Do You Blog About It Or Write It Down In Your Diary?

Painting by Carl Larsson
(c) Carl Larsson

We sometimes blog not because we want to say something, but because we have to – there is anger or fear or joy or sorrow in us that wants to come out. For many of us blogging has become the most accessible medium for sharing with the world not only our thoughts and passions, but also personal experiences that are often troubling or embarrassing. Many a time, I have come upon blogs that are painful diaries of sorrow, misfortune, or abuse, often hidden behind smiling Gravatars or homepages painted in bright colors. And I felt compassion, as one often does, and also a quiet admiration, that people can share these things with strangers.

Blogging supersedes the personal diary in certain ways. (I, too, have been keeping a diary for more than two years now, and it’s growing thicker every month.) That blogging is essentially social does not however prevent it from creating the personal and quiet environment we need for expressing our innermost doubts and fears, like a diary does. But how much can we truly share about ourselves on our blogs before our “social awareness/unease/angst” kicks in?

I’ve written here about my romantic misadventures, health woes, or how I did not cry when my father died. There certainly was catharsis. What’s more, thoughtful and pertinent comments have lit up dark corners of my mind, helping me accept and understand.

But where do we draw the line? How confessional can we allow our blogs to be? Posting pictures of our holidays or discussing the suffering we go through after a painful breakup makes sense, but what about those deep fears lurking in us, those doubts, those unsocial ideas that we cannot easily express before our social audience without incurring certain risks? Do we keep those to our diary?

Take me for instance. For quite some time now I’ve been intending to tell you about a girl I stopped one day on the street to photograph, and about the romantic adventures and misadventures that followed, and the inevitable end, but something has held me back. I have already whispered that story to my diary, all of it, the joy and the sorrow of it, so why should I write it here, too? Has my “sense of privacy” increased with my follower count? Alas, what a thought!

Maybe some stories have to be shared aloud, and others only whispered, to ourselves. Our lives are made up of stories. Some of those stories we share with our family and loved ones, some with our friends, some we share on our blogs, and others we consign to our diary, sharing them perhaps only with older versions of ourselves when our eyes, by chance or by some brave deliberation, leaf through the mothy pages, two, ten, twenty, or sixty one years

Blogging is personal, that’s the beauty of it, but how personal do you allow your blog to be? Do you blog about some things and write others in a diary? Do you keep a diary at all? Or has your blog become your new “social diary”?

26 thoughts on “Do You Blog About It Or Write It Down In Your Diary?

  1. Interesting question. I often blog about things I write in my journal and vice versa. But, somethings are too personal to blog about. Also, very often, I will nag about things eating me up. I write about it a lot and often. Those things definitely don’t go on my blog. 🙂

  2. Sometimes I can be terribly personal in my blog. But then again, I know that nobody I know will read it. That is, I suppose, what allows me to be more free. Also, with a personal diary, there is a risk that it will be found and read; not everybody has a sense of propriety when it comes to diaries. You’re absolutely right that we are all made up of stories. Some of us share ours more than others. I like the idea that we all have unsocial thoughts that we are reluctant to share with our social audience. I thought it was just me who had ‘unsocial thoughts’. But we are all human.

      1. Now you make me doubt about the unsocial thoughts you mention on your post.. was that just a way to lure other people into confessing their unsocial thoughts? Here are two facts:
        1. I am going to employ some of your methods in replying to commenters. You are very engaging which is something to aspire to.
        2. Who knows, I might smatter some unsocial thoughts throughout my posts someday. 🙂

  3. I do both! If it seems too personal, it goes in the diary. I don’t suppose people want to know about all the weird stuff rattlin’ around in this noggin’. 🙂

  4. I am rather candid. I spoke of a student who tried to seduce me, which understandably could get me in hot water with the school. There are plenty of things I don’t mention, but that is more laziness than caution.

  5. I have no shame, but I refuse to rant or complain. A lot of that has to do with my brand. I love to share the most ridiculous things that others would keep to themselves, like in yesterday’s post!

  6. Lately my blog has become a diary and I feel anything of significant importance will be written in my blog. That goes without saying, I have a lot of drafts where I’ve written about of personal things that I’m not quite ready to share yet but I feel good in having it in a spot that could be easily released in the public. I think you tell tales better when you know it’ll be read and I like to read back and be surprised that I compared something to this or that.

      1. Some on my blog — I’ll go as far as type it. But a lot of them, yes, disappear in a drawer, not too shadowy but stained with ink and disappointment.

  7. I’m writing the more personal things in book form, firstly as a memoir, and also a fictionalised version. My blog serves as a way of practising writing, and backing up my books, that are still in manuscript form. Deeply personal stuff, close to the heart, can’t usually be dealt with in brief blog posts.

  8. I blog about my art, and my art is me, so that’s personal. But I also blog for the interaction and the constant ongoing talking in the wp community, so my blogposts are a never ending conversation with all wp friends 🙂

  9. And, nice Carl Larsson painting, not one of the most common pictures. I’m Swedish, so I’ve seen lots of Carl Larsson paintings:)

  10. This is a very good and pertinent post, Vincent. I am sorry I am late to read and respond to it!

    I used to journal… I have an entire box of journals I’ve completed over the years. Now, though… I guess there’s not time? Or sometimes seems pointless? Or both?

    As for how personal I allow my blog posts to be… All I can say is that I would say a lot more — and I mean A LOT — if I had a completely impersonal audience… If no one (including and especially my family members) knew about it. Then I could be completely free… As it is, I must hold certain things back… Or go start a new blog no one knows about. Hmph. Maybe someday, after everyone I know is dead and gone, I’ll publish a book.

    1. May I be so bold as to ask whether the reason for that is you or other people? I mean, would the things you keep to yourself hurt others, or would they light up hidden corners within you that you would not feel comfortable sharing with others? You don’t have to answer!

  11. This is the subject that we bloggers often think about. I believe we shall share experiences instead of exact story. Every personal thing teaches a lesson that can be generalised for sure. That general expression can be shared on the blog. It will be rich enough with experience and general enough to relate to many souls.

  12. Well, I think there is a middle ground where one can decide whether the matter is personal or not. It also depends on whether you don’t mind someone else in another part of the world knowing that story or aspect about you.

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