Do you remember locking your bedroom door to write top secret thoughts in your diary? Does it make you cringe when you think of your angst ridden musings or detailed accounts of a latest crush? As we get older we tend to discard the diary as a tool to record our daily thoughts, but looking back on our entries (if we can bear to look at them) it can be extremely thought provoking, cathartic and entertaining.
We asked a whole array of high profile bloggers and journalists from places like Vogue magazine to tell us what they used to write in their early diaries.
" 'Write clear and hard about what hurts' is a personal favourite from Hemingway. My diary has always been something sacred to me: a place of deepest secrets and colourful thoughts. I most certainly wouldn't want it to be read! I have kept a diary all my life - the old ones trigger memories and details and show you how far you've travelled along your journey." Davina Catt, Documentary Director & Freelance Vogue, FT and Interview Magazine
Dealing with typical everyday life situations can often be the most meaningful, and helpful to document.
“8th September 1994…Today was an excellent day because there were so many things going on at school. The thing that was really funny was that there was a fight about shoes. They were some smelly dusty shoes. So I don't understand why.' Krystle, 11 years old”……Funny enough, shoes mattered as much in 1994 as they do in 2016. Krystle Jones - The Shoe Social Network
“I had my first diary when I was aged 5! As a travel journalist now it seems only fitting that it was about my holiday - my mum and I would talk about what we'd done during the day and she would write a line and I would copy underneath and then draw a picture to illustrate the text. I wrote a diary pretty much from that point onwards. I've often considered burning my now embarrassing teenage diaries but I'm hoping I can one day get to the point where they're funny and interesting and not just cringe-making! I would write and write about my day, about the boys I liked and even record full conversations using different colours for what I said and what he said. In fact, thinking about it now makes me want to start a bonfire asap!! I do really think that all that writing, jounral after journal of it, has helped define me today and the fact I've become a journalist and blogger!” Nichola Editor - Globalmouse Travels
“I still have a few of the diaries I kept as a teenager in the 1980s and they make me absolutely cringe to read them back (which I did recently following a divorce and subsequent house move)…………..They include my girlie ramblings about scores of teenage boys…locks being placed on the house phone by my dad to prevent me calling my then boyfriend for hours on end, inevitable heartbreak after being dumped via my best friend by the afore-mentioned first love, shock at having to pay £3 for a pinafore dress from Chelsea Girl, moans about my parents grounding me in those pre-mobile phone days, best mates and their equally shambolic love lives, the last days of O-levels. There's an extract too about me being invited to watch a pirate video at my best friend J's house and initially saying no because I didn't like films about pirates. Turns out it was E.T. and I wrote about the whole neighbourhood, it seemed, squeezing into J's living room to watch our first ever video showing in a terribly fuzzy, jumpy, black and white screening of the movie. Ruth Supple, Image Magazines Editor & JP Women's Page Editor
“As a child I used to be given those girlie diaries that came with a little padlock and key, so that my most private thoughts would remain secret. Secret from who I wonder and what could I possibly have had to say that would need to be kept so hush-hush?! I was at a girls' boarding school, so I think my furtive scribblings would have been about what I ate for breakfast, lunch and tea! And maybe the odd confession – I was forever developing crushes! But I loved those diaries and was always thrilled with the idea of filling in all those blank pages (there were also pockets for bits and pieces like... what...? Bus tickets? Pressed flowers? Who knows now?” Belinda Morris, Editor, The Jeweller
“8th January 1992 Dear Diary. School was great today until Tom pulled my hair and tripped me over. I thought he was my friend. I had chocolate ice cream and walked home with Gemma. She said Tom likes me. He doesn't act like it……8th January 2016. Take clothes to dry cleaners. Make opticians appointment……………………..Although the content may have changed over the last few decades in my diary, one thing has remained the same. Every single year I get a new diary. Looking back at my old diaries, I wish for that carefree youth that I had where life was so simple. These days, I'm more of a list maker rather than a dream chaser but I always look forward to January where I can write 'This Diary Belongs To...' Anoushka, AnoushkaLoves.com
“My diary……Woe betide anyone who put their mitts on my diary, 'Hopes & Dreams, aged 13’. Although had they managed to procure it from under the mattress of my cabin bed, they would have been largely disappointed that the grandiose Hopes & Dreams mainly consisted of missives such as ‘Had school dinners today, I could almost suck the veg through my teeth…’ My teenage diary was really just a summary of exactly how dull life was in a small town comprehensive Anna-Louise Dearden, Muddy Stilettos
Perfect diary fodder, detailing our early crushes and relationships allows us to explore new emotions that can feel so private.
“I don’t normally reply to this kind of email but yours struck a chord because when I was putting the Christmas decorations away in the loft I found some of my old diaries and spent the night reading them. I kept diaries throughout my teenage years, which were filled with boys, boys and boys, plus some broken friendships and plenty of teenage angst thrown in. It was quite emotional reading them again - most of my problems were very trivial in retrospect, but there is so much that I had forgotten. I now give my daughter a diary each Christmas and encourage her to fill it in so that when she is older she will hopefully have the same fond memories reading her teenage musings. Unfortunately, my diary now only contains meetings and birthdays!” Claire Roberts, Managing Editor, The Jewellery Editor
“I was actually very careful about what I wrote in my teenage diary because I think I was always cognisant that my Mother might find it and read it! She had a tendency to make occasional raids on my teenage bedroom! Certainly I was so embarrassed and ashamed and self-conscious about the first boy I was infatuated with aged 14 and 15 (the captain of the school football team) that I never wrote anything down about him, or if I did it was heavily codified. Subsequently of course, in my thirties and forties I have found myself fascinated with those nascent teenage barely documented yearnings and my second novel ‘Skirting the margins’…..revisited a lot of the feelings I had covertly written about in my teenage diary - intense infatuation, yearning, unrequited love, heartache. Looking back I was such a typical teenager - wracked with angst and very militantly profound in my thoughts and emotions!” Bethan Cole, Freelance for Vogue, Sunday Times Style, US Elle, Independent, Telegraph
“I used to keep a list at the back of my diary with the names of all the boys I had crushes on. There would generally be about three at any one time until they got angrily crossed out and replaced with someone new. It spilled on to two pages by the end of the year.” Olivia Pinnock, Freelance Fashion Journalist & Copywriter
“My first diary when I was 13 was pink and lockable, God forbid my mother would read about my crushes on the local builders. I used a biro that had 20 rotating colours in it, using a different colour for different emotions, trouble was after the first 6 I could never remember which colour was for what and just wrote in black because I WAS VERY ANGRY.” Peta Hunt, Editor at Large, You & Your Wedding
"My diary entries were laden with boys, dramas and broken hearts. I used to completely fill the dates with something fun that had happened. When it was something a bit naughty, I used to write it down on a separate piece of paper, fold it origami-style and place it on the day with my favourite holographic stickers. That way, I felt my secrets were kept even safer!” Dani Dutra, So Many Lovely Things
“I had a diary in my first year of high school. I was so excited about the idea of going to high school, I thought I was going to have a new life, and lots of new friends. Though I was shy and into myself, I got really excited whenever someone from a different year or class spoke to me. I used to write these conversations in my diary. As well as conversations I wanted to have with others but too shy to speak to, just in case the opportunity came up, I already had my script ;).” Bankè , Founder & Editor A Style Diary
Even from a young age, a diary is a great place to plan for the future.
“I loved opening a brand new diary in the New Year, and would quickly fill it with diary entries for January. Into the next months of the year, I'd usually use my diary to make lists, fantasise about my goals for the rest of the year, or imagine where I might be in 10 years time. I loved the potential of a new diary, that I could write about my day, and how I wanted to change my life in the future. I still love writing lists of my goals now!” Alice Brazier
“In my thirties I used the Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Fountain Pen… I was very very pretentious ! It was huge and heavy, but note taking and diary keeping took on an air of me trying to look like I had something to say, like I was writing something deep and substantial. Finding a few old diaries in the attic whilst rummaging the other day my dreams of modern day Peypshood crashed to the floor as the beautifully written pages contained nothing but … must do's, shopping lists and appointments. Style over content wins again.” Peta Hunt, Editor at Large, You & Your Wedding
“My name is Sarah and I am a stationery geek and obsessive list-maker. There, I’ve said it. I fill my large collection of leather journals not with thoughts, dreams and details of my day but neat – and frighteningly comprehensive - lists. From weekend errands and work projects to treats I want to buy, books I plan to read and TV shows I want to download, there’s never a day when I don’t have at least six lists on the go, adding and crossing out when inspiration strikes. Looking back at some of my teenage journals, it’s rather comforting to see that this habit took a hold of me when I was young and hasn’t changed much over the years. My lists back then were sketchy blueprints for mix tapes (Duran Duran mainly but don’t tell anyone), exotic places I hoped to visit one day (where exactly IS Timbuktu?) and an early version of The World’s Sexiest Men list (Kevin Bacon: then, now, always). In this digital age of tweets and filters and status updates, it’s nice to know that some things stay the same. Top of my 2016 list? Book that trip to Timbuktu…” Sarah Drew Jones, Malthus Media
“I used to... write poetry in 3 different languages! Seriously! Some of my poems & short stories have since been published in 2 books and I think I got some diplomas for them when I was at school, come to think of it! I honestly think they got such a warm reception back then because they were written from my heart. :) In terms of doodles, I used to sketch fashion designs. Continuously. You'll laugh but actually a whole lot of my fashion sketches ended up being displayed in my school's art gallery. Goodness, I really was banking on my emotions - now that I look back” Edita Losovska, Pret a Reporter
“At one point my diary was a mix of log, scrapbook and diary, I couldn’t even close it, so full it was. I put people’s birthdays and exam dates down, loaded with doodles, photos, cuttings and little mementos, stuck them with colourful paper clips and at points, even had people’s locks of hair in there. Weird!” Dani Dutra, So Many Lovely Things