I started a personal journal in 2001 over at the LiveJournal site (I even purchased a permanent account.), and in the pages of that journal, my college years were documented. My meeting my husband, and the progression of our relationship lies on those pages.
I still occasionally post in my journal over there. It’s a private space to put my thoughts without fear of being “misunderstood.” However, most days it simply becomes a place to house my twitter posts, and I put my writing energy (and time!) into this blog instead.
That said, the other day I found myself chewing on the difference between what I did with my journal versus what I do with this blog. (Ironically, moments later my husband asked me the difference himself! One of those, “Get out of my head!” moments we have regularly.) The two venues are completely different for me, even as the idea is the same: putting my thoughts “on paper.”
journal – (1:) an account of day-to-day events (2:) a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use
blog – a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer
The definitions for journal and blog really don’t go deep enough, for me, to understand the difference, because, for me, they are distinctly different.
For me, journaling is a distinctly private thing to do. My journal over at LiveJournal gave me a relatively private venue to post recaps of my days or a place to vent. LiveJournal allows me to select people to see entries if I wanted feedback, or it allows me to keep entries completely private. Entries are more and more private versus “friends-only” these days.
For me, personally, journal = diary. It’s just that journal sounds a little more “grown up.”
My journal over at LiveJournal started out a public forum. Somehow I had these crazy designs that people would be extremely interested in my mundane day-to-day life. yeah, not so much. I did meet the woman who was my maid-of-honor in my wedding at LiveJournal doing this, though! However, when I think of that journal, I also think of the ways it hurt me and others through its public forum back then. Lesson learned: some things are just better left PRIVATE.
In the last few years, though, my journaling has gotten to be less and less. Mostly, I’ve put most of my writing energy elsewhere (ie here), and I’ve not felt the NEED to journal as much. I blame that partly on Twitter, since my journal was so often just a recap of my day. Now I do that throughout the day in quick 140-character updates.
The need for my journal remains, though, deep down. Some days, I need to get something off my chest, and the only place I can do it is in the privacy of my journal. It has its place. It will always have its place. But its totally different from blogging.
It’s still personal thoughts, personal opinions. Some bloggers simply recap their days, much like I used to do in my journal. Others use it as a social commentary. Others straddle the line between those two. I suppose you could say I fall in that last group.
When I worked at a newspaper, I had a weekly column. It was the highlight and the stress of my week. I loved the free form nature of my column. It allowed me to stretch my legs, writing-wise.
My column was equal parts thoughts about my personal life, and thoughts on news events — both local and national. That’s where my stress came from: choosing a topic that I felt comfortable writing about for my audience to read.
Today, I don’t stress about topics as much, but my blog is without a doubt the same idea as my column. I straddle that line, writing about whatever happens to be on my mind at the time. Be it personal events, social commentary, news events or just something I think people might like to know. Hence the tagline, “the wife of a touring musicians tells it like she sees it.”
What I love about blogging is that it truly is from a unique standpoint. We all come from different walks of life. We all have a different place in society. However, there are certain events or experiences that encompass us all. We just all view it from our unique perspective. Its that perspective that I think a blog centers its existence. Taking that perspective and putting it down on paper. It’s equal part editorial and news. Fact mingled with opinion, out there for a public audience to read, learn from and debate.
So when someone asks me if my blog is my diary, I can definitely say it is not. Yes, it chronicles my thoughts at a given time, but its not my private thoughts and rants. Its written specifically with a public audience in mind.
Journal vs. blog. Private vs. public.
Its truly, for me, that simple.