A diary, or journal, is a permanent personal record that is kept of events, thoughts, and ideas associated with an individual. While some cultures think of diaries as being mainly a female pastime, the fact is that journaling or keeping a diary is an activity that people of both genders engage in regularly. Keeping a diary is an excellent means of documenting experiences and ideas that will have meaning later in life or possibly be of importance to the next generation.
In many instances, keeping a diary is something that people choose to do in secret. The thoughts and ideas that are captured in the text of a diary are often considered private and confidential. For that reason, people who do choose to keep a diary over a number of years may only choose to share certain parts of the recorded text with people they know and trust to maintain that confidence.
Lock diaries are one way that people sometimes choose to prevent anyone from reading confidential diary entries. Because the lock usually requires a key, it is difficult if not impossible to open the diary by any other method without leaving proof that the diary has been tampered with. For the most part, a diary with a lock is enough to deter most people from attempting to read the contents.
There is no one proper way to keep a diary. Some people choose to utilize a diary as a means of recording day to day events, sometimes noting experiences that were out of the ordinary. Other people choose to write in a diary only when something new and exciting occurs in their lives. While not a daily recitation of events, the diary does provide a means of preserving memories associated with important happenings, such as births, deaths, marriages, promotions and other experiences that are likely to be of importance even after many years have passed.
For some people, a diary is a form of therapy that may help the individual to get through a crisis. People who undergo a life-changing experience such as the death of a loved one or a divorce are sometimes urged by counselors to utilize a diary as a means of allowing pent up emotions to have some type of outlet. The ability to put down emotions and thoughts that are hard to share with another person in written form may help the individual to undergo a catharsis of sorts and begin to move along in the healing process.
While the process for keeping a diary once involved securing a private journal with blank pages waiting to be filled with text, that is no longer the case. With the advent of computers and various types of voice technology, people now choose to journal in a number of different mediums. A diary can be created using word processing software and saved as a file. One of the advantages of this approach is that it is possible to conduct a keyword search of the document in order to quickly locate any recorded thoughts or feelings connected with a given event or experience.
Audio diaries are also popular alternatives to the handwritten diary. With modern voice communications, it is possible to create an audio file that can be saved on a computer or some other electronic storage device like a CD-R. This approach can be especially exciting for families who maintain an ongoing history, as it means that later generations can hear about the experiences of their forebears in the actual voices of the people who had the experiences.