The Lost Art of Journaling

Hi. I have a question today. I’ve been wondering about this for a while now.

Why are blogs a thing of the past? Why don’t people dig online journals anymore?

I remember the glory years. Livejournal. Blogging our feelings, connecting with new people. I made friends from England and Mexico and Minnesota and Colorado and lots of other places. I traveled to other countries to meet people. It was fun. I wrote down a lot of memories. I still have those friends in my life. They’re some of the best people I know and I would have never met them if it weren’t for online journaling.

Now it’s a ghost town. I’m still a little sad about that. I enjoy going back to my archives and looking at what I was doing in 2003, 2004, and so on. I try to continue journaling, even when having three kids and a career and lots of side projects means I don’t have a lot of time. Sure, I cringe at my whiney college self and the endless lamenting on men who were clearly bad for me (hindsight’s a bitch, you know). But it’s real. It’s raw. It’s documented for posterity.That’s me. 21 year old me. I’m so glad I did it. I can see evolution in my identity. I can see my personal growth, maturity, feelings–everything is out there. I love it.

Nowadays, it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I’m happy I discovered TimeHop, which keeps giving me memories from 6 years ago when I had a preemie in the NICU. Those memories I had more or less buried in my mind, forgotten. The pictures are great. Photos of my first child in an incubator, all skin and bones, hooked to tubes and wires. But words are different. Stories are different. Pictures don’t always tell those stories.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it might not be the words that accurately describe that memory. In my journal, I can read about the reality of those pictures. 53 days of going back and forth to the NICU, twice a day, pumping every hour, kangaroo-caring my 2 lb 15 oz son, crying, stress. So many emotions that a photo can never entirely capture.

Journaling is so important. It’s an observing ego. I’ve always done a combination of computer and traditional paper journal. I try to write down as much as I can (when I remember, these days), especially when it comes to memories with my kids. I want to remember every second of their childhoods. The cute things they say. Events. The good, the bad, the frustrating, the happiness. It goes so, so fast. My life is going by so fast. Yesterday I was a whiney 21  year old lovestruck over an idiot. Today I’m a mom of 3, married, homeowner, career woman. There were a lot of journal entries between the 21 year old me and the person I am today.

Even blogs I used to follow have fizzled. Those that are still going have changed. It’s not about savoring a good post anymore. It’s all about pictures. And most people don’t even want to read the blog with pictures. They’d rather just get the photo on Instagram, or read a witty quip about something or another on Twitter. It’s not the same.

Pictures seem so lazy to me. Yeah, I get that it takes time to edit them. But when did we turn into people who would rather be entertained by something visually rather than read? Okay, strike that. Let’s not talk about how many hours of TV the average American watches.

But still. Come on, people. Writing. Journaling. Documenting your life! These are important things.

What do you think? Why is online journaling dead? Do you write online? If not, why?

I’m interested in hearing what you folks do.

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