the time you have available and how disciplined you are. If you want to keep a structured timeline or daily reflection, a diary may be the better option for you. A journal is a more organic and creative experience. You do not necessarily have to date or even write in your journal every day but it includes a range of different things. Between a diary and journal there isn’t really much difference between the two other than the structure. The difference between them and a notebook on the other hand is that a notebook is for quick notes, jotting down a list or an idea rather than a reflection of the day. You may even use a notebook as a tool to help you fill out your diary or journal for the day.

Does it really matter which one I choose? Short and sweet answer, no. You should choose whichever format works best for you and your journey. If it works for you and your needs carry on doing what you are doing. Either of the options can help you to stay organised and more balanced. Regardless as to whether you choose to write reflectively about the past or dream about the future, getting into the habit of taking time out of your day and focusing your attention on yourself for a while can have positive mental and physical health benefits. Not only that but you can also be sure to see improvement with spelling, grammar and even handwriting. 

What is a diary as a rule? A document useful to the person who keeps it. Dull to the contemporary who reads it and invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who treasures it. — Walter Scott

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