Thursday 22 February 2018

The thing is... Your thirty second guide to everything: Fancy Diary-Keeping

Illustration: Eorna Walton
Illustration: Eorna Walton

Emily Hourican

What: What, indeed? Journal-keeping is back, but it has upgraded itself, and will now apparently help not just with productivity and organisation, but mental and emotional health, too.

Why: Handwritten notebooks are back, in all their glory. The days of wanting everything in our lives synched and 'in the cloud' are gone - for now, anyway - and many of us are turning back to the humble diary or notebook. Except that it has become a lot less humble.

Why Now: There is growing evidence to suggest that notes made in your own fair hand enter the brain in a way that tapping these same notes onto a screen do not. Add to that the fairly-well-researched benefits of writing about traumatic or emotional events, both before and after they occur, and the reasons to write things down are compelling.

How: That depends on you. You can keep a simple journal, or you can go all fancy and add colours, codes, sketches and quotes, so that it becomes not just a to-do list or record of your daily thoughts, but an entire system to direct, shape and detail your life. Oh, and don't forget to photograph pages of your carefully curated and illustrated checklists and display them on Instagram - we may be done with online diaries, but we are definitely not done with online boasting.

Who: Carey Mulligan, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Aniston are all sold on the benefits of keeping a diary. Virginia Woolf believed that writing 'just to write' would 'loosen the ligaments', while Susan Sontag insisted that all diaries, fundamentally, are written not for oneself, but to be read by others.

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