Can a blog be a diary or journal? Or is it different?

All through my life, writing has come naturally to me and it was assumed that I would earn a living as a writer. Mrs. Gregg, my kindergarten teacher, told my mother this, so it must be so.  Although I haven’t taken much formal instruction in writing, the professional advice I’ve been given usually includes keeping a journal.

Never wanted to keep a journal or write in a diary for fear that someone would find it and laugh at all my twisted thoughts and trepidations. Guess you could call it a phobia, it’s that big a fear for me. Doesn’t even matter if the person reading is a complete stranger, or if my journal was discovered years and years after my death. Not even the idea of being long gone by the time strangers read my journal lessens my dread.

The fear isn’t as bad now as when I was a child and teenager.  I’m much more self-assured and recognize that my feelings are valid, and that I don’t need to get validation from other peoples’ approval. So I should be able to relax about baring my soul to a journal, especially now that I’m an adult and don’t have to worry about older siblings questing for it and ruining my life by making its contents public and then tormenting me with it for the rest of my natural life.

So why can’t I commit to keeping a journal? It would only be a help to me. Many writers say their journals are an invaluable tool for their work. They experiment in their journals and refine their writing style, and use journal writing as a warm-up before settling down to work.

And I could use a little help with my writing. It’s been my lifelong goal to earn a living through storytelling, but I have not been successful to this point, very likely because I haven’t established the habit of writing on a regular basis. I THINK about writing on a regular basis. I PLAN to write (or maybe I plan to plan to write, and that might fall into a ‘double-negative’ situation) on a regular basis, I just never actually get to the writing part.

My friend Karen and I have been talking about this lately. We agree that my God-given talent appears to be writing, and combined with my extreme lack of tolerance for members of the general public, it would be imminently suitable for me to work by myself, writing, in the comfort of my own home.

So I’m starting with the most obvious step, that of writing ‘something’ every day. I take this opportunity to air out my mind, to chew over recent events and to refine my thoughts. Lots of my blog entries come about from this process of writing ‘something’. Does a blog count as a journal entry? Or is it really the same thing?

Obviously a published blog isn’t going to be private. Readers do stumble upon it and read, or so my webmistress Jessica tells me. I do understand and consciously accept that people are reading my rants; I use my blog to spread information that I feel would be beneficial to others, like animal rescue, frugality, food and housekeeping.  And I wouldn’t bother with the blog if I didn’t feel it was being read by SOMEONE. But sometimes those blog entries remind me a little bit of a journal or diary, which usually is kept private.

I had a bad experience recently with a former co-worker with whom I thought I was on good terms. Apparently she didn’t like me as much as I liked her, because I found out that all the while she and I were visiting and bonding while working together, she was lying about me to my managers. I felt foolish and gullible and very betrayed, and I wrote about it in minute, gory detail for my blog. But after I read back through the entry, it seemed too raw, too personal for publishing.

I needed to write about that experience in order to resolve my feelings, so I did. It felt good to dump all the anger and hurt into the ‘sausage factory’ of my keyboard and see the ‘sausages’ appear on the screen. But did I need to publish that blog entry in order to finish the job? I guess not. It felt too private to share, or maybe I’m still too hurt to put it out there and risk more wounding by critics who feel I’m overly sensitive.

So…that kinda sounds like a diary entry, doesn’t it?  Writing about an experience to understand it more fully and to cope with it, but then not sharing it with anyone.

And isn’t it funny (both ‘funny-ha-ha’ AND ‘funny-strange’) that I resisted keeping a journal for almost 35 years because I didn’t want to share my private thoughts with anyone inadvertently, but here I am publishing a blog chock FULL of private thoughts on Teh Interwebz in front of potentially millions of readers?

Heh! Millions of readers–who am I kidding? This blog is probably more private and secure than my best childhood hiding spot, which was inside an old game box at the very bottom of my toy box. This was all tucked underneath a precarious pile of junk including the Battleship game boards and stuffed animals, guaranteed to make a huge racket if someone knocked it down while snooping.

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