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On January 10, 2023, Prince Harry published his own personal memoir called “Spare”. It has 27,000+ reviews, and about 80% of the them are positive.

You look at the title, Spare, and you read the articles that describe the book, and you really get a sense that Prince Harry had written his book for his own personal therapy.

Articles talk about how his wife is not going on the book tours with him. They talk about if it will or will not affect his brand or image in Hollywood. They also talk about his wife, is she good, is she bad, is she running his life? But in reality, Harry had issues with his family that go back to way before he met his wife. I am not going to talk about what has been said in articles and in the book, but yea, you can easily see how those experiences can affect a person negatively.

There are only three ways to handle such situations. You can write about them privately. You can write about them publicly. Or you can turn to drugs and alcohol and other societal vices.

Traditional Diary … Dear Diary

When I was growing up … those many years ago, people wrote in traditional paper diaries. “Dear Diary … Tom Hanks is just sooooo cute.” Or whatever else a tween / teenage person wants to write about. It was considered normal and accepted for girls to have diaries (or if you want to be more formal), journals … where they talked about their feelings and experiences.

For men, it wasn’t as much as a thing. Or maybe that was another one of those lies that I used to believe. From the article “30 Days to a Better Man Day 8: Start a Journal”

My grandpa, Bill Hurst, was a journal writer his entire life. His journal was quite simple. He just kept a small notebook in the pocket of his pearl snap shirts and jotted down a short description of the things he did and the people he did it with. This is something he did pretty much every day for his entire life. About 12 years ago, my grandpa took all these diaries and daily journal entries and began to write his memoir for his children and grandchildren. The finished product was a 500 page behemoth filled with stories from my grandfather’s life.

So it is not the traditional “Diary with a lock” that we associate with teenage girls, but the concept is still the same.

One of the most famous Journal writers was Laura Ingalls Wilder that became the source of the “Little House on the Prairie” book series.

Great men that kept journals

  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Charles Darwin
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Captain Cook
  • Winston Churchill
  • Sir Edmund Hilary
  • Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

One of the things they did not teach me in elementary school – great people keep diaries/journals.

But what about in more recent times? Have you noticed that most people who apply for the job of President of the United States write a book? Sometimes it is just their views on different topics and what they would do “if they were President”. But other times, they are memoirs of their life.

  • Barack Obama
  • Donald Trump
  • Joseph Biden, “Promises to keep: On life and politics” (2007)

So whether Prince Harry wrote his memoir as a stepping stone to other things, or just because it was a form of personal therapy … in 2023, who knows. But if you agree or disagree with his writing his life story in a memoir is irrelevant, because … it is his life.

How to journal in 2023

In 2023, there are more options for writing a journal than simply writing in a notebook in your pocket.

  • Fancy hardcover book — Personally, there is something different about writing in a physical journal, especially when it is a nice hardcover book. I always got my kids journals, but I usually chose a no lined version, so they would have the option to use it for drawing (another great form of personal therapy).
  • WordProcessor — You can use MS Word, Google Docs, Libreoffice, etc. It can be as simple as typing or you can easily add graphics and video and audio files.
  • TextEditor (eg. NotePad) — It is just text. But sometimes you need to clear your mind, and with no options for drawing or playing with fonts and colors … well, it can leave you limited. On the plus side, if you just want to write, it can leave you undistracted.
  • Microsoft OneNote — It has sections and pages. You can easily drop in text with the reference automatically included. If your writing style is more note jotting (including images and video and audio), this may be a good option. You even have the option to include page background templates.
  • WordPress — It is blogging software. Although people think about it as “public facing”, it does not have to be. You can also install a local version that is “just for your eyes only”.
  • Wikipedia — If your writing style is more of a write, edit, write, edit … over a period time … then a wiki format might be more your style.
  • Picture journal — The focus is drawing instead of writing.

All of those options that I listed above are great options, but they are more of the private focus. You are writing for yourself and you have zero intention that anybody else is going to write them. Unless you decide later in life to write a memoir … but then, it is going to pick and choose items and lots of editing before making the final book.

But the thing about journaling is that it is usually done on a regular basis. Usually it is written once a day. Sometimes if somebody is trying to get out of rut, they will dedicate time for complaining and time for positive thoughts. For example, you set a timer for 5 minutes, and that is your B—- time. You get it out of your system. Then you again set the time, and you spend an equal amount of time trying to write something positive. Usually, once you have gotten the negatives out of your system, your mind gets cleared and you are ready to take on the positives.

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