Anne Frank, Marcus Aurelius, Da Vinci and Jim Henson. I’ve read their journals and they’re worth keeping.
My grandfather kept a scrapbook, but waited about ten years or more before he edited things out and glued his cutouts in it. Worth keeping. My grandmother’s closet full of papers ended up just being a burden on her kids during a difficult time.
Georg Lichtenberg’s Waste Books, hmmm. Worth keeping as an example of waste books at the time, but half the industrialized world is scribbling random thoughts down in blogs now, and enough are printing them out as backups even if there’s a giant solar flare that wipes out the internet. If he did it now hardly anyone would notice.
I think most people know if they have something worth keeping. If you’re journaling diary-style you should probably think twice about getting rid of them. Your kids may need to know that you’re human someday. But not everyone does that.
If you’re using them to vent about customers or coworkers so you don’t blow up in their faces, yeah, just burn them. Or if you just need a ritualized clean break from your past.
Or, if you’re like me and you journal as a rough draft for final work, keep a few examples of your creative process if you must and burn (or recycle) the rest. Even if I turn out to be the next Bill Watterson, no one is going to want to sort through 8-12 pages of thumbnail sketches for every single panel of every single comic strip or storyboard I’ve ever done. Quality over quantity.
I’ve burned (or recycled) so much I don’t even use bound journals anymore with the exception of my baby book. I just write or sketch on printer paper and put the things worth keeping in sheet protectors in a binder. 1 week ago