For years I journaled, filling dozens of notebooks with mental wanderings–the events of the day, my thoughts, my joys, my hurts. Some days, I’d sit on the deck with my journal for more than an hour, enjoying a cup of coffee, watching nature unfold in our back yard, letting the journal do its healing work. Often by the time I finished writing, I’d have worked through some thought process, solved some mental problem I didn’t even know I had.
When I took up blogging, I journaled less. I enjoyed the challenge of fitting my thoughts into 300-400 words. I figured that my blog was serving the same purpose as my journal. But I was wrong.
I’ve realized as time has gone on that blog writing is edited writing in more ways than one. It’s a single thought as clearly stated as I can make it. It’s a single thought I’m willing to put out to the world. Frustrated with a work assignment? Spat with my husband? Anger at some perceived injustice? I know some people air all that laundry in their blogs, but that’s not me.
More important, though, I couldn’t spill all that out because it’s writing about an event that helps me understand not only the details of what happened but also why it affects me so and what I could possibly do to resolve the issue and get myself to a better place. It’s writing as I used to do in my journal–rambling on for 5-10 pages–that helps me get my head around the problem.
When anxiety had built to an unbearable level in my chest last week, I finally realized I needed to write freely, for myself, without an audience. I needed my journal back. So, yesterday, I was back on the deck, journal and pen in one hand, cup of coffee in the other. I wrote for two hours. And believe me, I feel better.
So whether there’s time in my life, or not, I’ll be journaling again.
All you writers out there. Do you journal? Do you blog? Do you see the same difference in the writing that I have? Or do you see it differently? I’m interested in your thoughts.