A lot of us spend a significant amount of time blogging these days – regardless of whether you are just a student or a working professional(or if you’re a professional blogger). I had a short conversation with a friend recently where he was asking me something along the lines of, “Are there times when your job prevents you from blogging about certain things?”
Truth is, yes. In fact, it’s more than just the sensitivities of the job that prevent me from doing that. There’s family and there are friends too. While in the past I could freely write about things because the blogosphere was purely a digital space, it has evolved into a living entity with bloggers meeting up physically for gatherings or for professional events. The anonymity that was once enjoyed is lost. Mistakes in my writings could easily cause people to misjudge me.
Yet, I have a need for catharsis. I need to talk out my thoughts for them to evolve into useful, applicable concepts. Again, I used to have friends with whom I could sit around with everyday to talk about things but we’re too caught in our individual pursuits now that we no longer enjoy the luxury of time.
So with blogging and confiding out the window, what’s left?
Pen and Paper.
I’ve been a keeping a personal journal for a long time. Once in a while, I share snippets of my thoughts on the blog and also to my friends. But I just wanted to share with you how wonderful it is to keep one.
1. It forces you think deeper before you write.
Unlike a keyboard and a screen, you can just ramble on and hit backspace all the time. You have to think about how you want your thoughts to flow. How do they connect? How do they answer a question that you’re thinking about? Finally, when you’re quite sure you’ve sorted out your thoughts, you write them down. All in all, you think before you write – and for me, it results in a very clear understanding of a situation. If I’m in one of those analytical moods, I find myself understanding why the day passed the way it did and how I can specifically react to what might come by tomorrow.
2. It’s a good break from work
I usually write at the end of the day or when I’m chilling out at a cafe or something. With my laptop turned off, no earphones and a cup of coffee, it’s a good opportunity to consolidate your thoughts and mull over the things in life that make life itself worth living. Very often, we’re so caught up in the minute by minute events of the day that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Couple that with no chance to sit back and ask, “Why am I doing all this?” people very easily just drift along in life. One day they wake up and realise it’s too late to do the things they love because they’ve invested too much time into whatever they’ve been doing.
3. True freedom of expression.
Typing only allows you to express yourself as much as the blog engine allows you to.
Putting in a picture? Please align it left, right or center.
Want to put up a flowchart? Ok…use a flowchart program, export to .JPG, upload, insert…and align.
It won’t take long before you decide to just forget about adding all that fancy time consuming nonsense.
But in a journal, you can scribble, draw, scratch and do anything you want! Ok so maybe you need to print out photos before you can ’embed’ it, but hey, it forces you to choose one damn good photo. No videos unfortunately.
4. It’s completely private.
You don’t have to worry about someone stumbling onto your entry and figuring out it’s them you’re bitching about or having a problem with. 🙂
I think this is quite important because sometimes you have strong opinions about people and issues but you know that your thoughts have not been refined enough to be able to take a mature stand on things. Yet you need an avenue to vent that frustration. Doing it online isn’t necessarily the best way all the time.
5. You write honestly…
because you’re the only one that’s going to read it. There’s no audience to attract so there’s no need to use the most popular search terms. There’s no need for fanciful titles so that you can Pong Your Way to Infamy. There’s just you.
…Unless you’re in self-denial about something and you’re deliberately trying to deceive yourself.
All in all, it’s therapeutic and honest and very much private.
Do you keep a journal?