I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.
—  Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary
The dishonesty of diary writing—this voice you put on for supposedly no one but yourself—I found that idea so depressing. I feel that life has too much artifice in it anyway without making a pretty pattern of your own most intimate thoughts.
— 

In a piece for Rookie Magazine, Zadie Smith explains why she is not among the many celebrated writers who reap the creative benefits of keeping a diary.

However, it seems to me – as a dedicated diarist and reader of diaries – that there are two primary modes of journaling: One uses the diary as a tool of self-examination and creative discipline (such as Steinbeck’s magnificent work diary), the other as a tool of self-creation and personal mythmaking (such as Anaïs Nin’s deliberate diary, destined for publication). Smith’s resistance appears to be directed at the latter. "I realize I don’t want any record of my days," she writes – but a diary need not merely record life post-factum; it is also an active process that gives shape and structure to the day as life unfolds.