blogging sponsor love

Why Blogging is Different from Journal Writing

June 3, 2015
I love learning more about other people’s unique creativeness as well as their creative process, and this often times includes learning how and why people journal. I have my own reasons for blogging as well as keeping a private book of thoughts, but it’s always interesting to hear from others on this topic as well. Today I’m excited to share with you Sheryl’s thoughts on the topic of Journal Writing. Sheryl, a transitions counselor – among many other things – blogs over at How To Make A Life, and I’m so glad she has agreed to share her knowledge and thoughts with us today. 

 

why blogging is different from journal writing 

I have been a journal writer for most of my life and I had no intention of becoming a blogger. My journal contains my deepest personal thoughts with questions and doubts of my life and the events I encounter. My blog contains a much more organized and eloquent view of my world than can often be summed up in a few hundred words or so. Blogging can be considered a form of journal writing but it hasn’t taken the place of my journal. Today I wanted to address why blogging is different from journaling and is not the therapeutic journal writing that I encourage my clients to participate in. 

When I explore with my personal clients if they have or currently journal, I point out daily tasks that they do which fall into the journaling category. These tasks and events can include: keeping a calendar, social media posts, food journals, to do lists and anything that marks the regular passage of time. Once someone realizes they currently journal, I can then assist them in moving to a more therapeutic level of focusing upon how the day made them feel and what their emotions were during the time. 

Research continues to show that regular journal writing improves mood and overall health. By regularly exploring the emotions of life, one is allowing time to truly face what is going on in life and often discovers the answers within their writing. 
A recent post on how to create a journal practice brought many comments from other bloggers including how most wanted to return to journal writing or begin a practice. The one comment which stood out was from the blogger who remarked that her blog is her journal and she no longer writes privately. 

I do not disagree that a blog is a journal. Depending upon the slant of the blog, it can provide a scrapbook of vacation pictures and food recipes along with family milestones. However, if you are focusing solely upon establishing well written posts with beautiful photographs, you are ignoring the thoughts and comments in your life which deserve to be acknowledged. Our personal (or professional) blogs can not and do not need to show the rawness of our lives. However, as a counselor, I also know we need to acknowledge the rawness of life. 
I purposefully and slowly began my blogging career two years ago after the death of my mother, I desired to share the grief journey of a grief counselor in order to help others who were also grieving. In the beginning, I did not post on a regular basis and although I look back and see the rawness of many of my posts, they were crafted posts that I put time and effort into as I knew others would be reading. My private journal during this time included prayers, letters to my Mother and questions of the grief process. 
Blogs have become another outward expression of our lives. Bloggers spend time establishing content that will draw readers, spend money on new designs and worry about pageviews and comments. Journals sit in our nightstand or on the table.

Many bloggers apologize for not posting 3-4 times per week and fear readers will stop returning. Journals do not judge if we go months without sitting down to acknowledge what is going on in our life. A journal doesn’t need an apology.

Blogs need to be written for optimal SEO optimization. Journals do not care if there is the appropriate number of keywords. One blog post can take hours or days to compose and edit. A journal does not need to be spell checked or cross checked for grammar errors. 

I believe that most individuals who develop journal practices and blogs are by nature writers. The process of writing a blog or journal allows for time to explore thoughts and capture events in ways that could easily be forgotten if the time is not taken. 
My own private journal practice has changed over the past two years. I am able to read my past blog posts and remember the events I was struggling with and how I wanted to share the struggle with others so that they would understand if they ever found themselves in my shoes. I can find myself going several weeks without pulling out my private journal. However, it is often not long until I feel the inner tug of needing to sit down with my own thoughts that no one else needs to be aware of except myself. 
I am grateful for the platform blogging allows me to have. Having others share that my posts were meaningful to them or assisted them through a difficult time provide me with the encouragement to move forward. Publically sharing difficulties on my blog has also held me accountable. If I am going to be brave enough to share my battle with eating healthy and staying gluten free then I need to consistently live the lifestyle (and also share when I fail). 
My personal belief is everyone, whether they publish a blog or not, should maintain a private journal. It may need to begin simply in the way of a calendar and listing if the day was good, fair or bad but it allows time for reflection in a busy life. 
Where are you sharing your personal hopes, thoughts and reflections? Do you feel you are allowing yourself time to slow down and reflect upon where you are and where you want to be? There is nothing wrong with sharing these comments with the world but I encourage you to make sure you are sharing them with yourself first. 
You can find regular posts on the subject of journal writing and ways to discover the pieces of a happy and healthy life on How to Make A Life. I would love to have you visit!

What are your thoughts regarding the difference between blogging and therapeutic journal writing?
Sheryl Signature (1)

You can also find Sheryl here: 
*Today’s post was a guest post, written by Sheryl from How to Make a Life as part of the Ember Grey Go the Distance ad spot. 

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  • Melanie

    Loved this and I totally agree. If you're on your iPhone all the time, the Grid Diary app and really helped me maximize my thoughts about my day. And I feel like it's my one spot I can say the things that I was too afraid to be judged for during the day.

    It also sends a reminder every day at whatever time you choose (mine's at 9 and I don't let myself go to sleep until I've at least emoji'd what I'm feeling (the BEST part about using your iPhone) and listed some things I'm grateful for.

    Thanks for sharing such a great reminder. (I'm so sorry about your mom, by the way. I lost my 5-week-old son to SIDS 8 years ago, and sharing my struggles through writing and connecting with others is what helped save me.) Hugs. ā¤ļø

  • I don't think blogging is like a journal unless you're trying to use it as one. I still have a journal that I love to write in it. Being able to sit down and just jot down my thoughts feels like a stress reliever for me. lo

  • *lol

  • i do agree with this. although blogging can be used as a sort of journal, i think it's different, especially as a blog usually is public. i both blog and write a diary, and to me they're so different and my diary is so so much more private, thoughtful and deep, haha! xx

  • Great post. I think some people use their blog as a journal, which isn't for me, but is definitely more of a stylistic thing. I suggest to my clients that they should journal because it has such great benefits- some of which I also see are true to blogging!

  • This is brilliant, Sheryl. I'm not very well-disciplined in journal writing, but I completely agree that it's different from blogging. I wrestle with a lot of things that I would never share on my blog, but it doesn't mean that those thoughts aren't important for me personally. This is SUCH a good post.

  • Thanks Daisy! I feel like as bloggers we know there are things we don't want to make public but at the same time we don't make the time to privately sit with it and journal. It's important to do both!

  • Melanie, thanks for sharing about the Grid Diary, I hadn't heard of it and love to hear of the different apps. I'm sorry to hear about your son. I believe you and I are both evidence of the power of writing being therapeutic in our grief journeys. Hugs to you!

  • Yes, being able to get those thoughts out is an excellent stress reliever! It's important that we all make time to do so. šŸ™‚

  • Thank you Cassie! I suggest to all of my clients that they journal in some form and often it takes some time for them to find the form that works for them. Blogging has been more beneficial to me than I would have ever thought when i began.

  • I absolutely love this! Blogging and journaling are so similar in many ways, but also vastly different. For me, blogging is an outward way of sharing my faith, who I am, and a few things going on in my life. My journal is much more personal and tends to be the source of my struggles that I deal with privately. Great points!

  • I would never call my blog a journal. Even though I post a lot of personal things there, I am not willing to use that space for my deepest thoughts. And to me, that's what a journal really is.

  • What a great, great post! Yes, both are writing, and yes, both are sharing inner thoughts (usually). But to me, journaling is for my innermost, private thoughts and a cathartic exercise. Some things I write in my journal I would never share out. I've burned old journals after filling them, because of the privacy of the thoughts inside!

  • Burning a journal can be so cathartic and I often recommend it for my clients who either don't want others to read what they have written or who truly need to "rid" themselves of what they have written. Thanks for sharing what you do, I always love to hear about the journal practice of others.

  • I agree with you in regards to your journal needs to be for your deepest thoughts. I believe for some the definition of blogging/journaling varies and it's important to understand the difference.

  • I so agree. In many ways my blog is a journal of my life since I began blogging, I am able to see how my perspective changed and what I was going through with my posts. Yet at the same time, I kept my struggles private and only shared them in a public post when I felt it would benefit others (and it was never as raw as what I privately wrote). Thank You for sharing and commenting.

  • I LOVE my journal. I'm so thankful to have a place to share my inner most thoughts and reread them (or not) over the years. I've kept all of my old journals and plan to always have them with me just in case I decide to venture back.

  • I'd never heard of the Grid Diary either – thanks for sharing that. I'm so sorry to hear about your son, Melanie… I'm glad I was able to help connect you to Sheryl this week. xo

  • I love how Sheryl noted that your journal doesn't necessarily keep a timeline of how often you come back to it- it's there when you need it. Well-disciplined or not, it's there! šŸ™‚

  • I've burned a few journals too, Rebecca. ha šŸ˜‰ Very healing also!

  • Love this Sheryl! My journal writing has changed so much especially since those days when I had a Lisa Frank journal that had a little lock…but I still love keeping one to look back on and remember those little details that were long forgotten!

  • Thanks Alexis! Our journals change because we change and I love that we are able to look back and see that through our writing.

  • Anna, I keep all of my journal also. There are some that I have never reread but then there are others that I have pulled out several times to remind myself of where I have been and what I have been through. I always love connecting with other journal writers.

  • Burning journals can be one of the most therapeutic events in the world! It truly is a way of "letting go" of all that we have held in. Thanks for your kind words Rebecca!

  • Yes to the Lisa Frank journals, ha! That's when it all began for me as well…