Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blogging vs. Journaling

I've been an avid journal-writer since childhood. (Back then I began each entry with "Dear Diary,") Lately when I open my journal, I write just a bit, then turn on the laptop and check blogs. Maybe I'll write a new post, maybe just read, maybe comment or reply to my commenters. You know how it is. Two hours later, you simply must get on with your day. I used to slam shut the journal and start my day. Now I slam shut the laptop. Well, not really, I don't want to break it after all.

But is blogging better than journaling? Worse? Clearly I can't spend 2 hours journaling like I used to, then another 2 hours blogging for heaven's sake. Something has to go. And it seems to be the journal. At least at this  point. I'm still not sure if that's a good thing, an improvement, or a step backward. Any ideas on the matter? I'd love to hear from others who may be facing a similar dilemma. Has the journal given way to the blog?

54 comments:

  1. I understand this dilemma completely! I do still try to keep a journal, but it does tend to fall by the wayside with blogging commitments as well as everything else. I find that journalling is a much more personal thing - and thus is a lot more therapeutic than blogging.

    However - no one tend to comment on my journal like they do on my blog!

    (Glad you liked my 'The Red Tent' review!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm, good question. I was never a journal writers so it's hard to say but I know I blog almost everyday. And I also write everyday. I think if your blog is personal and you write about personal things, it's taken over your journal. However, if your blog is related to writing and not much of a personal nature enters into it, it hasn't taken over the reason to journal... in my opinion.

    CD

    ReplyDelete
  3. I take quite a lot of time reading blogs, when I should be doing other things. I have a file on my PC that I will use as a journal, but I don't write in it too often. I understand completely where you come from. I'd rather spend the time writing short stories.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been more successful at having a blog than I ever was with a journal. I was never consistent about writing, and never kept up with one over a year.

    But I can be more personal and long-winded in a journal. Maybe it's a good thing I have a blog instead because it keeps me editing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Theresa, I am so personal and long-winded in my journal as well. I think blogging requires a bit more discipline from me, which is good.

    J.L., I love writing in all its forms. I even like to write to-do lists. And grocery lists.

    Clarissa, It's more about time than purpose. With limited time, I've had to cut back on something to fit in the blogging.

    Katie, Yes journaling is VERY therapeutic for me. There are days when it's the only thing that keeps me sane. Oh thanks for mentioning The Red Tent. Going to add that to Goodreads list right now!

    ReplyDelete
  6. For me my journal is something I write in mostly when I'm travelling - when I'm doing something exciting! It's also more personal I suppose, and not written with an audience in mind.
    It's also where I scribble half-formed/baked ideas. One advantage my journal has is it's hard-copy, so I can write in it even when no computers are available.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Journaling gave way to blogging about a year ago. At times I do miss the intimacy of journaling, the freedom to share thoughts that I would not likely place on an open forum. When those moments arise, I lean more toward prayer.

    Blogging is more of an interaction for me:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Tamika, Right. Blogging is interaction, journaling is therapeutic, writing is creative. And I need them all!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've never kept a journal, so blogging is it for me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I amaze myself that I can keep up with blogging. My journal career(s) - I've tried more than once - kind of petered out after a few months.

    I think the fact that others are with me on the blogging gig makes me stick to it. I know there's no rules but if I fall silent then so do the comments. Guess I'm pretty shallow...the comments make it fun. Keeping a journal can get pretty introspective and one-sided.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The advantage of blogging over keeping a journal is the give and take you have with other bloggers. You have a grain of an idea, someone can help you build on it. You have a problem, others give you suggestions have to solve it. You're feeling down, there's always someone there to make you smile. When things so right for you, others cheer along with you. When it goes wrong, they help pick you up, dust you off and get you back on track.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

    ReplyDelete
  12. I never could get into journaling so blogging has really helped me with my writing. But I do like blogging so I keep abreast with the industry.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I used to journal a lot, then that reduced to only when I travelled. Now I just write stories, or make quick notes...and blog, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree with Mason Canyon--I love the social nature of blogs, since I'm more of an extrovert. It's great to throw out an idea and hear feedback from others. I've never kept a journal consistently, though journaling is a great way for me to work through vexing emotions, particularly anger. The private nature of journaling is wonderful.

    I guess that blogging is like group therapy and journaling is like individual therapy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I kept a journal when I was younger. It was filled with my most personal thoughts and experiences. Then, one day I caught my brother and sister reading it. When I tattled to my mother she said, "A secret is a secret if three men know and two are dead. Keep your thoughts to yourself."

    Needless to say, I never kept a journal again. As for blogging, it is a nice networking tool, but I wouldn't put anything out there that I didn't want my cyber brother's and sisters to know.(:

    ReplyDelete
  16. I journal first, then if I like it or think its something worth sharing, informative and not too personal, then I'll copy it into my blog, edit, and post. But I like to make sure that I don't write directly for my blog so that I don't block things that I don't want to share from getting said. That way I don't censor myself initially.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I used to journal. About once every 6 months. LOL I was a horrible journaler. When I started blogging, I only blogged a couple times a month. Now I'm much more consistent and I now aim to blog at least 3 times a week, hoping for M-F.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I know I can't do both...
    About 9 of 10 of my blog posts are taking from my journals* or posted in lieu of writing them in a journal.

    *I use the term journal loosely. It could be written in an actual journal, on a napkin, looseleaf paper, back of a match book, from the margin of a book, or on my own skin.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Journaling and blogging are similar, yes, but to me different in the most fundamental way: journaling is personal. Blogging, while still containing a personal element, is also a public act. You think differently when you sit down to journal vs. when you sit down to blog - the two just fulfill different functions.

    Of course, it's still true that you can't spend two hours a day on each. But maybe the way you turn depends more and more on what you're trying to accomplish/what you need by writing. To me, journaling is for when you need utter privacy to say whatever needs to be said without wondering how it comes across, or to explore new ideas without an editor's pen in hand. Blogging is sharing ideas with the public.

    Err... That got long. I probably should edit it down...but I won't. Maybe I'm just in a journaling mood today.

    (Of course that begs the question: why am I on the internet, then?)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Karen, I was the same way. I journaled since I was seven and started every entry with 'Dear Diary' too. Ha ha! I still journal every day, but it's mostly a spiritual journal as I read my Bible. Not the long-winded accounts of my life that I used to write. :) Sometimes I write a sentence or two about the kids, but yeah, blogging has definitely taken over. There's not time for everything.

    So, sorry, no tips, but I do share your pain!
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
  21. I also, have kept a journal since childhood, but after I caught my brother reading it one day, I started writing it in a secret code that I invented. And to this day, I still journal in this code. But I feel that blogging is a better discipline for writing, so I make it a priority over journaling.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'll give a resounding yes! I used to journal but just can't seem to keep up with it. It used to work. Before blogging came along. Now I transfer my thoughts to the blog and go from there. Journaling? What's that? I think I saw it in the Smithsonian next to Archie Bunkers chair and Fonzie's leather jacket.

    Stephen Tremp

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've been blogging since 2008 and it HAS replaced journaling. At first it was a good replacement because the things I wrote were still all the things that would normally be in my journal (namely family things). Then blogging became about me and networking.

    Now I'm just trying to get back to at least a couple of sentences a night, scribbling them in a notebook by my bed. I'm trying to do as Elder Eyring does, since you know about that guy. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I keep a daily diary and blog two or three times a week. For me the activities are completely separate. The diary is personal whereas the blog isn't. The diary-writing is almost like a ritual now. I write it in the morning, recording the previous day and reflecting on it.

    Because they are so different I don't have that either/or dilemma.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I dont think I would have survived my teenage years without my diary. Every broken heart, every drama, every self doubt recorded on paper. I still have that diary. But a journal or diary is very personal in a way a blog rarely is. I still have a diary/journal for use when I need to work something out for myself and which is not for sharing! Good thought provoking post!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have both a blog and a journal, but they have different purposes for me. Things I write for my blog are about writing, and the blog is a way for me to connect with the writing community. My journal is just for me, my life events, and story ideas (with lots of doddles and scribbles). It does take a lot of time to do both, sometimes I don't get to both everyday.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am very terrible with journals so i stopped blogs however talk back to you (comments) and blogging I love, I do it daily. they cant be the same

    ReplyDelete
  28. My journal days have gone. I no longer need them to express myself. My blogs help me do that, and I find it a great way of meeting interesting folk.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I don't journal anymore unless I'm on holiday. I guess that means my blogging has taken over but no - it isn't that - I had stopped heavy duty journaling before I started blogging. I think one just goes through stages. Writing is good - for practice and for unleashing your inner demons - as long as you FEEL OK keep on doing whatever you're doing, I say! Jan Morrison

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am a big fan of Morning Pages, as suggested from Julia Cameron. I write three pages every morning, raw, unedited. Then I rip them up and throw them away because I don't want anyone to ever ready my MPs. It really helps clear my mind of junk and sometimes I get answers to deep questions I have. I keep a gratitude journal - all the nicey-nicey stuff goes in there. Just feeling that journal and opening it up makes me feel whole. Bloggins is a way for me to explore topics and enjoy instant publication. ;) All are important in their own right. Enjoy the process!

    ReplyDelete
  31. IMHO, Blogging can cover both functions 90% of the time... I try to be as honest as possible... to organize my thoughts, to move forward... and on the blog I actually get feedback and support (something the journaling never did).

    Where the journaling needs to fill in is the stuff that shouldn't be released to the populace at large... complaints in any great detail about family matters (at least not until after it is sorted and there is a resolution), things your agent or publisher don't want 'out', 'other peoples business' you are trying to sort through. I'd use the journal as a supplement.

    (then again I have only journaled when I had something big to work through in the last 20 years.)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am totally amazed at the amount of feedback this little post got. Who would have so much to say about journals & blogs but writers LOL! We're our own breed of people, doing our own thing, thinking we're odd and the only ones doing it-- then thru internet and blogs we find each other and realize we aren't so strange after all.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I haven't kept a journal in years - not since my teens. So blogging only added rather than replaced an activity for me.

    ReplyDelete
  34. For the past few months, blogging has replaced journalling for me, but I recently decided to take up journalling again. It's different. Putting words on paper with a pen in hand is very different than typing on the laptap. And when I journal, I don't have to worry about what I can and can't say. I need to get back to that. Thanks, Karen.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  35. I've never diaried or journaled. Faced with that blank page, my mind rebels. Maybe it's because I'm a 'secretive Scorpio'. I have enough trouble squeezing in blogging time.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Interesting question:-)

    If your blog is personal, then it's an electronic replacement for your journal, in one sense. However, I bet you never left your journal around in a public place for all to read and comment on, now did you? So in that sense, it can never replace that private repository of thoughts and wishes.

    Well, that's what I feel, anyway:-0

    ReplyDelete
  37. BTW, I'm sorry I've missed the BBQ - I just discovered your blog:-( but I am your latest follower:) Stop by at Christine's Chatter if you have a spare minute, you'll be welcome!

    http://cadugdale.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. well, I always kept a journal as a child... now I blog. I think the blog *does* replace the journal to a certain extent. I mean, obviously you can't put *all* your personal info up here. But you can explore thoughts. And this is a great way to expand your view through conversing w/other writers... It is your B"log" after all. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I've tried to keep a physical journal concurrent with blogging, but find it much too difficult, compounded by the fact that I write very slow and it is always faster to type.

    But what I do with my blog and what I write in my journal are two different things -- so I've thought about picking up journaling again.

    ReplyDelete
  40. It depends what you use the journal for. If you write the same as you blog, then it's superflous, I suppose, but if it's more personal stuff it might be therapeutic. But blogging is more fun, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  41. I was thinking about this not too long ago. I need to journal more, but I need time for blogging too. But I agree with Alexandra, blogging is more fun. =)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I've been missing keeping a journal, I didnt decide to stop but i think blogging had its part to play, also the fact that I began to have work in progress to attend to. I miss it, i think its a good practice and grounds me, it also was somewhere that i free wrote & doodled and got ideas for stories... even twenty minutes a day first thing in the morning will help me get back to touching base so thats what I've decided to do. I think its as importent (for me) to capture whats around me on a day to day basis, the texture of life...i forget so much and even a reference in an old journal to a geranium outside the window of a house I used to live in brings me right back to another time in my life with young babies and scraps of poems on the table. Blogging is completly different (for me) so i dont think its an either or situation...just a matter of getting back into the practice- i hope! (But I do think , if i werent careful that blogging could become a displacement activity for my writing...it can fulfill as similar need to communicate ideas sometimes!) as in now! Hope you find your compromise - and a beautiful new notebook for journaling!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I could have sworn I posted a comment on this! Oops...

    I used to keep a personal blog. Two birds, one stone :D Heh. I've actually ended up moving away from personal journaling. Now my personal outlet goes into mainly my writing, and discussions with loved ones. It's not quite the same, but it fills the hole for me.

    ReplyDelete
  44. My blog feels like a journal. There's something about the typing that's therapeutic, and I love keeping a record of my reading thoughts. I definitely think blogging counts as journaling.

    I have a private blog, too, for my eyes only. I suppose that's a journal...

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  45. I used to keep a journal, but stopped many years ago. Blogging (minus the comments) is the lovely way I've picked the journaling back up.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I haven't journaled in at least six months! Once I get thick in the writing, I don't have time with the blogging. I don't think one is better than the other - just different. I don't share ideas as much on my blog. My journals are full of bright, shiny ideas waiting for me to flush them out. My blog is more of my journey as a writer. I do miss my journal!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I only blog and journal when I feel the need to, usually when there's something I need to say or share (in the case of blogging) or when there's something I need to work out in my own head or that's upset me (for journalling).

    The one thing I do try and make myself do every day, though, is write.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I haven't been journaling much lately, partly because I've been spending more time writing fiction. But I do keep a journal because there is stuff that I write in there that I wouldn't feel comfortable writing on my blog, so it's nice to have that outlet.

    ReplyDelete
  49. For me, blogging is very public and journalling intensely private. I don't journal much, but I don't think blogging could every take the place of my journalling.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Karen, I think a journal is one of the best artifacts of the future we could have in our posession.
    I am and also have been a real fan of a notebook and favourite pen, nothing replaces that intimacy I think.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I keep a journal/notebook for jotting down ideas as they come to me, its particularly handy for travel situations and I still love writing on paper even if its more of a novelty these days. I use it less when I've got my netbook with me - but I use that for writing vs. blogging. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  52. My daughter Jen keeps a daily journal, and does it beautifully with her one good hand. And I do the blog. When she gets frustrated with it sometimes, I remind her that she can't type very fast with one finger (she agrees) and that we're a team. Yay for Jen! And like you, Karen, I just don't have time to do both. So it works....
    Ann

    ReplyDelete
  53. I'm hoping that the art of proper pen and paper diary keeping will always remain alive and well. I really do see it as another branch of personal creativity!

    But I'm sort of glad there are online diaries and blogging for me for the main reason that my penmanship is atrocious and my concentration levels are piecemeal at best!

    So personally for me - anything written, eg. manuscripts, stories, diaries - have given way to the call of the keyboard, Word and the Web.
    Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  54. It is hard to find time to fit in blogging, commenting and all the rest of life's demands. Something has to give. I suppose it really depends on what feels right to you. I had to forgo my morning pages these past two mornings to catch up on blog writing and reading. My morning pages are my form of journaling. Random thoughts expressed on paper.

    ReplyDelete