On this day, in 1660, arguably the most famous diarist in history, Samuel Pepys, made the first entry into his personal diary.
He kept his diary for approximately nine years, detailing everything from his personal life to the news of the day to even what he ate. Although he clearly kept his diary purely as a personal exercise, he must have suspected that it may eventually prove interesting to future generations based on the care he took to bind it and preserve it in his library. He was, in fact, correct in that assumption and his diary has proven an incredibly valuable resource for historians. His very personal, intimate look at every day life at the time, as it turns out, is one of the most valuable and, I think, interesting aspects of his daily record-keeping.
And, I think, journaling, or, yes, even blogging, today can serve the same purpose. My first blog, Diary of a Network Geek, has been running for more than ten years. Granted, the past several years of that have been somewhat less personal and, sadly, somewhat less frequent than it was in the early days, but it is still running and I do still add entries.
I have also kept written diaries, on and off, and, while I’ve enjoyed that, it hasn’t always been as easy to keep them up as the blogs have been. Still, there is something attractive about that format, and there are seemingly limitless ways to keep a written journal. You could get a Moleskine and make entries as you feel called. I know that that’s a pretty popular method, though certainly, any cheap spiral bound notebook will get the job done, too.
I have to admit, I’ve seen a couple other, pre-printed options that have a certain appeal to me. For instance, simple, five-year journal is one option. Another one that struck me as possibly easier than a more free-form journal is the One Line A Day, Five Year Memory Book, which would keep my writing tight with the exercise of summing up each day in a single line or sentence. Possibly a little easier than that would be the “Q and A A Day” Five Year Journal that would prompt me with a question to answer every day.
But whatever way someone decides to make note of the events of their daily life, by blog or written journal, I think the exercise is always valuable. Even if the journaler doesn’t intend for their work to ever be read, the act of examining one’s life and writing about it is theraputic in some way. I also think the discipline of writing every day is beneficial, regardless of the content.
So, today could be the first day of your ten year journal. Are you up to the challenge? Can you keep a journal going for ten years? How about one year? Why not try? I think the results could be worth it!