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Today is my 10-year Live Journal anniversary.

I saw this article recently in my writing blogs:


It's been ten years since I kept a "proper" journal. You know, the kind you write long-hand into a private (note)book? Actually, I was in a journaling slump even the early '00s, so it's been more like twelve. I've kept a journal since I was fifteen (even earlier than that, but in a fit of teenaged angst, I threw that earlier one away). So I believe with conviction that blogs are not the new "journals." A contemporary form of ongoing letter-writing correspondence, perhaps, but not a contemporary form of the journal.

If any blogging platform comes close to journaling, it's Dreamwidth/Live Journal, which in my experience is more intimate than your average blog. People talk more about their personal lives, their highs and lows. But blogs and "online journals" are social media. They allow you to interact and form communities. I remember when I first heard about Live Journal from some ATPo friends ten years ago. I was flabbergasted. They keep their journals ON LINE? It seemed the height of exhibitionism to me.

Because at the time, journals were, for me, a private space where you wrote your innermost thoughts, didn't censor, poured out emotions you wouldn't reveal any other place, engaged in self-indulgent naval gazing, and kept the metaphorical pressed flowers of your daily life preserved for later nostalgia or mortification. Assuming you could even pick up that volume 20 years later without wanting to kick your younger self in the shins.

Journaling isn't better or worse than blogging, it's just different. You blog for attention and validation, in part, and you risk criticism and rejection. It's the school yard, the neighborhood coffee clache, the backyard barbecue. A journal, on the other hand, is just You, and sometimes Your God (my mom, forex, thinks of her jouraling as a form of prayer. Self-indulgent whining at God kind of prayer, but cathartic for that very reason).

There is a gray middle ground, of course. I sometimes write private entries in my Live Journal that are more like my old journal than a blog entry. But I do censor myself in those entries a bit in the paranoid fear some security bug will sweep through LJ and make them public ever so briefly. But I don't often just journal with a notebook and a pen like the old days anymore. The only time I still feel compelled to write in a notebook that is totally disconnected from online blogging and emails is when I'm hiking and feeling kinda spiritual. Computers and the woods don't mix for a lot of reasons.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 29th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Seems like only yesterday.

Thanks for sharing.
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:10 am (UTC)
Doesn't it just? Scary.
Apr. 29th, 2013 08:55 pm (UTC)
We're glad you're here!

I agree about the difference--I don't have a lot of motivation for either one, but am much, much more likely to write if I think somebody will read it. I used to do private journals but don't much want to, any more.
Apr. 29th, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
Private journaling involves a lot of self-involvement. I think that you either need to have some genuine troubles you need to get off your chest that for whatever reason you don't want to talk to about with others, or you just need to be a naturally self-involved person.

Not saying I'm NOT pretty self-involved, but I can't even go back and read most of what I wrote in the past because I want to slap me upside the head and exclaim, "Get your head out of your navel and go DO something with yourself."
Apr. 30th, 2013 04:07 am (UTC)
Congrats on the 10 years!

Be 9 for me in another month, hard to believe. I journaled very, very sporadically when I was a kid, but so much of my life was pretty much the same day after day, so it seemed kind of pointless after a while. And you're certainly right about cringing when you re-read some of what you wrote as an adult. Way too emo, that's for sure.

Of course my life is still very boring and repetitive, but at least I'm consistent. Perhaps I'll make a movie someday, you know, as a cautionary tale.

To the next years, however many!
Apr. 30th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
I found a way to constantly whine about the same thing each day that made it feel fresh to me as a teen writer. Not so much as a reader, though. ; )
May. 1st, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
I'm really glad you're still posting! I really miss it, but I seem to have the lost the ability to write about my life. It's a shame, I really enjoyed it.
May. 1st, 2013 02:20 am (UTC)
I think it comes and goes in phases. It may yet return for you.

Thanks for popping by.
May. 2nd, 2013 12:26 am (UTC)
An interesting post. Since I've stopped using DW & LJ as much as I used to do, I've thought about taking up a kind of paper journaling again. I tried to do The Writers' Way kind of 5 pages of clearing out my head in the mornings, but it ate up a lot of time without really clearing up things for the fiction juices to flow.

I kind of miss it a little, but I miss using this forum sometimes, too.

A notebook isn't really any safer or more private than online journaling, because unless you destroy it, it will be found and read eventually.
May. 2nd, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
My mom has given me explicit instructions to destroy her journal after she is gone. I used to have conceits of donating mine to some archive somewhere. Like anyone would find it of historical value. Sigh.
May. 2nd, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Happy LJversary! I'm coming up on my 9 year mark in a couple of weeks.
I never was one for keeping a diary or journal, and when I first got an invite for LJ (from HonorH, I remember), I turned it down because I didn't think I'd have anything to say, given that it's a public forum. I was wrong. I've had lots to say, and the experience of writing down my thoughts here has been interesting to me. Sometimes I start with one idea and it morphs into something entirely different..something a lot more serious than I'd originally meant to write about. Quite fascinating, really.
I'm so glad that you and other friends are here to keep that LJ feeling going.
May. 2nd, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
I would hold your LJ up as a prime example of someone who uses her journal to just write about ordinary, every day life events in an interesting way. Of course, caring for spirited horses and colorful, moving stories of life and death in the ICU will fit the bill!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )