Don’t mistake blogging for journaling

Moleskine journal
A version of this post also appears at

I recently rediscovered the virtues of journaling, something slower, more reflective, and of course more private than blogging.

For about five years—from the end of high school through my first year or so in Boston—I wrote in a journal nearly every day. Since then—another five years—I’ve thought a blog would fill the same function. But it doesn’t. There’s a gulf between the drawing of frustratingly slow curves on a page, forcing your thinking to remain coherent as it flows in ink, and typing the deletable characters between divs, plunks on a keyboard that all-too-easily outpace your own ideas.

Put another way, I spent my late teens and early 20’s learning how to talk candidly to myself, only to mistake blogging for the same action. It’s not. Blogging is public. I know it’s public as I write each post. I think of family and friends reading and reacting. Blogging has its place, and I still expect myself to do more blogging than journaling, but blogging simply doesn’t do as good a job for helping a writer organize his or her own personal thoughts.

Above all, organizing those thoughts feels more and more like a precondition for being a good friend, family member, and husband. Like some say of prayer, you need your own thoughts in order before you can be fully available to other people.

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