Ellyn's Reviews > The New Diary: How to use a journal for self-guidance and expanded creativity

The New Diary by Tristine Rainer
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's review
Jan 12, 2012

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Recommended for: Beginning journallers, those who are spiritually-inclined

I don't quite remember how or when I got this book — I think it was for sale in a horribly stuffy second-hand bookshop for a couple dollars — but it was very, very important to me when I was 13 or so.

If I'd have written this review back then, I would have given it five stars. Now, however... there are times when I'll pick it up and read a section, and depending on the section in question I might be inspired or irritated by it. The main problem I have with books of this sort, nowadays, (and why I keep reading them is a little beyond me, but I think there's a touch of self-indulging, narcissistic pleasure in there somewhere) is the amount of what I think of as being (and I understand this may sound a bit critical, and I know some people thrive on this stuff, but it's honestly how I feel) self-helpy spiritual woo they contain. This appealed to me when I was younger. Not so much anymore.

When I write in a journal, I like to write in it — I write a lot, I write on all kinds of topics, and at the end of the day I have neither the time nor the patience to bother with such exercises as getting-in-touch-with-Older-Self, or Younger-Self, or Dreaming-Self, or Wiser-Self, or what-have-you. In my own personal experience, such exercises irritate far, far more often than they ever bring "insight". In fact, I can't stand actually going into a journal entry holding in mind that I should complete this-or-that exercise in this entry; I simply do what I do, and it's fun.

Now, I understand that Rainer's message is that the diary is, in the end, whatever the hell you want it to be — and that's great! I agree with that entirely! If you want your diary to be filled with letters-to-self, or long-dead-friends, or dream-musings or single word entries or wildly chaotic scribbles or whatever your interest might be, wonderful! In that sense, her book is great, and I am entirely with her. However, I find little value in the rest of the book anymore.
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message 1: by Debbie (new)

Debbie D Thank you for your review. Helped me decide not to purchase this book since I already feel my diary should be a bunch of different types of writing. Basically whatever I feel like doing or writing at the moment.

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