I’ve kept a few diaries whilst I’ve been abroad, starting in Chile. I found it a good way to de-stress at the end of the day and spend some time in my own little world after being surrounded by people all day at school or in the internado. I could lie down, snuggled up in the covers, change my handwriting on every page and write about the mundane things that happened on that day. I started my current diary in India…two weeks after I’d arrived. somehow I always manage to start my diary a good few weeks after I arrive in a new place, it’s never on the first day.
Now I’m in the long process of catching up on my year abroad diary. I’m still six weeks behind and it’s really frustrating at times, well all the time, especially as some of my daily notes to help me remember what I did on those days are more like clues that I have to decipher for example:
- wup early do nada 11 go bus DESTINATION UNKNOWN． park kites field marriage corn. cute girls are u foreign? bus windy chicken on stick. squat toilet. chill chat
- holiday. Matilda, dye, yoghurt, blossom, spring
- write essay for AA* think about life choices, no decision made.
Whereas before in Chile, my diary was a type of escapism now it’s a little like a chore. I have a lot of free time in the afternoons at university in China and I normally spend this time alone doing homework, watching TV or “sorting out my life”. I’m never that motivated to write my diary as I already have a lot of time by myself and although when I start to write I enjoy it, finding the motivation to get started is difficult.
Do you have any ideas on what can motivate me to write on a daily basis? I am determined to keep up with my diary as I don’t know when I’ll next be in China. Some things that have happened here also have to be documented somewhere as they have been outrageously funny, strange or cute. It might sound silly, but I think when learning languages it’s really important to keep up with your mother language. I can now write passages in Chinese about things that have happened to me but I don’t want to forget my English grammar.
Maybe being constantly six-seven weeks behind is holding me back. Right now I have 70 days of life to write up and leaflets, receipts and tickets to stick into my diary. If I sit down for an hour to write, I can normally write two or three days worth of entries but then I don’t write again for another four days, setting me back again.
It’s not really writer’s block as all I have to write is what I did/saw/experienced on that day, which I all have in note form. I have the inspiration, the facts, the memories, the paper and the different coloured pens. The trouble with keeping a diary? It’s the writing part.
*AA stands for Advantage Award, an extra module I’m taking at university, not Alcoholics Anonymous