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Journals, Diaries, and Blogs – Oh, My!

Earlier this week I was talking to my friend about about Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. It is a wonderful book that focuses on living a creative life. If you have this book and went through the exercises, you will be very familiar with what she terms morning pages.

The purpose of morning Pages is to clear out the mental cobwebs that block creative energy. The process consists on writing six pages every morning before you do anything else. This was not an easy practice for me, but I did recently stumble on my journal of morning pages. As I flipped through them (you are never supposed to read them as you go through the course if I remember correctly) they were filled with a lot of nothingness – especially on the first couple of pages each morning. Some of the content made me sad and I remembered things I prefer to compartmentalize and store in the deeper recesses of my mind. Some things that worried me at the time I do not recall at all.

As I contemplated destroying the book of morning pages, I started thinking about all the different diaries, journals and blogs I have kept over the years.

In my adolescence I kept a diary. It was white with a luggage type lock that gave the impression of privacy but would open with a strong tug if someone wanted to read it. Mine was filled with adolescent memories like boyfriends and friends and mundane tasks of the day.

Later in life I kept journals. They always seemed to be filled with my most intimate and private thoughts. I think maintaining journals helped me learn to process the events of my life and helped me formulate long lasting ideals. As such, these are not journals I would want anyone else to read. They are filled with immature thoughts and ideas which required even more thought as I lived my life.

Then came blogging. My first online community was a Prodigy message board – now I feel old. I connected with people from an area in Ohio where I spent my high school years. It was fun and was based on shared experiences.

From there, I moved on to LiveJournal. Back in the day, you needed an invitation code to create an account. An online friend from New Zealand gave me my first access code. They eventually did away with that requirement. I have not written on LiveJournal for years but I still have my account. I shared this space with one of my sisters, her best friend and her sister. I find comfort now in being able to go back and read my sister’s words.

I wrote a few short posts on Blogger, but I did not like the format or their method of designing a blog look. From there I went to WordPress and have had a presence here since 2010. My first blog was again a way of processing. I started my blog after the suicide of a friend.

I no longer feel the need to privatize my thoughts much. Maybe I have reached a level of mental maturity and I know better who I am now than I have ever known. There are a few things I will not share, but I am keenly aware of how much of our ‘private’ lives are public knowledge. Add to that my love of research and there isn’t much I cannot find if I put my mind to it.

Did you have a history of journaling before you started blogging? Do you still have diaries and journals from the past? What do you hope to do with them as you age?

34 thoughts on “Journals, Diaries, and Blogs – Oh, My!”

  1. When I was around nine years old, I started to keep a notebook that was a form of a diary. It was mostly filled with entries about school work, and how I wish my mum could have had a better deal in life. When I moved out at the age of 19, I gave it to her to keep. I thought she still had it, but when I went through her papers after her death, it was nowhere to be found.
    Then I started blogging in 2012, and from day one my life has been more or less an open book on my blog.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Pete, I wonder what could have happened to your notebook? Maybe it was hard for your mother to read. I know I am often sad realizing some of what my children had to experience.

      You contribute so much to the blogging world.

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  2. The only diaries I’ve kept are my food diaries since trying to get my weight under control. I found them a useful tool at the time, and still keep one, including Hubby’s now, as we know what we’ve had and what has caused any problems with his reflux, digestive system or sudden weight gains.
    I had a Moan Book when I was a teenager, somewhere to write down all my grievances. Then the following day I’d read it, realise how stupid and silly it all was and rip the pages out. Great therapy.
    Blogging is a diary of sorts, especially my Today Is………… posts which help me keep a track of what day it is, although it was not my idea originally. It still seems popular so I will stick with it for the time being.

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    1. Writing has always been cathartic for me, Di. There was also a time I kept food journals, but those days are long past. I know what you mean about your blog as a diary. I often come back and search my blog when looking for events or timelines in my own life.

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  3. I also started journaling while reading The Artist’s Way (which I loved). I’m not consistent but I always have a notebook going and stacks of filled notebooks in my cupboard.

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    1. I stopped keeping written notebooks when my hands started to ache from writing. I am much faster on a keyboard. Do you think about how long you will maintain your notebooks or what you hope to do with them?

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      1. My notebooks mostly just take up room in my closet but I can’t part with them :). Every once in a while, I flip through them and find ideas for writing a new piece or blog post.

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        1. I may still have 10 or so notebooks. My plan is to flip through them and decide if they should stay or go. I think it’s an aging thing.

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  4. I have my writings back to fifth grade. That diary amused my grandchildren no end since it seems to be all about whether James was in school or absent. Of course they had to look up what the looks like now and were very disappointed. (As was I! He hasn’t aged well.)

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  5. I kept diaries as a young kid. I stopped because a sibling would break the lock and harass me incessantly. Later I kept journals for years. Stopping and starting journals went with the times of my life that were “challenging.” I enjoy the act of journaling. I hate it if/when anyone sees into my soul without an invitation.

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  6. I only started writing 5 years ago and I took up blogging as a way to connect with readers and other writers. It started as a once a week post and now…well, I now blog almost everyday.

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    1. I certainly hope you were published. You have such a wonderful way with words. Have you thought of publishing your blog stories? I know I would buy them!

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  7. I actually still have a LiveJournal account (john_holton, though all I’m doing with it is posting links to my blog entries via Twitter and IFTTT). I stay because of the Vintage Ads group.

    For a while, I used 750words.com, then I got tired of it because I was just posting crap there, me complaining about the same things I had always complained about. It was a huge pity party and it wasn’t helping me get anything of any great consequence written.

    I journaled for a long time, then just reached a point where I was sick of it, and of course after my stroke I gave up trying to write with pen and paper. I threw out all those notebooks because I really didn’t want them around.

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    1. All my compares left LiveJournal because it is owned by a Russian company. I don’t post there but I still have my account. I know others who wrote in 750words.com, but for some reason it never appealed to me. I can hardly write by hand anymore. And like you, I don’t really want my journals lying around. I am certainly glad you are writing here, John!

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    1. Jean, that first obligation of the morning was definitely a hard adjustment with morning pages. It did clear out the cobwebs, though. The poor dogs – I had not thought of that!

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