Notes from a presentation on journaling/blogging

I gave a 20 minute presentation on blogging and journaling this evening. It was a really enjoyable experience. I love getting to talk about the writing that I love to do. It was nice to share that love with people who were considering picking it up. What follows here is notes from my presentation. This is mostly for my benefit. I may have to give a similar presentation some time in the future and this way I can start from the notes I already have. It also allows me to point people to this entry instead of creating a piece of paper to hand out. Perhaps it will even be useful to someone who was not at tonight’s event. Keep in mind that these notes only served as a jumping off point for discussions which were much more nuanced and specific.

The difference between blogging and journaling: Journaling is primarily private, the only intended audience is yourself. Blogging has an audience in mind even if that audience is only one other person. Both blogs and journals can contain personal thoughts, events, experiences, or commentary.

Costs and Benefits:
Both cost time, energy and brain space. Some of the tools require practice to use.
Writing thoughts down helps them be clearer and more focused. It slows them down so they can be examined.
That slow down provides a conduit for inspiration and seeing things in a new way.
In a public blog, sometimes you get comments. That can be either a cost or a benefit depending upon the nature of the comments.
Can be a wonderful way to connect with family, friends, or even meet new people.

Paper and pencil- journals don’t have to be elaborate. I’ve grabbed scraps of paper before. But I recommend a method where the bits of paper won’t get lost.
Bound book- this can be anything from a special tome purchased for the purpose to a ten cent spiral notebook. At times I have found the spiral notebook to be very nice because it is so relaxed. I scribble all my notes, math calculations, lists, etc in the same place and it becomes a record of my life at the time.
Online- Lots of options. I’ll only list the three I know personally
Livejournal – An online community which has friends lists similar to facebook. People can lock their entries according to who they want seeing the entries. Read their site for more details.
Blogger – A journal or blog here can be completely password protected, or open to the public. Read their site for more details.
Own Domain name – This takes a lot more effort to set up, but can be very flexible and useful.

Stumbling Blocks:
“My life is boring” – No it isn’t. All of our lives are full of things that would be fascinating to someone who lives differently. Find the little stories in your life. The odd conversation in the grocery store line. The child’s lost tooth. Think of the stuff you would tell to a friend you haven’t spoken to for a day or a week. You can carry a little notebook to scribble notes about things as they happen so that you don’t come up blank when the time comes to write.

“It is a burden” The blog or journal is yours. You own it, it should not own you. You make the rules. You don’t need to apologize if you haven’t written in a while. The journal or blog is not going to get upset. It will wait for you.

“I always forget” Like any other habit, practice is required to make it a regular part of your life. Practice also makes figuring out what to write easier. You’re training your brain.

“People are watching” This one is blog specific, particularly if you post publicly. It is easy to become self conscious. Make sure you set some clear guidelines for yourself about what parts of your life are private and which are public. Everyone will put their line in a different place when deciding whether to pose photos, names of children, location, etc. Do your own research. Think through the risks and pick what is comfortable for you.

Note: In private journals, be sure to include full names, dates, locations and details. In five years you won’t remember what “lunch with friends” was about unless you put in the details. It is not polite to post such specific information about other people on the internet unless you have their prior permission.