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Diary and Journal: Learn the Difference in this Article

Many people think that diaries and journals are the same things which are quite understandable because they are similar. This article outlines everything you need to know about a diary vs journal – what exactly makes them different? 

The main difference between a diary and a journal is its use. A diary is a book that is used to record daily experiences and events as they happen. On the other hand, a journal is a personal and intimate record of your thoughts, observations, ideas, etc.  

The major similarity between a journal and a diary is that they are books for writing about experiences and events. There are many differences between the two, so keep reading to learn more about their characteristics. This way, you will know which one best suits your needs. 

What are the Similarities Between a Journal and a Diary? 

As stated above, there are many similarities between a journal and a diary, which is why people think they are the same. For starters, people keep a record of experiences and events in their lives in their diary or journal – especially the memorable ones. 

When you have a journal or diary, you can easily record your most memorable events and experiences so you can always come back to them. Keeping a diary or journal will help you stay organized, perfect for recording one's thoughts and feelings. 

Journals and diaries are similar but are also different to a certain point. They are both used to keep personal records but in a different manners. Journals focus on the bigger picture, such as dreams, ideas and aspirations. Diaries focus on the daily lifestyle – recording as they happen.

Differences Between Journal and Diary 

If you are trying to decide whether to write in a journal or a diary, being aware of the differences between both options is the best way to do so. The two words – journal and diary – are usually used interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. 

A diary is a book that keeps track of the important things you note down. It is most likely used to record particular events in a person's life daily. You can write your intimate thoughts, feelings and emotions in your diary. 

For example, you can record your exercise habits in your diary. This will help you to know how physically active you have been throughout the day, week or month. You can also write down the different interesting foods you eat daily and how they make you feel.

On the other hand, a journal is a book or personal record where you can write down your observations, experiences and thoughts. The contents of a journal are not written according to dates or a calendar. Instead, they are written randomly as anything comes to mind. 

In your journal, you can write down random thoughts that come to your head. Journals come in different sizes depending on your preferred aesthetic. They can contain doodles, ideas, pictures, song lyrics and memories. On the olpr. website, you will find different journals to suit your needs. 

Lastly, journals and diaries are different when it comes to format. Journals only sometimes have dates allocated to the pages. On the other hand, diaries usually have dates allocated to the pages. It could be one page per week or per day. 


A Comparison Table 




Topic or theme 

The topics in a diary are not specific. You can record your daily physical activity or write down the tasks and appointments you completed at school or work.

The thoughts and topics in a journal are generalized and reflective. You can write down your goals, dreams and aspirations. You can also record the different recipes and food you want to try out. 


A diary is a book where a person writes down their daily experiences and events. You can also write down important information you want to keep track of in your diary. 

A journal is a personal record of events, thoughts, experiences, goals, and so much more. The content in a journal is written as they come to mind, unlike a diary which is a daily activity.

Type of writing

Diary writing is more focused. In other words, when you own a diary, you know it is a daily affair where you write about your memorable experiences.

Journal writing is more content-oriented. In other words, you only write in your journal when an important thought or information comes to your mind.


Diaries are chronological. This is because a diary records the feelings, activities, and events a person experiences daily.

Journals are not chronological and do not follow a specific pattern or order. When you have a journal, you write down whatever comes to mind at that particular time. 

Personal nature

A diary is not personal as it contains logs from the everyday experiences of the writer. 

A journal is more personal than a diary. This is because it contains detailed descriptions of a person’s thoughts and feelings. 

Features of a Diary: What it is Used for

You can use a diary to record events as they happen or plan future events – diaries are mostly used for the former option. Diaries are used for many purposes – you can write down your daily thoughts and organize information like exercise habits, food intake, etc. 

  • Diary entries are usually written in chronological order, the order in which events happen.
  • Diary entries are usually private and handwritten. 
  • When writing in your diary, there is always an introduction and date for every entry. 
  • Diary entries are usually written in the past tense and first person. 
  • The content in diaries is usually descriptive and detailed.

Features of a Journal: What it is Used for? 

Your journal is a very intimate book where you can be honest with yourself. Journals are perfect for writing your observations, experiences, thoughts and every other related thing. You can choose to write in your journal daily or whenever anything comes to mind. 

You can write whatever you want in your journal without the fear of being judged. You can vent and rant in your journal – all your bottled-up thoughts can be expressed fully, especially if you dislike sharing with people. 

  • Journals are perfect for keeping memories alive. Noting down the beautiful things that happen in your life is a great way to remember for a long time. 
  • Journals are made from high-class materials like cloth and leather. Olpr. leather journals are guaranteed to last a lifetime and improve with age. 
  • You can record past mistakes and negative experiences in your journal to learn from them. 


Journals vs Diaries: Which is Better for you?

People usually ask which is the best option for them – a diary or journal – and the answer to this question determines what you want to achieve. You should get a diary if you want to write every day and a journal to be more creative with your writing.

For a diary, you should choose one with dated pages since it will be an everyday affair. If you decide to go for a journal, you should go for an un-dated one. Sizes also matter when choosing a journal – you can find different sizes of journals on the olpr. website. 

It does not matter what you choose, providing it suits your needs and works for you. Writing in a diary or journal is therapeutic as it helps to organize a person’s thoughts and feelings. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a diary and a journal?

The major difference between a diary and a journal is content. A diary is used to keep a record of daily activities and events. A journal is perfect for expressing your feelings, thoughts and observations with zero limitations. 

Is a journal considered a diary? 

A journal is similar to a diary, but they are different to a certain extent. They are both used to record personal information, but one deals with day-to-day while the other deals with the bigger picture. 

What type of person keeps a diary? 

Diaries help us to keep our thoughts organized and record our feelings about specific experiences. Anyone who keeps a diary is called a diarist. People who like to keep information organized and express their thoughts are most likely to keep a diary.


Diaries and journals are perfect for people who want to keep personal records of their lives. There is no better way to express your thoughts and feelings than by writing them down. 

If you want to get creative with your writing, olpr. has numerous journals of different sizes and styles for you to choose from. These journals can be customized with your initials or name and are guaranteed to last long. 

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