What’s the Difference Between a Journal and a Diary?

Ever wonder what’s the difference between a journal and a diary?

Journaling and writing in a diary have blow up in the last few years and it seems like everyone is doing it for their own reasons. Many people think that they are the same and that the words can be used interchangeably, but they are different, and each has its own purpose.

If you are wondering what the difference is between a journal and a diary, let us go over what each of them are made for, their intended uses, and their different setups. Afterwards, you may be able to help figure out which one is right for you or if you can benefit from both.

notebook and a pen on a table and a text saying, "What's the difference between a journal and a diary?"

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What is a diary and how is it used?

If you were to Google the definition of “diary”, you will find that it states a diary is a book which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences.

In the Oxford dictionary, it states the definition of a diary is a book in which you can write down the experiences you have each day, your private thoughts, etc.

Your First Journal or Diary Must-haves

So you must be thinking of starting your very first journal or diary right now. We have very good recommendations on the things you must have. You got it!

The Happy Planner HMK Photo Journal RUSTC BLMS, Rustic BloomsThe Happy Planner HMK Photo Journal RUSTC BLMS, Rustic BloomsThe Happy Planner Disney Daily Notebook for Office, School or Journaling – 60 Sheet Dot Lined Paper with 3 DividersThe Happy Planner Disney Daily Notebook for Office, School or Journaling – 60 Sheet Dot Lined Paper with 3 DividersCute Color Pens for Women Toshine Colorful Gel Ink Pens Multi Colored Pens for Bullet Journal Writing Roller Ball Fine Point PensCute Color Pens for Women Toshine Colorful Gel Ink Pens Multi Colored Pens for Bullet Journal Writing Roller Ball Fine Point PensThe Happy Planner Value Pack Sticker Sheets - Scrapbooking Supplies - Bookish Theme - Multicolor - Great for Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums - 680 StickersThe Happy Planner Value Pack Sticker Sheets – Scrapbooking Supplies – Bookish Theme – Multicolor – Great for Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums – 680 StickersThe Happy Planner Value Pack Sticker Sheets - Scrapbooking Supplies - Mood Tracker & Mental Health Theme - Multicolor - Great for Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums - 689 StickersThe Happy Planner Value Pack Sticker Sheets – Scrapbooking Supplies – Mood Tracker & Mental Health Theme – Multicolor – Great for Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums – 689 StickersThe Happy Planner Sticker Value Pack - Planner Accessories - Sophisticated Florals Theme - Multi-Color - Great for Planning, Project & Scrapbooking - 30 Sheets, 366 StickersThe Happy Planner Sticker Value Pack – Planner Accessories – Sophisticated Florals Theme – Multi-Color – Great for Planning, Project & Scrapbooking – 30 Sheets, 366 Stickers

 

When to use a diary

When you open a diary, you will notice that the setup of a page includes a space for the date and then a place for you to write. You will also notice that you do not have a lot of room to write. This is because it is set up for you to only short bit of your daily experiences on a daily schedule.

The experiences you write about in a diary are personal experiences. When you write about your personal experiences you also typically write about how you felt about those experiences. There is much more emotion involved with diaries.

This is one of the biggest things that makes a journal different from a diary. A diary is all about sharing your personal experiences and emotions.

picture of a woman writing on a notebook and a text saying, "What's the difference between a journal and a diary?"

What is a journal?

A journal is defined a few different ways when you look up the definition of it.

  • A newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject for professional activity.
  • A written record of things you do or see every day.
  • A daily record, as of occurrences, experiences, or observations.

Journals can have a variety of different uses but one of the most popular ways to use a journal is to use it for exploring ideas, challenging yourself, keeping track of goals, and keeping a log of something.

When to use a journal

Unlike a diary, a journal is not dated, so you really have a blank space to start with. Starting with a blank space or empty lines without any dates allows you to be creative and write about anything that you want. Also, with a journal, it doesn’t have to be an everyday thing, you can write it in when you please.

For instance, if you enjoy traveling you may keep a travel journal to keep track of your travel experiences. You may also use a journal for recording your dreams and interpretations, ideas for various things, or any goals that you want to keep track of or reach for.

Bullet journals are a great example of how a journal differs between a diary and have become extremely popular over the years. A bullet journal gives you a blank, lined, or dotted page that you can customize and create. It gives you the opportunity to artistically make your own pages and customize them to whatever you are looking for.

Are there benefits to writing in a journal or diary?

Yes! Research has shown that there are many benefits to writing in a diary or journal.

  • Writing about your experiences and your thoughts will help you clear your mind.
  • It makes you happier and can help you feel better.
  • Writing can help you think and explore.

Recommended Guided Journals for Moms

There are countless memories that a mom and a child share and because they are so many, we tend to forget the little details. This is why writing in a journal helps keep the memories intact. We have awesome guided journal recommendations to help you document those precious moments.

Stories for My Child (Guided Journal): A Mother's Memory JournalStories for My Child (Guided Journal): A Mother’s Memory JournalMom's Life Story Journal: Guided Prompts to Capture Your Memories and Share StoriesMom’s Life Story Journal: Guided Prompts to Capture Your Memories and Share StoriesThree-Year Mom Journal: One Question a Day to Prompt Reflection and Record MemoriesThree-Year Mom Journal: One Question a Day to Prompt Reflection and Record MemoriesBetween Mom and Me: A Guided Journal for Mother and Son (Easter basket stuffer, Journals for Boys, motherhood books)Between Mom and Me: A Guided Journal for Mother and Son (Easter basket stuffer, Journals for Boys, motherhood books)Mom, I Want to Hear Your Story: A Mother’s Guided Journal To Share Her Life & Her Love (Hear Your Story Books)Mom, I Want to Hear Your Story: A Mother’s Guided Journal To Share Her Life & Her Love (Hear Your Story Books)Between Mom and Me Journal for Boys: Mom and Son Journal for Young Kids. Guided Journal for Teenage Boys to Share, Connect and Grow Emotional Bonds Between Mother and SonBetween Mom and Me Journal for Boys: Mom and Son Journal for Young Kids. Guided Journal for Teenage Boys to Share, Connect and Grow Emotional Bonds Between Mother and Son

 

Should you write in a journal or a diary?

Figuring out which one is right for you all depends on what you are looking to get out of it.

If you are looking for a structured writing experience that you do every day and want it to be personal, you will want to choose a diary.

On the other hand, if you are looking to record your experiences without any kind of specific structure, a journal will give you more freedom to write about what you want or keep track of things.

More Journaling Tips

The Ultimate List of Quotes to Add to Your Journal or Planner

16 Reasons You Should Write in Your Journal Everyday

Do you need a Journal, Diary, Planner or Calendar?

Should You Journal in Pen or Pencil?

11 Life-changing Journaling Tips for Beginners by Simply + Fiercely

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