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:
- My journals were never edited and spell checked.
- My journals didn’t verify readability with Microsofts Flesch Reading Ease (FYI – 77.6%)
- I didn’t know the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of my earlier writings. (FYI – 7th grade)
- 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.)
- I wasn’t worried that if I got too long-winded I would lose the interest of the readers.
- 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. ♥