September 15, 2008

on a "real" journal...


Recently, the lovely Steph wrote an entry that really got me thinking about something. Blogging vs. Journaling. Do you do one or the other? Both? Is there a difference for you at all, between the two?

I know that for me, true pen-to-paper journaling is very close to my heart. I have, literally, boxes of journals. I started keeping a journal when I was in fifth grade, and have been addicted ever since. I remember the feeling of getting home, running downstairs to my room, pulling my journal out of my desk and writing down the events of the day; my thoughts, my feelings, my worries, my dreams. I could hardly wait to spill out my thoughts onto the paper.

At this point in life, it's the most enlightening thing to go back and read my inner thoughts from years past.

I go from elementary school babbling about being invited to birthday parties and drawing little hearts and stars in the pages, to pre-teen Hanson obsessions (I'll do us all a favor and not even count how many Taylor Hanson references/photos/stickers/poems are in some of the pages), to when I was getting older and was a little self conscious and wondered if a certain boy would ever do couple-skate with me at the roller skating rink, to my theatre days and auditions and shows and backstage crushes, to my first boyfriend and first kiss, to the time I decided to channel Jewel's poetry and write a bunch of emo poems about my life (raw talent, my friends, raw talent), to falling in love, to falling out of love, to meeting Jay, to the wedding, to the almost present.

I regret not writing in my most recent journal on a regular basis. It's been nearly a year since I've written anything. Yesterday, I sat down and started writing. And I realized just how much I've missed it.

I think that, honestly, this blog is the place where I have put down most of my thoughts. There's nothing quite like writing something, sending it out into the world, and having people read every word. Some people I know, some people I don't, some people I probably wish weren't reading it. But regardless, it's very satisfying. I've learned alot through blogging, and wonder if I'll ever lose my passion for it. The idea of people weighing in on your life and thoughts is quite therapeutic, as well. I've made so many friends though blogging, and am proud to have my own little circle of "online friends". (Have I mentioned my husband's judgement about this? Makes me laugh. I've been trying to tone down my talk of anyone I know specifically through this blog. I'll be telling him something I've read about someone, and he's all, "Who is that?" And I'm all, "Oh, friend?")

Although I do my best to be as honest as possible on this blog, there are still things that I can't write about. There are touchy subjects that nobody needs to read about, and things that are just too personal. Too close to my heart. And I guess that's where my paper journal comes in. My whole life, I've really relied on having writing as an outlet, and I think I've deprived myself a little bit in not having an un-censored place to write what is on my mind. Even after writing a small bit yesterday, I seriously felt as though a weight had been lifted. I've always been an introspective person, overly-analytical, a complete worrier and all of that. I'm hoping I can combat some of the negativity that I've felt lately, by writing more.

Because I know it has helped me before. And I've missed it.


  1. I keep a paper journal (consistently since I was about 12 years old), but I do write most of the daily stuff on my blog. When I do sit down to journal, I ususally don't try to catch up on what happened in the few months since I last wrote. (And I also went through the emo poetry phase!) I just go with the flow, write my feeling and thoughts. It is therapeutic... and I love reading things that I wrote years ago, especially about my new hubby. I wish I had more time to do everything I wanted! One day, when we have kids, I will be more vigilant about writing. I think they will one day appreciate reading it. I know I would if my mum had journalled.

  2. I think that if we created a blogging community for the men in our lives so that they could talk about how cooky their women are with their "online friends" they would bond instantly and be hooked just the same.

    Our great-grandmothers would probably be shocked and confused at the concept of sharing our thoughts and experiences like we do and actually forming relationships with people thousands of miles away who we, most likely, will never meet... but I still love it and I'm happy to be a part of it.

    That journal is so cute!

  3. i haven't written in my paper journal in over a year either.
    this post reminded me just how much i miss it. and need it.
    i just started work and now can't wait to get off to go dig it out and scribble away on a fresh page. =)

  4. I began writing in a journal somewhere around the 3rd grade...I remember it was a Ramona Quimby diary, and had stickers! LOVED it. Since then, I almost always have. When I was abroad in Luxembourg and Poland, they were great things to have, as an account of my experiences, though I have noticed I didn't write much while in Poland. Lately, I haven't written in a real journal in a while. I should get back into's like an old friend...

  5. I am going through the exact same thing; while I adore blogging, there is something so precious & sacred about a paper diary.

    The biggest reason I hardly ever write in a paper diary is because I type faster than I write. Usually, I have a lot to say & by the time i've covered 1/4 of it, my hand is cramping & I lose inspiration. Otherwise, I would still write.

    Another thing I can relate to is the fact that there are some things you just can't share with the "world." I really wanted to make my blog into a very candid type diary, where I can talk about anything & everything. I am learning now that I am only human... & I just can't do such things without feeling insecure. So I have a very private, anonymous blog elsewhere. But even then... I desire someone to read it. Is that weird?

    My comment is long, but I just wanted to tell you that I know how you feel. :] I feel like we're living parallel lives because it seems that whatever you are going through, I am too, at that precise moment.

  6. I admire your want to keep a real journal. I can't do it. I have no desire to. I hate it. I feel it makes me less sensitive and damn it, I want to be perceived as a moody, artistic soul! How can that be when I could care less about keeping a journal?

  7. I'm so glad my little journal blog inspired you to start up again! Isn't that what blogging is all about? I love it. Your journal is very adorable by the way. I completely understand what you mean by not being completely open in your blog. I obviously can't because my name is plastered all over our blog, and along with the mil being an avid reader now. I have to keep my blog fairly censored to protect myself from nagging questions from family. But I think journaling will be good for me to look back, gain perspective, and learn from my past.

  8. this is why i switched from blogger to wordpress. some of the people who read my blog (or i THINK read my blog) are people i would sometimes like to vent/bitch about. wordpress has this super cool feature where you can mark your entry as private, but still see it on the main page if you're logged in. whereas with blogger, the only thing you can do is just not publish an entry. i have a very long ranty post on the real story of san diego that i hope i look back on in a few years and either say "oh my gosh, i am so over that" or laugh because life turned out exactly how i wanted it to (am really hoping for the second one).

    the other reason i don't keep a paper journal is that when i was 16, my mom found my journal (in all fairness i left it sitting on my bed) and read it. sometimes i wonder if she regrets it. like if she realizes the things i said weren't as big of a deal as they seemed at the time (what 16 year old girl doesn't hate her mom a little? i mean really?). but ever since then i've had this fear of someone finding my private thoughts and using them to totally throw me under the bus. so i log in, type up my entry, mark it private, and feel much better for my venting. :)

    and rambling.

  9. I love to paper journal too. I've done so more recently - specifically a prayer journal b/c of things going on... I used to paper journal a lot as a kid. We've discussed this before, but I think I will start a real anonymous blog with face pics - to be a little more honest in my writing. It is therapeutic to have feedback...

  10. I type faster than I write, and I'm left handed, so my writing is always smeared (pen or pencil), and my hand is black or grey, so it's too much to handle. I do get bummed or frustrated though, because I like to put everthing out there, but i have friends that I know read my blog, so I have to sensor quite a bit of how I really feel, and to not offend anyone.

  11. I've kept journals on and since I was little, but I don't force myself to write in them regularly. I only write in my journal (vs blog) when there is something I need to get out that I can't share, or when I know my thoughts are going to be incoherent and just want to get them out of my head.

    But when I moved I did find one from when I was about 13-16, and it was HILARIOUS

  12. I wish I was better at keeping a journal! I bought the cutest one at Anthro a year ago but I haven't really written in it! tsk tsk! I wish I would have written more in my college years and living with Johnny and our first year of marriage ... I guess there's no time like the present, huh? Btw, your journal is super sweet!

  13. I wish I would have been like you and stuck with writing since 5th grade... that is so awesome! Can't you just imagine your grandkids reading through those one day and loving getting to know how you were when you were young?

    I used to have a diary when I was younger (with the lock and everything), and ohh boy, was it filled with some good stuff. Jonathan Taylor Thomas was my dream-man of choice. Those were some hilarious entries... plots to steal his heart on the set of Home Improvement... oh man. :)

    When Steph was here visiting a few weeks ago, we went to Barnes & Noble after she told me about her new journal. She convinced me to get one and I'm so glad I did. You're so right about there being some things that are just meant for you... blogging is great, but we all need that little private outlet I think.

    Great post!

  14. I love writing in my paper journals, perhaps even more than my blog. My journal is my space...absolutely no one else sees it, and it's my venue for completely honest, heartfelt reflection. Often, things I write in my journal end up on my blog...just in a more coherent, readable style that might actually make sense to other people. =)

    I also use my journal as a scrapbook of sorts...pasting in quotes and articles, doodling around my words...a fun little creative outlet I can't have with my blog.

    Both help me stay connected, journal with myself, and my blog with everyone else. Both good...just different. =)

  15. I've had a paper journal since I learned to write...seriously....I love going back and re-reading those entries. My paper journal really helped when I was going through some dark depression. I can't read those entries I need to write some more uplifting ones so my kids don't think I was crazy

  16. Your journal is super cute. I've always wanted to journal and for some reason I've only been able to fill a couple of pages and leave it alone. I have a new journal that I write thoughts down in occasionally and it feels so good.

  17. I keep a paper journal too. I have since I was about 12, although I got rid of my journals from 12 until 19 in some sudden case of insanity when I didn't want to remember certain I wish I kept them as they held so many other happy memories that I would love to go back and read.

    As for having online friends, I love it! I 'meet' people through blogs and such that I never would have otherwise.

    And I adore the journal you have there. So pretty! Plus love how it has a pen holder.

  18. while I too LOVE blogging for so many reasons, there is nothing like a pen and paper to write down those thoughts. I haven't been very good about "real" journalling lately either, and I miss it so much. Between you and Steph, I am so inspired!!

  19. The idea of a journal has always appealed to me. However, I'm not much of a writer and have always had a hard time expressing myself on paper. So every time I sit down to write in a journal (and its been years) I always feel like its forced and not authentic. I really wish I was the type of person that wrote. I think its such a great thing... for healing and growing. I have friends who have made some pretty important decision after they've gone back and re-read in their journal thoughts that they previously wrote. It was like their past self was giving their present self advice. Strange, but so cool.

    Plus, their is something about a leather journal with blank pages that is just calling out to me to write on it. I just wish I had better words to write.


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