One of my (and probably your) favorite blogging buddies gave us a peek into his journal today, where he had crafted his post, complete with artwork, before putting it up on his blog. He travels in some pretty awesome company. Over the centuries, lots of fascinating people over the centuries have kept diaries or journals: Samuel Pepys, Anne Frank, even Charles Darwin , to name just a few.
Ever since someone gave me a little book with a latch and key, embossed with the words My Diary, for my twelfth birthday, I wanted to be among them. Starting with that little book, I sat in bed every night and wrote Dear Diary, imagining myself as Gidget or Lolita or some other teenager with an exciting life. It lasted about a week, and then I got bored and moved on.
I never actually knew anyone who kept a diary. Now that I think about it, though, I guess I wouldn’t, would I? I mean, diaries are secret, right? That’s why they are locked, and kept under the mattress. But the idea never lost its appeal.
At some point, a diary became a “journal.” Really cool people kept journals, people like Ayn Rand, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. So I tried again.
Bottom line, I tried many times to join the ranks of those fascinating people who kept journals. And failed every time. The whole concept had two fatal flaws for me. First, it became painfully obvious to me that those people I was emulating had lives. Interesting lives. I would reread my diary and journal entries, and even I was bored. But more importantly, I had a problem with the whole concept of a private place to write. I mean, if no one was ever going to read what I wrote, what was the point?
I’m sure that many people see a blog as a place to keep a journal. It may be true that those people are writing for themselves, and they are reaping all the mental and psychic benefits of keeping a journal that any book on the subject will enumerate for you. I am not among them. Blogging offers me the opportunity to write something and maybe someone else will read it.
Now that’s what I’m talking about.
I still wish I could pull off the journal thing. When I saw my friend’s post with the image of a page from his journal, I felt the pull of the little red book with the key all over again. Maybe it can be said that I did reap one of the touted benefits of a journal through my abortive attempts. I learned something about myself. A journal is a direct route to Failure for me, never to pass GO, never to collect $200.
Blogging on the other hand? On October 31, I will hit my first anniversary as a real blogger. I’ve written 279 posts on my creative writing and non-fiction blogs. And I’m not bored yet. That beats all my attempts to keep a journal combined.
How about you? How do you write? Do you keep a journal? Do you write your posts out long-hand before typing them into your blog?