I started this post with the title Blogging versus Journaling but they are not in competition being totally different mindsets. When we started this blog website a couple of months ago, I thought it would be a journal of sorts – talking about writing, talking about being a writers’ group in the same way as I do my daily journal. I journal, however, for an audience of One, Me. My thoughts come rapidly and randomly. I capture a sentence about the weather, then one of my cats gets my attention or the main activity of my day enters the page or the thought of a friend’s dilemma. Some days I’m delving into a conundrum that needs to be sorted in my life. Some days I write about clouds. My journal entries flit from idea to idea. I know I am the only one who will look at that page. I am talking to myself. Looking back on journal pages I find that I can tell what kind of day it is or will be by the thoughts that crowd my head. I try to do morning pages but that doesn’t always work so they happen when they happen. Journaling is a kind of mind clearing exercise often done outside and always handwritten. It helps me put perspective on myself in the context of my universe.
When I sit down to write a blog it is for an audience of others. I quickly realized that the mind that writes my journal is not the mind that writes a blog. In a blog, I organize my thoughts to communicate a cogent theme. I am writing to connect with other people. I am opening my head and inviting others to have a peek. I’m writing story. Blogging is done on the computer, edited with delete and backspace keys available.
Our writers’ group has, over the years, evolved into a kind of group journaling, sorting the meaning of life through writing. We often write from prompts. Those prompts lead us into a memory or story that illuminates pieces of our lives. I find it fascinating that given the same parameters, we three come up with totally different narratives or poetry. I write fiction and all fiction relates to reality on some level. No matter how whimsical I get there is a kernel of my life in a character or situation. I am blessed with a very pleasant life so when I write into a dark place, I conjure experiences I’ve heard or read, then stir them into stories based on my understanding of life, my beliefs. I do enjoy writing childhood experiences and family memoir occasionally. Everyone writes what they know. Jackie writes mostly memoir. Her stories come from deep places of personal experience. She found it very hard to write fiction when we first took creative writing classes together. She learned to do it and now comes up with characters and imaginary situations more easily. They are always infused with her Midwest roots. Sally is adept at writing both fiction and memoir. Her characters contain bits of herself. Knowing her so well now, I can spot the hint of her petticoat under the dress of her prose. She also writes from strong Midwest roots that formed her view of life. Sally and I like to write poetry, condensing a thought or experience into the fewest possible words with the most significance. That is the beauty of a long-lasting writers’ group. We riff on personal experiences to make stories we share. We explore and expand our ways of communicating in the safety of the group. Blogging is a step away from that safety, just as publishing our book, Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets is a public invitation into the ups and downs of our years together. It is a journey of discovery.