Quotes About Journaling

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Millions and millions of people have kept diaries or journals over the past centuries. Here are few pithy quotes about journaling selected to motivate you to continue updating your journal.

Joan Didion: "The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself." - from "On Keeping a Notebook" in Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Anne Frank: "It's an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I-nor for that matter anyone else-will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old school girl. Still, what does that matter? I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart." (source)

Jack London: "Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory." - from Getting Into Print (source)

Oprah Winfrey: "For years I've been advocating the power and pleasure of being grateful. I kept a gratitude journal for a full decade without fail—and urged you all to do the same." (source)

Henry David Thoreau: "Is not the poet bound to write his own biography? Is there any other work for him but a good journal? We do not wish to know how his imaginary hero, but how he, the actual hero, lived from day to day." (source)

Natasha Trethewey: "Often as a poet I find that I am somewhat outside an experience I want to hold onto, consciously taking mental notes or writing them down in my journal—for fear that I will forget." (source)

Henry Miller: "The diary is an art form just as much as the novel or the play. The diary simply requires a greater canvas; it is a chronological tapestry which, in its ensemble, or at whatever point it is abandoned, reveals a form and language as exacting as other literary forms." (source)

Albert Einstein: "Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think." (source)

Liza Minnelli: "In Hollywood now when people die they don't say, 'Did he leave a will?' but 'Did he leave a diary?'" (source)

Oscar Wilde: "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." (source)

Anais Nin: "The diary taught me that it is in the moments of emotional crisis that human beings reveal themselves most accurately. I learned to choose the heightened moments because they are the moments of revelation." source)

Jeffrey Archer: "Well I think after leaving prison, and having written three diaries about life in prison, it became a sort of a new challenge to write another novel, to write a new novel." (source)

Madeleine L'Engle: "If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair." (source)

Susan Sontag: "The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent." (source)

David Sedaris: "I've been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning. Most of it's just whining, but every so often there’ll be something I can use later: a joke, a description, a quote. It's an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments. 'That's not what you said on February 3, 1996,' I'll say to someone." (source)

Amy Tan: "When I go back and read my journals or fiction, I am always surprised. I may not remember having those thoughts, but they still exist and I know they are mine, and it's all part of making sense of who I am." (source)