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Journals & Writing

The stereotype for a blog (and specifically a LiveJournal) is the post that shows up every 8-10 months, lamenting that they haven't written in ages and oh how embarrassing that is. And then nothing else for another 8-10 months.

As I do not enjoy being a stereotype, I made sure to get a couple of actual entries in before committing the sin of writing about writing. (Insert snark here.)

It is something strange. I wrote in my old journal from 2001-2007, then retired it shortly after I moved to London. I then created a mostly-private journal that I only opened to a very select few after a couple of months. I've been debating opening up parts of it for some time now - if nothing else, it fairly well documented large parts of the experience I had there - but what was most impressive, to me, was the diligence with which I wrote.

I started writing in it on November 14, and then continued writing in it. Every day. Every damn day! Well, this isn't strictly true; there are days I would miss writing in it, due either to procrastination or a hectic schedule ... but I would then make sure to write about two things the next day, and back-date one of them to the day before. My journal had a calendar in its sidebar, as many LJs do, and I really enjoyed seeing every single day ticked off. Once I missed 5 days in a row, and I had to spend an entire day writing. That was both draining and really friggin' cool.

I originally intended to do it for one month. Just to see if I could. Just to see what that whole "Write every day" thing felt like. (Answer: It felt like work. Hard as hell, but commensurately satisfying.) But from November 14 through March 13, I missed only three days in January. And that was it.

The past year and a half that I've been back in Chicago has been a surprise in many ways: some enjoyable, some less. The extent to which I became involved in theatre this past year represented portions of both; while I've enjoyed taking part in nearly a dozen productions, both large and small, it took up so much of my time that I had little - or, for long stretches, no - time for anyone or anything else. And, along with close friends, the biggest casualty was writing.

Having had time to myself again for the past few months, I have continued to feel the itch, and hope to be able to scratch it, regularly, in a way that I can once again be proud of. It's something I still have to figure out the right balance for: Not only do I now have less time in my life in general, but time spent journalling about current thoughts or experiences takes away time available for fiction, and other writing projects. Not to mention, oh, the desire to properly maintain relationships and the barest semblance of a social life. (And I'd sure love to get back to drawing at some point....)

Fortunately, I'm meeting more and more writers, which helps to inspire. From playwrights to bloggers to several friends who are actively participating in this year's NaNoWriMo, I'm seeing more people put their damn words together in a way that impresses and uplifts me. I still don't know what my writing space will look like, as I start to wade back into it - but I'm hopeful, and eager to see.

But one favor I have to ask: If it's another 8-10 months until I write something? Please, someone, kick me in the head.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 9th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
I started writing a diary when I was 13. I wrote in it every day even if it was just to note the weather. the form changed slightly over the years and as I got older the frequency got kinda choppy (it's hard to write a detailed accurate entry when you've had a few drinks... and just as hard when you're suffering a hangover), and I also had days when I would spend hours scrawling about a week or mores worth of news in to my book.

It was a very 'girly' kind of diary I think with lots of photo's and movie ticket stubs and notes from friends stuffed into it and clippings from magazines etc decorating the inside covers of the many many volumes.

I stopped writing for about a year in 2004 I think (maybe earlier, maybe later) and missed it. It works as a good vent for me to get stuff out before it drives me crazy. Even with LJ I still have a physical book I try to write in, although I normally end up having to go back through months of LJ entries and deciding which entries are worth copying into the book.

But Live Journal and other online blogs are a separate entity to the handwritten journal, i think.

Also I'm glad other people occasionally write on this. I have a friends only account and it feels like most of my friends don't use this any more :P
Nov. 10th, 2009 07:17 am (UTC)
I known a few people - well, all girls, actually - who have voiced a similar thing re: the difference in writing on a screen and writing on paper.

And I can *kind* of understand it, but only vaguely ... because I type fast enough that writing by pen seems AGONIZING at times. (Also, I do a lot of my composing and initial editing on the fly and use the backspace key a lot. Things you can't do as well on paper without a lot of scritchy-scratchy!)

But yeah, it's interesting to see how LJ seems to have declined a bit in the advent of Facebook and Twitter. Which is unfortunate, I think, because I still believe LJ offers an experience that isn't really duplicated quite anywhere else. But then, maybe people twitting is their reaction to the problem I cite - that of having less time to write down their thoughts - but where they take the tack of writing in 140-character lines, I just stopped writing for a while.... :P
Nov. 10th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
well facebook is more of a 'what am i up to right now' kind of medium. but a journal is much more indepth thoughts on subjects or whatever.
My physical paper journal is mostly the private entries of LJ. sometimes you need to get stuff down to clear out your head, but don't really want to share with the world.
the more public ones are like writing a letter to a friend, only a bunch of them all get it. I often copy an LJ journal entry into an email for friends and family that aren't on LJ and vice versa (stuff about our trip to the UK or a wedding weekend etc).

yes handwriting can be exceptionally straining on the hand but I'm glad I do it on occasion because I love to receive hand written cards and notes and letters and it seems to be a dying trend. It's rare to see nice handwriting these days and writing in my journal helps me practice.
I'm an old fashioned girl at heart. :)
Nov. 10th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
I'll definitely be willing to kick you in the head because you are probably the only friend I have on my LJ anymore that writes anything. So when I get into writing, and I don't see any of my friends writing, I get bored and give up, because while its nice to send my thoughts out into the void, its nice to read someone else's, especially my brilliant brother! =)
And kudos to you on wanting to improve on your writing, because I'm either too lazy or I don't really feel like there's much more potential to improve my writing. I write the way that I speak, and that's about as good as it gets lol.
Nov. 10th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC)
Don't sell yourself short - there have been more than a couple of times I've actually been pretty impressed with the writing that's come out of you.

But yeah, I expect you've kind of got a lot to fill your plate already right now...! :D
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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