Journaling and Blogging: What Should Their Content Be?

There is a substantial difference between journaling and blogging. Some may disagree and say that the only difference between the two is the medium. One opens a notebook or lovely bound blank text created for the very purpose of personal record keeping or one signs on and types into an electronic template of semi-personal design such as WordPress offers. I’ll accept that argument on the surface; but, what blogging offers, is the chance to Immediately share what you are most passionate about and in a form that acknowledges the presence of a reader.

Journaling, as I see it, is very personal and rather random at times. There is no need to worry about physical presentation or proofing because you are the only audience that must interact with the text. Perhaps your descendants may inherit these books and care to read them, but they are not the same audience as the online and blogging community who do not know you and may very well not find your idiosyncratic shorthand or random punctuation endearing. Leave that to those who want a personal connection to you or scholars studying your method of constructing narratives. I am thinking of the Alcotts (as in Louis May, author of Little Women) and the family’s regular discipline of journaling. These journals, their letters, their early works, etc. all serve to enlighten us as to how someone like Louis May developed her skills and her interests. We find out that the need for income as well as artistic output sat on each of her shoulders driving her on.

Now, does the average reader want to read these entries and letters every day? Not really. These are supporting material rather than primary areas of interest for many people. Do we want to read formally presented works that are as ponderous, belabored, and stylized as the works of her often-ridiculed father, Amos Bronson Alcott?  No. I’m not saying their private writings or public failures don’t have importance in American history or literary studies. In this family’s case, they also have a substantial place in the study of Transcendentalism. But not all of the family’s writings are of themselves enticing reads for the casual observer.

So, I stand for blogging as a form that is conscious of an audience and responsible for producing well-planned work ready for interaction, while journaling is the private process of drafting ideas or pouring forth observations and reactions or plans that have no need of a formula or obligation to an audience.

If you are interested in reading about Louisa May Alcott and her family, I recommend Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson. While it often belies the author’s bias in favor of A.B. Alcott, the text is an excellent introduction to the family and the American embrasure of Transcendentalism. For scholarly essays on the subject, I recommend searching JSTOR. Check with your library to see if they have a subscription to this database. As always, avoid treating Wikipedia as anything other than a starting point offering tertiary materials that my not be accurate at all times. Primary and secondary sources are what you want.

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Heron Moon Press

I am an adjunct assistant professor of English at Pace University in NY, adjunct faculty in English at Raritan Valley Community College in NJ, an online member of the adjunct faculty at SNHU College of Online and Continuing Education, as well as a freelance editor and writer. For many years, I've taught, guided, and tutored many individuals from those as young as kindergarten age to Grad-school students. I've worked on fiction, nonfiction, and memoirs. What has given me the greatest pleasure, is when I have students get together in a group, and create a story together. I offer the theme (e.g., Create a version of Red Riding Hood) and they run with it. I hope to offer this community collaboration to many more people. The goal is to prove that you don't have to be alone to write, you don't have to offer yourself up alone to the group, you can collaborate and offer the world (yes, the world is the community) a chance to create a narrative together. The results have been amazing.

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