When I was a boy I didn’t keep a journal because back then I didn’t know what a journal was, I knew what a diary was. Diaries were kept by girls, not boys in my mind. I thought about starting one and calling it a log book. Later I learned that another term was journal, but I still hesitated because even though I could call it a journal, I knew it was a diary.
Diaries were for spewing the innermost thoughts and secrets and feelings – something girls had in abundance – all the whispering and giggling in class was proof of that – but boys not so much.
I wanted to record the manly version of that stuff and clearly that was different. Little did I know how little difference there was. Ah the social constructs that were defined for us as kids.
How many years did I cheat myself out of useful insight by this silliness? Too many.
The most ridiculous part of this is that some of the most bad-ass diaries in existence were those kept by the men of the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica, including a year stuck on elephant island (a year!). Those men didn’t keep journals, they called them diaries. Even if they’d been pink and written in lavender ink in a pen with a furry ball on top they were still people who endured a life of unbelievable hardship, and managed to write about it.
What it’s called doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get started.