A Brief History of Writing in all the Wrong Ways

A little confession about fine art of journaling, with pen and paper. I haven’t kept a diary since 2006, when I began writing on my computer.
And even before that, when I did use paper diaries, they were never nearly as elaborate, fulfilling and effective, as their digital counterparts.

I would never have been a writer, if it had not been for the computer. Or internet. I wrote my first semi-autobiographical novel offline, but the internet gave me wings. And over the years my posts have become a hybrid between diary entries, columns, personal development and everything in between.
The only consistency was that they came in the same enchanting format:
Write. Edit. And hit that oh so satisfying “publish” button.
But this is NOT the proper way to journal, to write, nor to keep your diary.

Journaling first.
I will define journaling as writing for the purpose of personal development; affirmations, working through unconscious blocks or trauma, changing limiting beliefs.
You’re supposed to use a paper notebook for journaling – because all research shows handwriting is the best way to do this kind of work. And secondly, you’re not supposed to share this raw stage of doing your mindset work. IF you do want to share something online, it is merely something that was sparked when doing your decent offline stuff.
The REAL journaling inspires your blogpost, it is however not your blogpost. Thou Shall Not Journal online.
And this goes for diary writing too.

You can’t simply type away about your real life, and then share it online.
On a side note, diaries in all shapes and sizes are still, decades after Anais Nin made them mainstream (you’d think!), not so much “frowned upon” I guess;
But diaries certainly rank lowest when they are compared to Real Writing.

Having said that, if you do still insist on keeping a diary, you can’t possibly do that online and expect it to work. It’s just not proper.
You clearly need to keep diaries private and then maaaaaybe (again: if you insist!), edit it and share a cleaned up version at a much later date.

Now for Real Writing there are even more Rules In Place. Real Writing is never based on a blog (or a diary) but relies exclusively on a writer having the patience to show up every day for Art, and work on his or her manuscript.
Preferably with the schedule for each chapter pinned to the wall.
After which the finished manuscript is then published and only the final result is ever shared.
Real Writing is the Sign of Mastery.

And I understand all that. All the rules with regard to journaling, diary writing and writing real books. I do. And it would all be great ideas, if I could actually write, offline.
I did do that.
Once or twice.
On an ancient laptop that wasn’t connected to the internet.
Great stuff.
But then at a certain point, almost without noticing it, I dropped it, stopped writing, didn’t go back; And I ended up having to rescue it by extracting it, and transplanting it online so that it could shoot root, and grow again.

It needed air, it needed to be seen, it needed a place to shine.
Offline projects simply die on me.

And paper notebooks too. They just get cluttered with all the things I m supposed to do, or insights I thought I was going to take action on, and then I don’t do any of those things. Until ultimately, and this has been the fate of all my notebooks, I cut out all the used pages and start again.
With the intention to not mess up, and process my notes each night.
And two months later I am again reaching for my Stanley knife and cut it out.
It’s so disheartening.

The only thing that seems to go on by itself is, is my online writing.
Until I stop because I feel guilty for being this overzealous in my online writing, without writing in paper journals first. That I just smack it down, and hit publish.
Or I stop because I feel guilty for not knowing where the story is going, because I don’t know where my life is going I don’t know yet which parts are important. Or which decisions are final.

But most of all I stop my online writing because I feel guilty for spending so much time doing something
a. incorrectly, obviously.
b. that is not my job, and that’s not making me any money.
And I don’t even know if I want writing to make me money. Don’t let creativity pay the bills and all that. And if I do want to make money with writing, then I would have to spend time promoting it, or if I want a real publisher then all those conversations and all the noise from feedback on old stuff, might affect my writing time or concentration.

Me stopping writing lasts two, three days or maybe a week at most, before I sneak back to my blog, hit “Create new post”, and dive in as if it are the arms of a lover I haven’t seen in ages.
So all in all; the offline projects including all notebook writing, fails. Even though I would want it to succeed.
And all the online writing goes really well, and I can stop it for a week at most.

But now I m done with this cycle… From hereon forward?
I’m never going to clear up my act, write offline, or invest in another journal to organize my thoughts. Because my thoughts get messed up from that.
My brain gets just as cluttered as that journal, from journaling offline.
THIS is my writing!
THIS is my journaling!
THIS is my diary!
THIS is my book!
* Hits “publish” *

An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living


My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

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