Preserved memories: On keeping a hand-written journal

Oh, the smell of fresh paper. The feel of the rough page beneath my hand. The sense of possibilities expanding before me, as I gathered together my thoughts, put pen to paper, and wrote.

Gone are those good old days of keeping a hand-written journal. Of carrying around a diary everywhere I went, so I was never stumped if inspiration struck, or if I saw a particularly good quote that I wanted to note down forever, or just wanted to ruminate.

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Gone are those days spent flicking through old journals. Looking at ticket stubs from that movie I went for on my first date. Of the restaurant bill from the last time I met up with my gang. The coffee spill that put so much more atmosphere into the story of me that I was writing.

All of that has been replaced with my iPhone. True, it’s much smaller and lighter than my diary. It’s with me everywhere I go. The chances of my forgetting it anywhere are slim. But it’s just not the same as my dear diary.

There are no pages to rifle through. No coffee spills to highlight passages of my life. No drunken scrawls that I cannot decipher the morning after. It’s too neat. Too structured. Too…cold.

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Maybe its time for me to go and buy myself a new diary. A leather-bound one this time, maybe. To doodle. To write. To keep for posterity. So that years later, when I am dust scattered over the earth, someone can come across it and say “Oh, so that’s what writing looked like in those ancient days!”

What do you think? Do you miss your hand-written diary? Or are you happy recording your thoughts digitally?

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I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. I think it is fantastic to have a hand written diary. That way, if ever there is an ‘energy crisis’ in the world, you still have your written words 🙂

  2. I love hand-written journals. I still have my journal from the first year after I moved to Canada and I love to read it. I started another journal after my kids were born and I do not write in it as much, but I try to write all the important things and memories.

  3. I still have a handwritten journal. I do not use it as often as I used to, but do treasure it and post to it from time to time. I especially adore reading over old posts – it is always amazing to see the issues so heavy on my heart at the time from my new perspective.

    • Ah yes! Looking back at old journals gives you a strong sense of how you’ve grown as a person, and a unique perspective on the problems life throws our way – ultimately, nothing is as earth shattering as it seems, we learn, move & grow from all of life’s knocks.

  4. I still have a handwritten journal – and it’s true, the (in my case *tea*) stains, little added in clippings, notes do make it all the more meaningful and “real”. However, with carparal tunnel I tend to have numb hands – and writing on computer is so much easier! So I print out my computer journal pages, binder them up, and add in other scribblings and such. Not quite the same – but nice 🙂

  5. I know exactly how you feel! I just recently started writing in a journal again. I feel that doing that will help me become a better writer & have even posted some of my entries on my blog. However, my Droid has taken on a much larger role in terms of keeping track of quotes, important info & starter writing topics if I’m not near my journal.

    • Yes, it’s so much easier to whip out my iPhone and jot down bits & bobs throughout the day. But if real inspiration strikes – instead of the one or two lines I usually get and then nada, which I suspect is because I’m typing not writing – it’s hard to type on it for prolonged periods of time.

  6. I’m not sure why, but my pen has issues meeting the paper and yet my fingers glide across the keyboard, so I usually do it all digitally now. There are plenty of times when I really wish writing it out was easier for me!

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