Throughout my journey as a writer, I have often come across the dilemma of choosing between writing in a personal journal, the book type that you can purchase from Barnes & Noble, versus writing in a personal blog online. Each has its pros and cons, and this article will help the indecisive self-reflecting writer pick between a personal journal and a personal blog – or go with both, if that is your solution.
Pros to Writing in a Personal Journal
First of all, because it is a physical journal, you can much more easily personalize the layout of your journal. You can use it as a scrapbook, for instance, pasting memories of you and your loved ones above a descriptive caption or newspaper clippings and interesting quotations. If you are the artistic type, you can even incorporate drawings into your personal journal that illustrate what happened today or a dream you had. You can decorate your personal journal to personalize it by placing stickers or other accents onto the pages and covers.
It is also easier to flip through the pages of a personal journal and read back on what you wrote a week, a month, or even years ago. I have often re-discovered an old journal lying around the house in a hidden crevice, which soon led to self-exploration and blissful (and sometimes not-so-blissful) reminisces of the past. Each time, I realized how much I have changed as the years pass.
Cons to Writing in a Personal Journal
Be prepared to have others flip through your journal! This is especially true if you have a large family or one that does not believe in personal privacy, or if you are sharing a house or apartment with someone and you did not forewarn them about the “personal” part of your journal.
Another more obvious con is that it can become cumbersome keeping track of your journals and their chronological order, especially if you have been writing in them frequently for a while. In a similar vein, you might lose or misplace these personal journals and lose access to large portion of your memories.
Pros to Writing in a Personal Blog
Since all your entries will be online, it is much easier to keep track of everything and organize them as you prefer. With many blogging sites, you can even search through your entries and label them by keyword. This makes keeping a personal blog online a great organization tool for keeping track of your memories. Because personal blogs are generally password-protected, you will not have to worry about nosy family members or other unauthorized access to your private thoughts.
With the ever-increasing techniques of web developers, now you can incorporate images, songs, and even videos into your entries. The site Tumblr is a great example of utilizing multimedia sources to tell a story about your life. If you seek more traditional blogging, that is available on a multitude of blogging sites as well, such as Blogger, LiveJournal, and Xanga.
Cons to Writing in a Personal Blog
For the most part, unless you first write your entries offline in your text editor of choice before publication online, your entries will be written using the editor of the online personal blogging site you chose. This can create a conundrum of layout issues, for I have sometimes had problems with simply formatting my text the way I wish. If you are proficient in HTML and love formatting, however, layout issues may not be a con at all.
For the more traditional artistic-inclined, you will not be able to physically decorate your online personal blog. Again, for those who are fluent in online languages like HTML and CSS, commonly useful for making layouts, having an online blog creates a world of decorating opportunity. A workaround for the rest of us is to search for layouts you like online..
In general, personal blogs offer less flexibility and greater organization. Personal journals provide greater personalization but less privacy.
I go with both for the best of each world, but the choice is yours.