Journaling in Public: How to Protect Your Privacy

I am writing this post in my notebook at the breakfast table, in a busy restaurant of our hotel in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife. It came about from the conversation I just had with my husband about journaling in public.

He doesn’t do it, because he feels uncomfortable and concerned that other people may read it.

I carry my journal everywhere – travel journal when I am abroad, and regular journal at home – and write in all sorts of places. On the bus, train, plane. In the restaurants,bus stops, waiting for people or things. In the hotel lobby, by the sea, in the park. Whenever possible, I write in my journal as soon as I think of something to write, because putting it off until later loses the sense of urgency. Late, the same topic may not feel worthwhile writing about.

I am concerned about privacy too. I have no desire to share my personal entries with general public. I ensure my privacy using few easy safeguards, which allows me to journal just about anywhere without stressing out over who is looking over my shoulder.

How to Protect Your Privacy while Journaling in Public

Be aware of your surrounding.

Who is sitting around you? How far are they? What are they doing? Most people are far too preoccupied with what they are doing to care about what you are doing. It also depends on where you are. If you are in a library or a café, people are less likely to take notice of you, then if you are journaling at a motorbike show.

Pick a good position.

Try to find a seating position with your back against the wall so you can see if someone’s coming towards you. Pick a corner table. Sit by a pillar or something that provides a ready-made barrier. Think about what you can see from the position, and who can see you.

Use Your Body

If you are writing with your journal on your lap, shield it with your body so that person behind you can’t see it. Remember school exams when half the class would sit with their arm draped over the top of their paper so that no one would copy their brilliant insights? You can now use that so that no one can read your brilliant insights. :-)

Use Your Journal

Use one half of the journal to shield the other half. If you are writing on the right page, keep the left half of your journal upright.


None of these are amazing discoveries. These tips are obvious when you think about it, and they may even sound inconvenient. You may think that not journaling in public is easier than faffing around with shielding your journal, or picking just the right position. It may feel that way in the beginning, but once you get used to journaling in public and feel the rewards (no time to journal at home? Do it while you wait for the train) these little things become second nature.

Whenever you do feel uncomfortable because there is particular nosey person around, then just stop. When some idiot makes a point of standing right next to my seat on the bus, I just close my journal and wait for them to go away. Don’t worry about coming across secretive. You don’t know these people, and even if you do, it’s your journal and you can be as secretive as you want with it.


 image credit



2 thoughts on “Journaling in Public: How to Protect Your Privacy

  1. I’m with your husband on this one. There’s something about other people being nearby that would put me on edge, even if I made it so that they couldn’t read what I was writing.

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