Sunday, December 27, 2009

Journaling – To type or Not to type; that is the question.

I’ve been a sporadic journal keeper for as long as I can remember. I will write every few days, and then go for months without writing anything at all. Sometimes I like what I’ve written, other times I wish I would have not put certain thoughts down on paper.
My current journal spans over seven years. I only have a few blank pages left, and as the end of the book approaches, I’ve been asking myself how to proceed. Should I continue hand-writing them, or switch to a computer typed format?
I see good and bad to each scenario.
A hand written journal feels more personal. It’s a physical object you can hold in your hands as you read through your own history, or that of another.
There are a couple of reasons I don’t like hand writing my journal entries. I don’t like my handwriting. Sound like a silly reason? I think so too, but it can’t be helped. I really don’t like my handwriting. When I write fast, that handwriting gets even sloppier. I hate going back and re-reading it. I can’t focus on what the words say, only how the handwriting looks. The thought of someone else reading my scribbles nearly gives me nightmares.
The second reason I think would prefer a type written format, is that I can go back and edit. I’m not talking about months or years later, changing the story or anything. But there are so many times that I’ve started writing a sentence, and my thought process changes half way through, and I want to change what I’ve written. I hate crossed out words even more than I hate my handwriting.
As for type written? It’s less personal. I can eventually print it, but it lacks the hand-touched feel to it.
But type written eliminates both of my problems I’m currently dealing with. No worries about what my handwriting looks like, and I can edit.
Also, I think I would write more consistently if it were in the computer. I’m already here most days, emailing, blogging, and working on my manuscript. It might be an easier and more natural way to write my personal history too.
As the new year approaches, I see a perfect opportunity to make the switch, especially since my current journal is almost all used up.
So my question for all of you is:
Do you keep a journal, an if so, what method do you use?


Andrea said...

I love to go back and read journals, so I always try my best to keep them updated. However, the most common line in my journal -- "It's been a while. . ."

I hand-write them as computer (type-written) seems too impersonal and I do like seeing how my handwriting changes according to mood, etc.

I also love seeing old handwritten things, which for some reason has always been a fascination to me. People used to take the time to make their handwriting a reflection of themselves. They depended on it being readable because everyone saw it, and they didn't have many other alternatives.

I have a memory of being in elementary school and being able to identify each classmate's handwriting without seeing their name on their paper. I have no idea why I remember that or why it was such an accomplishment for me, but everyone knows I'm odd that way! ;)

Annette Lyon said...

I do a bit of three things. I've kept hand-written journals since I was a little kid, and while I always mean to write in it currently, I tend to do so less often than I mean to.

My blog tends to be a place where I insert glimpses into my life, and I keep thinking that one day I'll print off certain posts and use them as journal entries just for the memory value.

And then I do some computer journaling, especially when I write letters to my kids on special events like baptisms and ordinations. These are letters they haven't seen yet, but I keep them in a file and plan to give them some day when they're older. And then there I times I just need to vent, and typing is simply faster than writing it out by hand. Sometimes I'll print those rants out and staple them into my hand written journal.