Three famous writers on why they keep a journal

Need some more inspiration? Here are what three famous writers have to say about keeping a journal.

But our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I.’

— Joan Didion, “On Keeping a Notebook,” Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things — childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves — that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.

— Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991

Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point. It is a difficult point to admit. We are brought up in the ethic that others, any others, all others, are by definition more interesting than ourselves; taught to be diffident, just this side of self-effacing. … Only the very young and the very old may recount their dreams at breakfast, dwell upon self, interrupt with memories of beach picnics and favorite Liberty lawn dresses and the rainbow trout in a creek near Colorado Springs. The rest of us are expected, rightly, to affect absorption in other people’s favorite dresses, other people’s trout.

— Joan Didion, “On Keeping a Notebook,” Slouching Toward Bethlehem

What is your favorite quote about journal writing?

About the author

SE is a 30-something blogger based in Pennsylvania. Her very first loves were reading and writing. NerdyWordy is her way of sharing her enthusiasm with others.

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