Difference Between Journal And Diary


Most of the people around think that diary and journal are the same. But there is a clear difference between both. A diary is meant to record events as these happen, while a journal is to explore the ideas taking shape.

Quick comparison of diary and journal:

Do you want to learn more about the differences between diaries and journals to understand which one is best for you?  Let’s have a look at below:

Theme of the book

Here are some ideas about the theme of a book:

  1. Fashion and Style
  2. Food and Nutrition
  3. Work and Career
  4. Fitness and workout

What to put in a diary?

Here are the ideas for what would you put in your diary for above-mentioned themes respectively:

  1. Itemized list of what you wear today.
  2. A record of eaten food and how you felt by having that.
  3. Tasks, meetings, appointments, etc. you accomplished today.
  4. your physical activity’s record.

What to put in the journal?

Here are the ideas for what would you put in your journal for above-mentioned themes respectively:

  1. Some new recipes that you want to try.
  2. Designer bags’ photographs or magazine’s clips
  3. Your career goals aspirations and dreams
  4. Notes about how to perform certain workouts.

What are the differences between a diary and journal?

More often, diaries and journals are used interchangeably but there is a difference between both. Let’s explore the main difference between both with examples. So that understanding the purpose of each writing book can be easier for you.

What is the purpose of a Diary?

A diary is a type of book that is being used to record certain things that happened at a specific day, more likely. You can use it to record feelings, emotions and moods too. Not only this, a diary can also be useful to track data. so that you can make an important discovery with ease.

For example:

  • If you are writing a food and nutrition themed diary, then this might help you to unleash some effective sources causing you migraine headaches in a more effective way.
  • However, if you are writing your workout routine in a diary then this can help you in tracking your certain exercise habits. It can help you understand whether there is a connection between whether you are active or not on a certain day with your mood.

As per Walter Scott:

What’s a diary as per rule? A document that’s useful for the person keeping it. Dull for the reader, who reads it and completely invaluable for the person treasured centuries afterward.

What is the purpose of a journal?

On the other hand, contents of a journal are not constrained by certain dates on a calendar. Because these are the type books that are meant to be used to add random thoughts, ideas, lists, pictures, memories, doodles, lyrics or anything else that you want to write down.

For example:

  • A journal is something where you can keep your thoughts, rough notes, drafts, sketches and ideas, etc.

Diary vs. journal, which one is for you?

Whenever it comes to understanding whether you should choose a diary or journal, it more often depends on how disciplined you are.

If you want to write on a regular basis, no matter what, then having a diary with dated pages can be the best option for you. However, if you are the one who would prefer more organic and creative experience, then a journal with no-dated pages can be an amazing option for you to go with.

Does a difference between diary and journal really matter?

Well, most of the people around might be thinking that does a difference in diary and journal actually matter? The simple and straight answer to the question is “No”, it does not matter which of these formats you want to choose, as long as whatever you chose is working right for you and your needs.

Writing whether in a journal or in a diary has the ability to let you organize your thoughts in a more effective way. Not only this, writing can also let you feel more balanced.

What does research say about expressive writing?

Scientists have agreed to the following statement actually:

“As per a research study that was published in Royal College of Psychiatrists; expressive writing has the ability to result in long-term improvements in both physical and emotional well-being of a person.”

Researchers also believe that writing on a daily basis can make you smarter. Even more, daily writing practices have the ability to improve the academic performance of students.

It does not matter whether you are choosing to write about your past in your routine diary or want to write down your future dreams in your motivational journal. The act of getting some time out of your routine on a regular basis to focus your attention on yourself only for some time, can let you enjoy both physical and mental health benefits.

In a nutshell, there is nothing wrong or right in the debate of journal vs diary, because whichever form of book you feel can work for you and your writing needs is the right one for you.

“As per Natalie Goldberg, whatever you are keeping writing as a meditation or a journal, it is the same thing. Because what is important is having an effective relationship with your mind.”

Final thoughts:

Even though most of the people are using the terms diary and journal interchangeably, there is a difference between both. A diary is meant to record things happening on a certain day. While, a journal is all about adding random ideas, thoughts, sketches, and drafts, etc.

However, when it comes to choose between a diary and journal for you, then the difference between them doesn’t actually affect your writing choice actually. You can go with any of the options you find right for your writing needs, because the objective of writing here is developing a relationship with your mind to bring improvements in your life.

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