writing a journal online
mad in pursuit resource page
Top 4 Tips for Online Diaries
If you take your journalling online, it must be because (a) you have something to say and (b) you want to be read. So...
#1 Don't lie. You may need to be discreet about certain facts or to disguise some identities, but don't be a faker. Trying on new identities or changing your persona is part of the online diary fun, but the purpose of journalling is finding your own truth.
#2 Don't ramble. Let the words flow. Sometimes you need to write for a while to trigger the magic, to gain an insight, to find the great words, to see a new connection. If your entry is both long and lovely, do your readers a favor: go back to the top and write a few lines of introduction. Say why we should take the time to read on. What's the point?
#3 Don't be boring. Sorry for the tough love but... if you rant about the same assholes day after day and your story isn't changing, get a therapist.
#4 Don't be an idiot. The truth must be told, but think: who's gonna find what you wrote and what are they going to do about it? Sometimes it's courageous to take ownership of your words, no matter what. Sometimes, it's just stupid — especially when you've revealed yourself as a dishonest, mean-spirited narcissist.
Learning to Write a Journal
This website started out strictly as a journal. A place to pour out my worries and think through my anxieties. True to form, when I decided to do this in 1999, I jumped onto Amazon and bought books. (All the answers are in books—somewhere—you realize that, don’t you?)
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. The cover blurb says: A course in discovering and recovering your creative self. Way too much "God" and recovery movement language. Still, there is good advice about keeping "morning pages" -- a daily writing discipline -- and "artist dates" -- occasions where you give yourself permission to stop being purposeful and simply absorb art generated by someone else.
My journal-writing study phase occurred at the end of 1998. By the end of 1999, I was bored with journal entries that were bitchy rants about the present — a thousand acres of winter wheat — where was that going? The immediacy of the online journal is its hallmark (This is happening NOW!) but I lacked the art of milking the moment. I couldn’t get the hang of caricaturing the absurdities of my corporate life. Memoir pages became more interesting to me as I put together the mosaic of my life, so I got more from reading about writing memoirs and personal essays.
But I did wind up writing this pretty cool essay about keeping a journal on the web. (Imagine for a moment your anonymous rants, then learning that your mother has found you.)
Then in 2003, when I quit my job of 24 years to change careers, someone gave me a another copy of The Artist's Way. There was still too much about God but I decided to do the Morning Pages anyway — and without worrying about posting on the web. I got into it. For a month after becoming self-employed, I took my coffee and my notebook to our ground floor study, turned on the space heater and wrote. I didn't worry about posting web pages. I just wrote. It was fantastic.
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