Saturday, January 07, 2006

Compare/Contrast: Blogging vs. Journaling

This last week Stick Poet Superhero asked some questions of his readers about the differences and similarities between their personal journaling and their blogging. For three days I've been sneaking in to peek hopefully at his readers' answers only to find to my great disappointment that they weren't posting any.

So I'm taking the questions to Quotidian Light's readers, many of whom I know keep personal journals as well as blogs. How does your blogging differ from your personal journaling? Subject matter? Tone? Structure/construction? Editing time? Audience considerations?

My thoughts and observations are below (also posted in Stick Poet's comments: see link above), but what I'm really listening (watching?) for are yours. The question has me analytically curious.

My personal journaling is freer to contain fragments of drafts, partial descriptions, personal matters, my plainly stated, actual feelings and opinions on things, daily news and happenings around me and furiously scribbled snarly bits when I'm having trouble sitting through church. In short, it's more personal both trivially and on the deepest levels.

My blog writing is always done with a strong sense of audience--sometimes prohibitively so. I spend more time changing details, deleting the unnecessary and choosing specifically suitable words to obtain the effect I want upon my readers. I avoid topics (namely religion and politics) that I feel tend to stir people up in individually unproductive ways, and I go for something that either highlights an inner universal human experience and/or state of being, or the simply silly (because there's only so much inner universal human experience one can stand to read about--and certainly to write about!--at one time). My personal journal does contain a great deal of these deeper ponderings (much more than the blog), but usually not as much of the "blogfluff", although it has rather a lot of other sillinesses tracked across its pages.


Dawn said...

Wow, what a great thing to discuss. Oddly enough, I have notice I have been journaling less since I have been blogging. I don't tend to journal much different than I blog though. I always wrote like someone would read it someday.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael said...

Cindy - I'm glad you peeked but even happier that you replied!

Dawn - my journaling is often written in varying style. If I am pressed for time, but wnat to journal, word selection may not be as creative. Also, the hand writing gets (shall we say) sloppy. Persons reading my journal 30 years from now ma find translation of handwriting quite challenging.

Randy said...

I answered this great question on my blog.

Meg said...

Hrm...this is a hard question for me to answer. In essence I think I journal and blog similarly..but my journaling is sadder, it has less of the happy and more of the agonizing that I don't allow people to see in me. My blogging is more user friendly and contains the humor of my life. For what would humor be without someone to laugh with you? *shrugs* Overall I'd say I journal the deepths and blog midline depths :)

Cindy said...

Dawn--About journaling less when you're blogging: yeah, me, too. I'm not sure if it's because the writing urge is satisfied or because of time constraints, though.

Michael--Handwriting! Now there's another big factor. Blogging font is consistent, but the handwriting in my journal varies wildly depending on my mood and the situations about which (and in which) I'm writing. Another aspect of one that doesn't translate into the other.

Randy--Very in-depth analysis! Thank you! (I'm impressed with your thoroughness.)

Meg--I really like this line: "...I journal the depths and blog midline depths." Yes. You nailed it!

alaiyo said...

Hey, LuCindy -- still putting off the last syllabus, so I'll respond a bit to this.

I don't journal, for the very reason that if I did, I would write all the kinds of things I say to you when you are the only one to hear -- things that I can't commit to writing because I don't want to take the risk of its being read by those who would not understand it. The dark things, the totally selfish things, the angry things, the things I most do not understand about my world, the things I think when I am in the depths of depression.

At Inscapes I usually write about the same *subjects* I might journal about, but, as you say, with a strong sense of audience. It is the public nature of the weblog that compels me to try to be at least reasonably sensible and coherent, and to avoid, I hope, too much mere navel-gazing, instead seeking those aspects of my thoughts that might have some resonance for others.

It is in a sense "finger exercises" in writing -- keeping up by doing scales, so to speak, some simpler, some a bit more complex, but none intended as a truly "finished" product and so allowing me a bit more freedom to explore without feeling a need to "resolve."

If I'm not writing I'm totally insane (instead of *almost* totally insane). Inscapes provides the impetus to write, and to write reasonably well, with at least an occasional response from real readers, so that I don't feel quite so much like there is such a void in my life as a writer.



Cindy said...

"...It is the public nature of the weblog that compels me to try to be at least reasonably sensible and coherent, and to avoid, I hope, too much mere navel-gazing, instead seeking those aspects of my thoughts that might have some resonance for others."

Given the discussion we had Tuesday about how we form our "selves" to some degree, either purposely or unknowingly, through the way and words with which we communicate with others, then this is an example of how we can positively impact our identities for good as opposed to the deceptive self-presentation that often occurs in cybercommunication.

I think I'm rabbit-trailing here, but it suddenly occured to me... Why is it that when people communicate themselves in negative ways, they feel very free to claim, "Oh, that's not really me; I was just fooling around," but when they communicate themselves in a way that builds up or benefits their audiences, they are quick to say, "That's my real self!"

Looking at it through the lens of a former sci-fi junkie, might it not be possible that with our every communication we are standing at a crux-point of possible "selves" and making a choice? So that we are not actually able to say of any given communication, "This IS me" but should instead ALWAYS BE saying, "This IS who I am choosing to BECOME"?

If so...ouch! (And the more I'm sitting here thinking about it, them more set I'm becoming in the opinion that this is, indeed, the case.)

alaiyo said...

That makes such sense, LuCindy. I need some space to think on it (next week, maybe????), but yes, it rings true at first reading.

Would like to think on it in writing right now, but if I start I will probably miss my next class . . . !