I’ve kept a diary or journal off and on since I was about seven years old. My first diary had a classically late-’70s/early-’80s red corduroy cover, and my first entry was about how I was “nervice” to get my tonsils out.
As I got a little older, I was allowed to stay up a little past my bedtime if I was writing in my diary; looking back on my journal entries, a lot of them tend to either be typically elementary-school, starting with “Today I…” or a short excuse: “Nothing happened today. Memaw’s watching, though, so I need to write some more…” Very rarely did I manage to record any major life events — mainly because I didn’t recognize their importance at the time, or because I was too busy living it to record it.
In Junior High (and to a degree during High School), most of my journal entries recorded how outcast I felt and how depressed I was. I also recorded the stupid and immature things I did and said, without realizing how stupid and immature they were at the time. All that means that I can barely stand to read my own journals from about 1987 through 1990, with many cringe-worthy entries up through graduation in ’94. And again, when I go hunting for Major Life Events, they’re conspicuously MIA for the most part.
Once I hit college, my journaling was much more… journalistic, I suppose you could say. This event happened on this day, and this was my response, and these are my thoughts about it. Major life events were covered, even if I didn’t realize they were major at the time, because I just wrote every night out of habit.
My private journal shifted to a public blog in late 2002, but my style hadn’t changed yet. I still wrote about daily events and my reactions to those events, without any thought of the public nature of blogging. It wasn’t until a few years later, when the Internet became a much more crowded place and everyone was online, that I realized my blogging topics were occasionally inappropriate (about the time I discovered Dooce®, now that I think about it).
Since the mid-2000’s or so, I’ve been much more guarded about my choice of topics. I no longer write to complain about my job or about certain people by name. In fact, I haven’t been writing much at all. I’m almost reverting back to my early diary days of missing out on documenting major life events in writing, just from failing to journal every day. I post a photo every Thursday, but sometimes that’s the only post (other than tweets) all week.
I don’t need a new year to start a new habit. Starting in December (that’s two days ago), I’m going to post a blog entry every weekday. (I’ll cut myself some slack on weekends.) I don’t want to turn this into a Tumblr-style reblog, though, so I’m going to sit down and write every night, just like I used to. Granted, it was more relaxing and cathartic to write whatever I wanted into a journal as I lay face-down on the bed in my dorm-room, but times have changed… and I’m not writing an entire blog post from my iPhone or our clunky legacy laptop, no matter how much I’d like to blog from bed.