Difference between writing in a diary and blogging

This blogging thing is not quite the same as when I would write in my diary/journal. I thought it would be. The differences are small but noticeable.

What is my past experience with journaling? Well, I have roughly 8 full journals that I diligently wrote in during the worst times in my life, beginning in high school, around age 16 years. That’s over 30 years of journaling. I saved all of them thinking my life could be neatly organized into a book with a clear path from birth to old age. (HA! Not so, when you are suffering from major depression and thoughts and feelings go up and down like a horse on a merry-go-round). I still envision that I may one day take on the challenge of reading my old journals and understanding them as if I was not the fucked-up kid with the mental illness. How can I ever objectively examine my life without being dragged into the underlining emotions that the written words will convey, that I suffered through? I may never be able to.

But I digress.

My experience with blogging began in November, 2011. I hadn’t even read a blog before then. I like my laptop and typing is effortless compared with writing. My fingers push buttons better than they make circles, curves and lines. So, I decided to type my journal. I learned blogs are a good way to organize things like a journal so I used the first website I found that offered a journal-type format, but quickly learned all blog sites are not created equal. I couldn’t copy/paste and have ownership of my pages unless I paid for the premium account. Forget that. I searched “best blogging sites” and that’s how I found WordPress. Then, like icing on the cake, I discovered I can write a “blog post” off-line in a Word document and when I’m ready, publish to WordPress with the push of one key. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

I enjoy blogging but it’s not like the old days of writing in my journal, when no one would ever read it. Here are the differences I see between journal writing and blogging:

  1. My journals were never edited and spell checked.
  2. My journals didn’t verify readability with Microsofts Flesch Reading Ease (FYI – 77.6%)
  3. I didn’t know the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of my earlier writings. (FYI – 7th grade)
  4. I didn’t know the number of words in each entry, but now Microsoft Word keeps a tally at the bottom of my blog posts. (FYI – right now I’m at 440.)
  5. I wasn’t worried that if I got too long-winded I would lose the interest of the readers.
  6. In my journal, I was the only reader, so I never checked to see how many views I got.

With that in mind, my journals have evolved through blogging. For the better, mostly, because I am bringing more thought into my entries; I used to just dump all of my emotions on the pages of my diaries. How many times can the last thing I write to myself at night be, “I wish I would not wake up in the morning.” (Remember, my blog is about depression). But, I don’t want to write my blogs for sympathy and so I avoid my old way of complaining. I am writing to be understood by another and I am pleasantly surprised that it’s working. (Special thanks to all viewers/followers and commenters). I’ve always had a tendency to over-analyze my life and a nasty habit of editing the shit out of everything; therefore I truly am enjoying the evolution of my journal writing.

Ultimately, blogging and private journaling have similar results. I get a sense of normalcy that whatever I’m going through looks less crazy when it’s in written form. I believe in the power of the written word to take a concrete event or individual experience and transform it into an abstract thought that allows the reader/writer to connect with others. When I share a painful memory, a past trauma, a current issue or positive information, I feel more connected and less isolated. I’ve always felt that if I can think it up and write it then I am not crazy and alone in my own world. I’ve read enough books to know that somebody somewhere shares a similar experience. Private journal or public blog – the end result is the same. Language is a bridge that connects us all.

4 responses to “Difference between writing in a diary and blogging

  1. Like you I started writing in a journal in my teens, I remember it well and still have the original diaries tucked away… they have been out to read some time ago… and some things I wrote where indeed highly amusing, some quite disturbing!

  2. Personally, I’d love to read something you wrote when you were little. yes, little. in our teens, we look big but we’re really really little, dont you think? thats why the sexual abuse thing is so awful (not to mention INCEST): we’re not even really sexual yet.
    I love how you expressed the pleasure of journalling. you said it so perfectly it makes me want to quit writing, coz I could never say it as well as you :)
    I also feel so NORMAL after I’ve written.

    • Thanks. Maybe I’ll dig up some of my old journals one day. I’ve been thinking about it so who knows?

      Keep writing for yourself, just to get it out. Who cares how it’s said? We are all on our own journeys and the words are different and so is the meaning. I am so far from perfect but for many years I pretended I was in a perfect family (and I was the f-up one). That makes me perfectly f&*ked-up! He he.

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