Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Journals and blogs...

I realized the other day that I hadn't actually picked up a pen to write in a journal all year. Not once. This from a guy who journalled pretty regularly.

It bothered me to see that kind of gap.

So, I did the 'year in a nutshell' catchup and started writing. It felt good. Much different than posting thoughts online. Oh, I still self censor a bit, but not nearly as much.

There's something therapeutic about writing in a journal. It's nice to be able to look at old one's and try and remember the person I was back then. Sometimes the changes are pretty drastic, but mostly there's the same old me looking out of the pages.

Usually, to mark a new start like this, I buy or make a new journal. This time I kept the old journal since there was plenty of room still left. Instead, I bought a new pen. That's it right there. Nothing but a fountain pen will do for a journal. It just feels right to slow down, drink some coffee and scrawl out some thoughts with an fountain pen.

In my journals, I seldom do any editing and the writing isn't thought out much. There's no attempt to tell a story in any way other than the straight forward 'I did this today' style.

For any type of writing beyond that, I can't work with anything other than a computer. I tend to make a lot of typos that I backspace over as I'm going. Despite this, I can still pound out some verbage rather quickly. Facing daily deadlines for a few years will do that. It will also make you realize that your writer's block is something to work through. You can't have writer's block and get a 400-word piece out in fifteen minutes.

Blogging is a bit different for me. It's a lot like writing for a paper I suppose. Usually, I just sit down and start typing. A little while later I'm done and I don't do much editing...until I see the typos or bad grammar that I've already posted. Ah well, I was never much of a copy editor, I was more of a creative editor. My friend Josh has cleaned up enough of my 'edited' copy to know that's true.

So, I was wondering how other people write. Do you just quickly zip it out? Do you labor over the words? Where do you type your posts? Do you use a word processor and then paste into the Blogger form? Do you write at home, or work, or school? Should you be doing something else?

And then, once you've posted something, do you just sort of forget about it, or do you check back constantly to see if there are responses? I tend to check a lot, but I have odd work hours and I can do that kind of thing...

And what do you get from all this? I think we all take something different away from this great blog experiment. But, what is that something?

Just wondering...


Brookelina said...

I used to agonize over my posts and edit until my finges bled. Now I just don't have the time. My blog has suffered for it. I miss reveling in the writing process, but unfortunately blogging doesn't pay the bills. I barely have enough time to whip out a post, read other blogs - and of course - comment! I never imagined that the commenting would take up so much time!!!

And yes, I love checking for my comments. I actually get disappointed when I don't get many.

I really need to spend less time on the internet....

The Girl in the Black Tee Shirt said...

I just spit out whatever I have to say, then re-read it once it's posted to check for typos, then edit.

Lately I've taken the lazy route and posted pictures of myself that I made look really cool using Picasa.

And yes, I check for comments all of the time...I'm always bored and I get annoyed when nobody comments on my blog!

Eileen said...

Yesterday I wrote in my journal for the first time in a long time, too. I do enjoy scribbling things out in longhand and not worrying about editing. It's more of a personal space than my blog so it's all sorts of messy.

Joe said...

Blog killed the Journal-star.

Since I've started my blog, my journal has suffered for it. I always want to go back but there is always so much to do . . . you know. I like blogs because there is a chance that someone is going to see it. It's exciting.

My journal usually starts off with an idea (a dime a dozen) goes off in a general direction and then runs out of steam. I think what seperates 'writers' from . . . well me . . . is that they get back on the horse and keep going, don't use so many cliches and . . . use fewer elipses.

If I could, I would rewrite and edit and rewrite again, but then nothing would ever get posted to the blog.

Shawn said...

See...here I am checking already...

Brooke - Yeah, it's hard to explain the BandAids on your fingertips, isn't it? And commenting does take a bunch of time. I'm thinking about just having a generic one that I leave everywhere - something like, 'hell yeah!' or 'I was just thinking that! Awesome post!' - but that might be a bit obvious, huh?

tgitbts - It's kind of nice to just let it out.

Eileen - Mine is definitely messy. But I like to have that personal space where I don't worry about offending, or saying something the wrong way, or even punctuating correctly...

Also, I still think the SF3 should go to London this winter or spring.

Joe - That's one of the things I like too, the interaction. And don't knock the elipses...without them I would surely perish.

What I hate even more than an idea running out of steam, is when I have a great idea and then forget it. It wouldn't be so bad if I totally forgot it, but I remember just enough to know that I once had a great idea.

Laura said...

Very rarely do I mull carefully over a post - unless it's something really complex. I just spew out whatever I find interesting. If you find it interesting too, great.. If not, tough titty.

I usually write them on the fly, with little or no revision. Though that's always been my style, even in academic writing - I have thoughts in my head and I just write them down.

I never got into journaling, it always felt weird, like I was writing for no purpose - since really, who was going to read it? Not me - I'm writing it, I know what it says... certainly not anyone else.

Eileen said...

There might be more of a possibility for a London trip in the spring. I'm definitely aiming for a London trip sometime next year.

The Zombieslayer said...

I steal people's ideas all the time. But of course I give them credit. Or I think of a life experience that I think someone else might find funny and write about that. Or I write about an issue that either I agree with or strongly disagree with.

Blogging for me just flows. Most of my pieces are written and edited in under ten minutes.

I keep a journal too, but it's full of doodles and blueprints. It's personal stuff that would bore anyone else.

My original blog pieces were meant to be spoken in front of a live audience and actually were former spoken word pieces. They're less and less live audience though as I haven't performed in three months.

Anonymous said...

When you're borderline OCD, it's hard to keep a journal. I tried and kept ripping pages out because my handwriting wasn't good enough. When I switched to the 'puter it was so much better. I tend to have a general idea of what I want to write, but if not, I just think of my day and what I could write. And, if all else fails, I can always, ALWAYS come up with a list of things that annoy me (in various forms). Since I try to have something new at least once a day, I have to delve deep in ye ole cranium more than I can count.
I'm a complete comment whore, too. If no one comments on something I'm particularly fond of (like, say, a picture that I love), my reaction to think is, "well, I guess it sucks then." Comments are fun.

Shelly said...

I've never been one to keep a journal. Oh, I would start many but would never finish them. I have about 6 journals at home that have a few entries each. Then i got the bright idea to write letters in my journal to my boyfriend everyday while I was in undergrad (we are 15 hours apart). But alas that failed too.
I like to blog b/c i know there is a chance that someone might read it. What can I say...I like having an audience!
Also...forget editing! Just let it flow. No one cares if you misspelled a word or used too many elipses!

tshsmom said...

I started my blog hoping to meet people with similar experiences with a Tourette's kid. I have met other homeschoolers, parents with Tourette's kids and adults with Tourette's. We have helped each other immensely by sharing our experiences!
Blogging has turned out to be WAY more than this. I've met MANY fabulous people, like you Shawn. I've learned a LOT of worthwhile facts and seen life through other's experiences.
While blogging about our home repairs I told my husband that people in 10 states and 3 countries knew that we were sleeping on the wrong side of the bed.
Should I be doing something else right now? Absolutely!! My chores will still be there later.

kris said...

I agonize over every moment of it, and I wish that my blog reflected that more often. I think of the readers, many people specifically. I leave myself voice reminders on my cell if I have good ideas.

And now I think I'm just embarassing myself.

Shawn said...

Eileen - Spring it is then...maybe...perhaps...could be... That's pretty definite for me, eh?

tshsmom - I sort of came in expecting a momentary diversion, but have been lucky enough to see some pretty varied viewpoints and learn a bit too. You're right about the people. It's nice to make contact with some interesting folks.

jnation - I'm the opposite... When I don't get comments, I wonder why everyone else sucks so bad.

laura - You always spew some interesting stuff. It's always fun to see what you've found out about and are sharing... I bow to your Noodleness.

zs- Those are always the best journals. I started keeping one because of the one I saw on 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.' I thought it looked really cool with the neat binding and cool stuff written and drawn inside. Had to have one too...alas, mine is sadly lacking in the excitement factor.

shelly - I hear you about the audience thing. I really want an audience when I come up with something I think is neat. Usually, I find that there still aren't enough geeks around to appreciate some of the weird oddities that make me excited.

kris - I don't know what my day would be like without a stop to see what crazy shit you're going come up with... So, I'm totally glad that they let you use your cel phone at Sweet Blogger High so those ideas don't get lost.

I'm also glad that your 100 blogs weren't all about Joe...

Jason said...

I pretty much just crank it out, although at one point during the neverending Aisha thing I actually did several posts at once in sort of a rough outline, then I went back and fleshed them in.

I never had writer's block when I was working on regular deadlines, but now I frequently have outliner's block.