pretty young woman notes diary

Do you keep a sketchbook or diary?

March 23, 2018
  • Yes
  • No

In an era where digital devices dominate our daily communications and records, the question of whether to maintain a traditional sketchbook or diary might seem quaint. However, the choice to keep a personal journal, whether through sketches or written entries, remains profoundly relevant. This article explores the nuances of why individuals might choose to keep a sketchbook or diary, as well as why some may opt not to, highlighting the distinct benefits and considerations of each option.

The Case for Keeping a Sketchbook or Diary

Emotional and Psychological Benefits

For many, the act of writing or sketching in a personal book serves as a therapeutic exercise. It’s a private space where thoughts and emotions can be processed without judgment. According to a survey, a significant portion of individuals find that maintaining a diary helps in managing anxiety and depression, providing a safe zone for self-expression and reflection. The act of writing or drawing can slow down your thinking, allowing for deeper self-exploration and stress relief.

Enhancing Creativity and Memory

Sketchbooks are not just tools for artists but are also used by designers, engineers, and anyone interested in visual thinking. They offer a tangible way to capture ideas and inspirations, which can be revisited and refined over time. Similarly, diaries can enhance verbal expression and vocabulary. Regularly jotting down memories and thoughts can improve memory retention and comprehension. Leonardo da Vinci, known for his boundless creativity, kept extensive notebooks filled with sketches, scientific diagrams, and observations. These were not only invaluable for his artistic and scientific pursuits but also continue to be a source of inspiration and knowledge centuries later.

Setting and Achieving Goals

Diaries often serve as a record of personal growth and goal setting. Writing down goals significantly increases the likelihood of achieving them. A diary can track progress and setbacks in a structured way, enabling the writer to see patterns and make adjustments to their strategies and habits.

The Case for Not Keeping a Sketchbook or Diary

Digital Convenience

In the digital age, smartphones and tablets offer convenient alternatives to traditional sketchbooks and diaries. Apps designed for note-taking, sketching, and journaling can store vast amounts of data, searchable and easily organized. For those who prioritize convenience and efficiency, digital tools might outweigh the tactile pleasure and nostalgia of paper journals.

Privacy Concerns

The fear of personal thoughts being exposed can deter some from keeping a physical diary or sketchbook. In a survey, many individuals expressed concerns over privacy, particularly if their journal were to be lost or found by someone else. Digital alternatives often offer enhanced security features, such as encryption and passwords, which can alleviate these fears.

Time Constraints

Modern life is often hectic, with tightly packed schedules and competing demands. For some, finding the time to sit down and write or draw in a diary or sketchbook is a significant challenge. Busy individuals might find it impractical to dedicate time to such activities when other pressing matters require attention.

Balancing the Scales

While the benefits of keeping a sketchbook or diary are significant, they are not without their challenges. It requires a commitment of time, a comfort with solitude and reflection, and a willingness to confront and articulate one’s inner thoughts and visions. On the other hand, choosing not to maintain one can free up time, reduce worries about privacy, and lean on modern technology for convenience and efficiency.

Cultural Reflections

The choice of whether to keep a diary or sketchbook can also reflect broader cultural trends and personal milestones. In films like “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” we see the titular character use her diary as a tool for personal growth and humor, navigating through life’s ups and downs. Similarly, historical figures such as Anne Frank and Samuel Pepys used their diaries to document their lives in times of turmoil and everyday existence, providing future generations with valuable insights into their epochs.


Whether to keep a sketchbook or diary is a personal choice that offers unique benefits and faces its own set of challenges. For those who choose to capture their life’s sketches and scripts, the value is often found in the act itself—as a medium for self-expression and preservation of the thoughts that define their personal and creative journeys. For others, modern solutions fulfill their needs effectively, aligning better with their lifestyle and preferences. Ultimately, the decision is deeply personal and reflects one’s approach to life’s complexities and treasures.

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