It would be understandable for one to liken blogging to journaling (or keeping a diary) as was the norm in the times of our forefathers. Both are intended to encourage us to put our thoughts to record for posterity or recollection. Both result in improved vocabulary and writing abilities. But a stark difference between the two, one that cuts a gaping rift betwixt, is readily identified when given greater consideration.
Blogging is public, while journaling is private.
Blogging, in any form is a exercise of vanity. I don’t mean to disparage the idea of blogging, but rather to state the simple fact. People blog for one reason and one reason only. They think, however misguided they may be, that they have something to say that others have want to hear. Judging by my own examination, the cacophony of voices crying out from the blog-o-sphere, is wrought with those who hold delusions of relevancy. Indeed, I may be one of them myself.
In contrast, Journaling is an introspective endeavor. An opportunity for the troubled mind to shift some of the weight of emotion, angst or woe to ink and parchment; to heartily laud him-or-herself in private ecstasy when fortune smiles upon. Journaling is an chance to be honest about how you feel when you are unable to do so publicly as is often the case for those living under the scrutinous eye of publicity. It is also an occasion to ruminate and gather ones thoughts when they seem perpetually scattered to the wind.
Do not make the folly of associating the idea of journaling with the diaries of doe-eyed, pimply-faced little girls, pining endlessly for the attentions of their equally pimply faced male counterparts. I speak of journaling in the same fashion as did the likes of John Adams and George Washington as well as nearly every educated man or woman of notoriety in that time.
It is my opinion that the best way to journal is in the handwritten fashion. This preserves privacy from all who do not have physical access to your writings. I also find that setting aside a few moments a day to sit with pen in hand and write about my day or whatever troubles me is as cathartic an exercise as the writing itself. As a technophile, I found this difficult at first and still I feel the urge to put my writings in a digital format. I could write much faster and far more legibly; my hand has all but forgotten the elegant strokes of the script it once knew. But I think there is value in taking time away from this electronic taskmaster and sitting in contemplative quiet, pen at the ready.
If you are thinking of starting a journal, I recommend the following products. They are what I use and thus far have found them to be more than adequate to the task.