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April-Lyn and Amanda (in ApL's Reblogger) have raised the topic of offline journals. And that is what I shall talk about now.

I've never managed to keep a journal for very long. One summer (I think the one before sixth grade) I managed to write pretty much every day, but that ended as soon as school started again. A few years back my dad, inspired by the wisdom of his buddy Dr. Cyr, bought Eric and I hardcover blank books as an incentive for us to start keeping a journal. I think I lasted three days.

When I first encountered the concept of the blog (in the form of wockerjabby's old layout), I felt really weird about reading it. It was like, despite the prominent link in Rabi's sig on the Brunching UBB encouraging people to read wockerjabby, there was something unforgivably intrusive about reading someone's journal. It took Dave entered the blog world that I got comfortable reading them on a regular basis.

Now I'm a bit of a blog addict (as evidenced by how easily I was badgered into starting this blog). I have every intention of continuing to do this for as long as I have internet access. So the question becomes, why can't I keep a normal journal, but I blog with gusto?

The answer (as far as I can figure out at the moment): because this format isn't private. I bother to write things here because I want to share them with people. It's an extension of why I write for The Maroon-News, or post on the Brunching UBB. I was beginning to lose interest in blogging during the time between BlogVoices' death and the installation of Reblogger (and may very well have quit if I hadn't been blogsitting for Dave), because the lack of response made me feel like I was just typing this for my own health. Though I respect Dave's decision to ditch Reblogger and SiteMeter from Yuccacentric, when I read his explanatory post I couldn't help but feel that I was looking at blogging the opposite way. I'm not doing this because it's of value to me, I'm doing it because it's of value to you (assuming you're reading this of your own free will, which is sometimes hard for me to understand). Or rather, it's of value to me only because it's of value to you.

Since this is for an audience (and quite a mixed one at that -- Brunchmas, Colgate people, and my family), I'm obviously not writing my deepest secrets here. Which is how I want it. I don't like the thought of my deepest secrets being made concrete, in a form someone could read (even if precautions are taken to prevent that). I don't even like them written in a format I could go back and read later on. The example that comes to mind (which may be treading close to the line of deep secrets) is a crush I had on a certain girl through all of high school. The whole time, I avoided telling anyone, even my best friends. I certainly didn't ever write it down in any way. Midway through senior year I decided to see if I could. So I closed myself up in my room, got a scrap of paper, and scrawled something to the effect of "I like Liz" -- just a very brief sentence including her name. I looked at it for a couple seconds to confirm that I had indeed made my thoughts concrete in that fashion. Then I erased what I had written, scribbled heavily over the erased area, ripped the paper up, and stuffed it into the bottom of the trash can.

So any offline journal has nothing to say besides a dry recording of the day's events. With no audience, I have no motivation to say anything important. And in fact, I would tend not to. I don't like to set down thoughts just for the sake of recording them, because they'll change and develop into something better if I keep going over them in my mind. And I hate having old versions hanging around. I have at least six versions of the first chapter of my novel. Once I find one that satisfies me, I intend to throw the others out. Drafts are fine for getting feedback (which is what I do here), but I prefer to present the world (and myself) with only the finished product. A normal journal would trap my thoughts in an immauture stage, without bringing much benefit.

Also, I'm too lazy to write consistently unless people are expecting it of me.


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