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The New Diary: How to use a journal for self-guidance and expanded creativity

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The New Diary is about a completely modern concept of journal writing. It has little to do with the rigid daily calendar diary you may have kept as a child or the factual travelogue you wrote to recall the Grand Canyon. Instead, it is a tool for tapping the full power of your inner resources. The New Diary is as much for those who already keep a journal as it is for those w The New Diary is about a completely modern concept of journal writing. It has little to do with the rigid daily calendar diary you may have kept as a child or the factual travelogue you wrote to recall the Grand Canyon. Instead, it is a tool for tapping the full power of your inner resources. The New Diary is as much for those who already keep a journal as it is for those who have never kept one. It does not tell you the "right" way to keep a diary; rather, it offers numerous possibilities for using the diary to achieve your own purposes. It is a place for you to clarify goals, visualize the future, and focus your engergies; a means of freeing your intuition and imagination; a workbook for exploring your dreams, your past, and your present life. It is for everyone seeking concrete methods for dealing with personal problems. It is for women and men interested in achieving self-reliance and inner liberation, for artists and writers seeking new techniques for overcoming blocks to creativity.


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The New Diary is about a completely modern concept of journal writing. It has little to do with the rigid daily calendar diary you may have kept as a child or the factual travelogue you wrote to recall the Grand Canyon. Instead, it is a tool for tapping the full power of your inner resources. The New Diary is as much for those who already keep a journal as it is for those w The New Diary is about a completely modern concept of journal writing. It has little to do with the rigid daily calendar diary you may have kept as a child or the factual travelogue you wrote to recall the Grand Canyon. Instead, it is a tool for tapping the full power of your inner resources. The New Diary is as much for those who already keep a journal as it is for those who have never kept one. It does not tell you the "right" way to keep a diary; rather, it offers numerous possibilities for using the diary to achieve your own purposes. It is a place for you to clarify goals, visualize the future, and focus your engergies; a means of freeing your intuition and imagination; a workbook for exploring your dreams, your past, and your present life. It is for everyone seeking concrete methods for dealing with personal problems. It is for women and men interested in achieving self-reliance and inner liberation, for artists and writers seeking new techniques for overcoming blocks to creativity.

30 review for The New Diary: How to use a journal for self-guidance and expanded creativity

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barbara K.

    I finished reading Tristine Rainer's The New Diary this morning. Great book! Although it was published in 1978, it's every bit as fresh today, from the preface by Anais Nin to the final chapter on using a journal as a resource and tool to enhance creative work. This is both a book for people new to keeping diaries or journals and an excellent resource for people who've been keeping them for decades. There's something for everyone here, even for those who've never considered, never thought they wa I finished reading Tristine Rainer's The New Diary this morning. Great book! Although it was published in 1978, it's every bit as fresh today, from the preface by Anais Nin to the final chapter on using a journal as a resource and tool to enhance creative work. This is both a book for people new to keeping diaries or journals and an excellent resource for people who've been keeping them for decades. There's something for everyone here, even for those who've never considered, never thought they wanted, to keep a diary. What makes this a great book on journaling is that it explores so many ways of looking at the journal and looking at one's life from day to day, moment to moment, from using the four functions of sensing, feeling, thinking and intuiting to exploring various points of view, formats and even traveling through time. The main strength of the book is that it explores journaling or diary keeping as a process. It's the process that's important, not the product, though of course the product will be enhanced by all the methods and ways of thinking about the diary explored here, and the product will be more accessible and satisfying if one uses the advice about rereading given here. If someone told me they were just about to start their first personal journal, I'd recommend two books, this one and Visual Journaling by Barbara Ganim and Susan Fox. Between them I think they cover everything you might possibly want to do with a diary, until you think of new things on your own. I wish I'd read both books when I started. I'm very glad to have read them since.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This could arguably be the most important book in my life. I read it at 12 and started journaling seriously - a practice which continued for 20 or so years. Around 9/11 most of them were lost forever. It's something that I can't even think about without getting very upset. Anyway - my 12 year old self thought this was a VERY important book, second only to Harriet the Spy! By the way. GO READ Harriet the Spy! This could arguably be the most important book in my life. I read it at 12 and started journaling seriously - a practice which continued for 20 or so years. Around 9/11 most of them were lost forever. It's something that I can't even think about without getting very upset. Anyway - my 12 year old self thought this was a VERY important book, second only to Harriet the Spy! By the way. GO READ Harriet the Spy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bakari

    If you're serious about journal/diary writing, I highly suggest this one. The book doesn't provide lists of journal prompts, but rather provides various frameworks and ways of thinking about journal writing and how it can be useful. Rainer also includes journal entries by herself and other writers as examples of what she's explaining. The book is not preachy or filled with quotes and spiritual prompts. She show how journaling can help you process your current and past experiences, and deal with If you're serious about journal/diary writing, I highly suggest this one. The book doesn't provide lists of journal prompts, but rather provides various frameworks and ways of thinking about journal writing and how it can be useful. Rainer also includes journal entries by herself and other writers as examples of what she's explaining. The book is not preachy or filled with quotes and spiritual prompts. She show how journaling can help you process your current and past experiences, and deal with challenges in your life. She also includes a chapter on journaling and eroticism which is a subject often overlooked in many books on journaling.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Ibrahim ♥

    In this book, she doesn't teach you how to keep a diary, but instead shows you how your diary can offer you so many possibilities. You will be able to clarify your goals, focus your inner energies, free inhibitions and release your imagination. Here you explore and seek to understand. It is that active communication with the self that makes the diary a "new diary". Here are some of the goals we can achieve through the New Diary: The New Diary is a safe place to free the creative child within you In this book, she doesn't teach you how to keep a diary, but instead shows you how your diary can offer you so many possibilities. You will be able to clarify your goals, focus your inner energies, free inhibitions and release your imagination. Here you explore and seek to understand. It is that active communication with the self that makes the diary a "new diary". Here are some of the goals we can achieve through the New Diary: The New Diary is a safe place to free the creative child within you and experience the full range of your imagination. It allows you to develop an ease with writing and the habit of writing simply from using what you already have—your own experience. As you discover your natural voice in the diary, you can also begin to focus on your genuine interests and to collect material for many creative uses. The therapeutic and creative benefits of keeping the New Diary are, in fact, almost as numerous as the people who enjoy the pleasure of keeping it. Among the advantages most frequently mentioned are: A healthful release for feelings and tensions... a place to advise yourself, clarify goals, and make decisions... a way to nourish yourself with friendship and self-acceptance . . . a nonthreatening place to work out relationships with others and to develop your capacity for intimacy... a path to self-awareness and self-knowledge... a place to rehearse future behavior... a technique for focusing your energies on what is immediately important... a way to organize and expand your t i m e . . . a place to find creative solutions to problems... a memory aid... a means of achieving self- identity . . . a way to enjoy and profit from solitude... a guide to finding clarity in the midst of crisis or change . . . a device for discovering your path and taking responsibility for the direction of your life . . . a means of accelerating or con-cluding psychotherapy.... A place to develop skills of self-expression . . . a method for turning negative mental habits into positive energy . . . a way to gain perspective on your emotions and to resolve the past . . . a means of keeping in touch with the continuity and rhythms of your life . . . a place to record meaningful in- sights . . . a way to preserve family and personal history . . . a quiet place to relax and refresh yourself . . . a device for freeing your intuition and imagination A way to learn to trust life . . . a means of experiencing the essential humanness that links all people . . . a tool for recording and understanding dreams... a way to become your own guide and guru . . . a place to celebrate the process of living . . . a path to spiritual peace . . . a workbook for creative writing and drawing . . . a safe place to take intellectual and creative risks . . . a source book for future projects... a means of discovering joy within the context of your life. (please see pp. 4, 5).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Richard

    This book talks about the importance of journaling for all sorts of reasons and shared several techniques. I’ve been journaling for years, so it was helpful to examine new ways to refresh and deepen my practice.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Blair

    This is one of the best books to support people in their process of keeping a journal. The well known journal keeper, Annais Nin,gives a good introduction - she and author, Tristine Rainer had some years of interaction. I first started journaling when I was 12 years old. Having suffered from Selective Mutism, both from the extreme physical and emotional abuse from birth on, and from Asperger's Autism - I was fortunate to be in a gifted student program where I had a wonderful teacher who suggested This is one of the best books to support people in their process of keeping a journal. The well known journal keeper, Annais Nin,gives a good introduction - she and author, Tristine Rainer had some years of interaction. I first started journaling when I was 12 years old. Having suffered from Selective Mutism, both from the extreme physical and emotional abuse from birth on, and from Asperger's Autism - I was fortunate to be in a gifted student program where I had a wonderful teacher who suggested that I could write my feelings, stories, dreams and thoughts down in journal form. She knew that I loved to read and I was greatly amazed to find that like the authors I had so admired, lived for, found comfort in - that I too could write. Maybe not as good - but this was a way that I could communicate. 1964 was a time long before the personal computer. By the time that this book came on the market with Tristine Rainer - I had fifteen years of journalling under my belt. I had had the good fortune to study with Ira Progoff, Ph.D. - a friend of Carl Jung, M.D. - self labeled as an "Anti-psychologist psychologist" - author of, "At a Journal Workshop"" - - I loved to go on writing retreats with Ira and with other teachers that had studied with him. The atmosphere of being with up to 200 or more others, siting to write together - sharing if we chose - - was as important to me as the many weeks and months of intense formal meditation retreats and trainings that I was involved with. Ms Rainer's book came in 1979 - it provided an enrichment process for lne journalists and for journal classes and small groups that were often meeting at that time and during the eighties and early nineties. This book is filled with eexercises that can add to and encourage the journal process. It helps with self healing, creative inspiration, working with your dreams, grief, sorting through current situations in one's life and life planning. Although I loved and still cherish the years of work with Progoff - -his method of compartmentalizing work into sections can be off putting and confusing. The New Diary has ideas and inner work exercises that can be done in an ongoing journal process that one does in ongoing journals with no need to compartmentalize. Having journaled for fifty years - - taught it in groups and help clients use it in the psychotherapy - Jungian Analysis process - - The New Diary is, along with Progoff's harder book, At a Journal Workshop, and Jungian Anaylist, Robert Johnson's Inner Work - - one that I encourage all of my friends and students to keep on their reference shelf. It is one that can be gone to whenever one is stuck - or needs some inspiration. It is sad that the real journaling process has been abandoned by many in this age of the internet - - and/or the blogging/Facebook process used instead - - - the private journal - especially hand written so that it goes from head and heart to paper - - can both be a form of meditative inner work - - a way to center and sort -- and a real tool for self awakening.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellyn

    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 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    My favorite book on journaling. Can be delved into deeply or picked up at odd intervals. I used this text in a class for six months and can look back now and positively identify when I began making huge changes in my life -- it was after less than 2 months working in my journal every day. I've given many copies to friends. My favorite book on journaling. Can be delved into deeply or picked up at odd intervals. I used this text in a class for six months and can look back now and positively identify when I began making huge changes in my life -- it was after less than 2 months working in my journal every day. I've given many copies to friends.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    Very difficult to separate my views on the book from my views of the diary contents that are explored. The diaries are from the 60s and 70s. Women debate if they should choose a career or get married. One woman writes that her fear is she's such a poor housekeeper that she will never find a husband. Like, this was actually a thing? Men married you because of your ability to fucking cook and clean and mend? Like they were interviewing for a housekeeper? Because... wow. That's so screwed up. One w Very difficult to separate my views on the book from my views of the diary contents that are explored. The diaries are from the 60s and 70s. Women debate if they should choose a career or get married. One woman writes that her fear is she's such a poor housekeeper that she will never find a husband. Like, this was actually a thing? Men married you because of your ability to fucking cook and clean and mend? Like they were interviewing for a housekeeper? Because... wow. That's so screwed up. One woman imagines herself aged 40, and how she would feel if she'd spent her life in the "masculine" energy of creating a project and carrying it through. "Jane," a novelist, diaries a conversation to get inside the heads of her characters, "a group of Aztec Indians in the period immediately following the Spanish conquest." (p. 296) Jane: I need to understand you. I feel so far away. Star-Jaguar: You should visualize us as we walk in file with the burdens on our backs. Watch our legs, our feet. Watch the ways we spread our toes out in the dirt, carefully avoiding the sharp stones. Watch us as we set our burdens down and prop them with the sticks. Watch the way we sit. Each of us sits differently. Because there's nothing like imagining how "Star-Jaguar" and his fellow "Aztec Indians" sit instead of actually, you know, researching genocide. And maybe finding out the name of the actual groups of people who were annihilated. So, yeah. This all interfered with my ability to compartmentalize the journaling techniques discussed. Basically Rainer suggests using the four Jungian techniques: Catharsis (feeling) Description (sensing) Free-intuituive writing (intuiting) Reflection (thinking) and making lists. So I didn't get a ton from the book in terms of journalling ideas and useful techniques. I accidentally own two copies of this, and I'll be finding new homes for them. The book wasn't valuable enough to keep in my library, and I rate it a 2, for just ok.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Armijo

    I loved this book. I found it on sale for $5.00 at a local Santa Monica bookstore. It was on the sidewalk of a cart of 'on sale' books. Tristine Rainer, the author, really offers some great ideas for formulating new spice to ones diary or journal. It's so true that ideas can truly come from the stories we write in our diary. The every day happenings...and thoughts...and emotions...and lists that we write down are key to our memoirs. I'd HIGHLY recommend reading this one in combination with the re I loved this book. I found it on sale for $5.00 at a local Santa Monica bookstore. It was on the sidewalk of a cart of 'on sale' books. Tristine Rainer, the author, really offers some great ideas for formulating new spice to ones diary or journal. It's so true that ideas can truly come from the stories we write in our diary. The every day happenings...and thoughts...and emotions...and lists that we write down are key to our memoirs. I'd HIGHLY recommend reading this one in combination with the reading of another novel. It's quite INSPIRATIONAL! Now...finding this book is another story. With the amazon.com used books for sale vendors...you might get lucky. It's NECESSARY for every reader, writer (& especially for those who keep a diary or are planning to start a diary).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    An excellent reference book for one who is discovering the healing aspects of keeping a diary. The four modes of diary expression: catharsis, description, free intuitive writing and reflection along with the seven special techniques described in the book gives much food for thought. Motivating and encouraging as well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angie crosby

    Good book. Good for learning ways to journal. Old but still great.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Such a great book. Inspired me to start journaling again after a long absence... can't wait to try out all the exercises. I got this book from the library but I think I will buy a copy of my own. Such a great book. Inspired me to start journaling again after a long absence... can't wait to try out all the exercises. I got this book from the library but I think I will buy a copy of my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna Maria Ballester Bohn

    Ordered this because I want to focus more on journal writing after three years of pottering miserably through a novel. Wasn't very hopeful when I started it, but it was actually much more useful than I thought. Even though I consider myself a somewhat "experienced" journal-writer, it was very helpful to see all the things I was already doing listed objectively, plus another list of things I was not doing but that I now really want to try, even devices that at first glance sound a bit ridiculous Ordered this because I want to focus more on journal writing after three years of pottering miserably through a novel. Wasn't very hopeful when I started it, but it was actually much more useful than I thought. Even though I consider myself a somewhat "experienced" journal-writer, it was very helpful to see all the things I was already doing listed objectively, plus another list of things I was not doing but that I now really want to try, even devices that at first glance sound a bit ridiculous like dialogues with different aspects of my life or "spirit" guides. I believe now I've read it through I will refer often to specific parts of this book. Don't let yourself be deterred by the what might seem an over-explanatory approach - even if you've been writing a journal for years, if you want to crank it up a bit this might be really helpful.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Perkins

    I love keeping a journal; mine is a receptacle for everything from rants about a bad day, gushings about exceptional moments, story fits and starts, poetry (mine and others'), recipe lists, books to read, just about everything that can be committed to the page. Tristine Rainer's book explores the many uses of a journal as a tool for self-guidance and growth. All in all, a really useful, valuable guide book. I love keeping a journal; mine is a receptacle for everything from rants about a bad day, gushings about exceptional moments, story fits and starts, poetry (mine and others'), recipe lists, books to read, just about everything that can be committed to the page. Tristine Rainer's book explores the many uses of a journal as a tool for self-guidance and growth. All in all, a really useful, valuable guide book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jobie

    Will definitely read this again. This is great as self reflection as well as creative stimulation. Though there was no exercises there were plenty of ideas to expand the diary writing processes. It also takes excerpts from other diarists. It also was instructive as far as looking at what you might be weak in recording your own ideas, feelings and daily activities.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    some good ideas in here, but mostly a lot of stuff I was already doing on my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sue Hughes

    This book offers various amazing journal writing techniques for self exploration and self discovery.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    For a writer of literary fiction who draw most of her material from her own life, this book has proven invaluable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    A little repetitive, but chock-full of techniques that I've found extremely useful and easy to integrate into my journalling practice. A little repetitive, but chock-full of techniques that I've found extremely useful and easy to integrate into my journalling practice.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    One of the best self-healing-and-discovery books I have ever read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pei-chi

    Writing guide for sensitive writers

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim Sasso

    This book had a big impact on my and my journaling ways back in my late teens and early twenties.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Literary Mama

    As my children grew from preschoolers to high schoolers, entries to my childhood diary increased while my responses to writing prompts became more and more sporadic; those one-line prompts didn't always strike the right chord to get my creative juices flowing. I started to rethink “journaling” and how I spent my writing time, and turned to these books for guidance. Read Literary Mama's full review here: http://www.literarymama.com/reviews/a... As my children grew from preschoolers to high schoolers, entries to my childhood diary increased while my responses to writing prompts became more and more sporadic; those one-line prompts didn't always strike the right chord to get my creative juices flowing. I started to rethink “journaling” and how I spent my writing time, and turned to these books for guidance. Read Literary Mama's full review here: http://www.literarymama.com/reviews/a...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Suukii

    An intersting overveiw of journalling approaches, but not what I was looking for at the moment. I had picked it up because it was cited in another book on writing that I was reading, and it is relevant to other books like Professors as Writers (Boice) and The Artists Way (Cameron). Like these it also has relevance to literature on hypnosis, because it is about accessing and changing states, in this case using journalling as a medium. I will probably dip in again, and look for quotes or examples, An intersting overveiw of journalling approaches, but not what I was looking for at the moment. I had picked it up because it was cited in another book on writing that I was reading, and it is relevant to other books like Professors as Writers (Boice) and The Artists Way (Cameron). Like these it also has relevance to literature on hypnosis, because it is about accessing and changing states, in this case using journalling as a medium. I will probably dip in again, and look for quotes or examples, but it is not going to become one of my goto references.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    I picked this up because I had seen it on a list of books following an article on the Psychology Today website. I really liked this book. It removed the idea of there being a "right" way to keep a diary/journal (which I thought I could not do and why I thought I was falling at being able to keep one). I found inspiration in the ideas and themes outlined in the book as well as enjoyed the snippets from journals of other people. I picked this up because I had seen it on a list of books following an article on the Psychology Today website. I really liked this book. It removed the idea of there being a "right" way to keep a diary/journal (which I thought I could not do and why I thought I was falling at being able to keep one). I found inspiration in the ideas and themes outlined in the book as well as enjoyed the snippets from journals of other people.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tiff Miller

    I have to be honest. I didn't actually, technically finish this book. Overall, there were some valuable nuggets buried here and there. And I mean buried. Her writing style is good, but she really said all she needed to say in the first few chapters. After that, it just felt like it was repeating itself. It wasn't bad, and those nuggets I picked up were useful to me. And that's all. Nothing remarkable here. I have to be honest. I didn't actually, technically finish this book. Overall, there were some valuable nuggets buried here and there. And I mean buried. Her writing style is good, but she really said all she needed to say in the first few chapters. After that, it just felt like it was repeating itself. It wasn't bad, and those nuggets I picked up were useful to me. And that's all. Nothing remarkable here.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karl Schmiedeskamp

    Kind of a girly book but full of good ideas for self expression & self discovery. I think it is a must for anyone who wants to write for any reason. I use it regularly in my work with troubled young men.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fernanda

    Journalling as a tool for self understanding, healing and therapy. The many things we can do with our scribbles. I like that the author discusses Gestalt techniques and uses examples from non-famous people.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    I keep coming back to The New Diary. Rainer's various techniques for expression in journal writing have been very inspirational. The "Readings of Interest to Diarists" section is a cool little bonus. I keep coming back to The New Diary. Rainer's various techniques for expression in journal writing have been very inspirational. The "Readings of Interest to Diarists" section is a cool little bonus.

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