Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's not how you say it, but what you say...

...when it comes to journaling, apparently. When I first saw this week’s topic I thought I’d write about blogging, which has become the modern form of journaling, but I realized that the proper definition of journaling [which I looked up] is to put ones thoughts and feelings, uncensored, on paper.

When I blog, I do record thoughts and feelings, though often not in great depth and I definitely censor myself. I edit my blog before posting it and sometimes I’ve even deleted the really controversial stuff because as authors we’re often admonished not to appear in any way unprofessional on our blogs. I have a lot of unprofessional thoughts – just like everybody else, I’m sure and I try, before putting my electronic foot in my mouth, to do some damage control.

One of the articles I found on journaling also stressed putting your thoughts on paper, rather than on bandwidth. In this age of technology that might seem silly, but I definitely see the merit in picking up a pen and a fresh sheet of paper to record your innermost thoughts. The benefits are numerous. First, there’s something less intimidating about a piece of paper [to me anyway] than a blank computer screen. I write out the first drafts of my stories because of this. I can go faster, I’m not tempted to fix every comma or dot every i. My thoughts can flow better with ink onto paper.

Second, paper is more private. Sure you can keep an off-line computerized journal that only you have access to, or keep your blog addy private, but hackers can still access your words if they try hard enough. Some public blogs have caused their authors no end of trouble when ill-conceived posts were circulated around the Internet. A handwritten journal isn’t guaranteed security of course, but you can dispose of it fairly easily if, let’s say, the CIA decides it wants to read your notes. [I have nothing against the CIA, by the way and I’m not advocating hiding your journal from them...hehehe.] But you could if you wanted to.

I found a lot of the same rules apply to journaling as they do to writing. You should write every day, even for a short time, and don’t worry about content as much as getting what you want to say on paper. The nice thing about a journal is you don’t have to fix it later or submit it to anyone and chance a rejection, but the basic concept is the same. Just write. Let your thoughts flow and see what develops.

My advice is buy yourself a nice notebook and a good pen and start writing. You never know, your journal may be a best seller one day. If the CIA doesn’t get hold of it first.

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Jen said...

Nice post!

I started journalling regularly this year (hey that means I'm doing well on at least two of my resolutions!) and what I've found is that it helps give me a better view of the bigger picture. For example the thing that was driving me absolutely insane in January is now a barely remembered blip.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Ah, but if you go back and read about it, does it drive you insane all over again?

Lynda K. Scott said...

The other nice thing about paper is...it burns :D

Lynda, not at all worried that someone would want to read her journal, if she had one, but...

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

LOL, Lynda. I was thinking the same thing.

Savanna Kougar said...

Burn, baby, burn...nope, CIA guys, that was just yesterday's newspaper...I swear.
Truthfully, in this day and age, I don't trust a private journal not to 'accidently' get out. So, I won't be writing anything down on paper, except as fiction.
Yep, you can call me paranoid. But since it's now legal to enter your house, and never even tell you about it...well...nope, not writing anything down on paper. Or on the computer.
No, no...I'm innocent I tell ya...innocent...

Jen said...

I'm perpetually insane

Xandra Gregory said...

I have journaled in code (because paranoia used to be a bit of a hobby of mine, until I found scrapbooking). I doubt my codes are uncrackable by professionals, but after a bit of time, they proved uncrackable by me. :D

Isn't it sad that we all pretty much accept that someone may invade our privacy this way one day? Le Sigh. I wonder if I journaled on the back of a copy of The US Constitution would "they" get the irony?

Savanna Kougar said...

Xandra, probably not. You'd be held up as an 'example' by the system, then they'd create an amendment saying you can't journal on the back of the Constitution.
BTW, people get arrested for have a pocket copy in their cars.
We live in a strange, strange world, Master Jack.