Writing Life: To Keep or Not to Keep

This piece from Quartz is actually talking about journaling or diary writing, a more personal form of expression than writing a blog that is open for public view. But the question is pertinent: to keep or not to keep.

The opinion writer here suggests that diaries are not to be kept, for the simple reason that “very little writing stands the test of time, and that’s fine.” Diary writing has numerous benefits for the individual who writes, but the entries are not necessarily of timeless benefit to the literary world.

Here is one enduring benefit, and it strikes a chord with me in terms of blog writing.  I think blog writing makes me more fluent in the language of both contemplation and observation.

Journaling also offers some of the same benefits as meditation, refining your relationship to the mind. It’s an opportunity to observe thoughts and feelings, watch them arise, and then let them go. Just as a meditator is taught not to judge thinking, but to note its qualities—how thoughts are constant and constantly shifting—a diary writer can become fluent in the language of contemplation.”

There is really no backup on the WordPress system for blog posts, which I’ve been writing since 2009. I could create my own backup, or I could print out the daily posts and enter them in a notebook, keeping what I’ve written in the old fashioned way. But I choose not to. The point of the blog is that I observe and contemplate the world around me, part of a daily spiritual discipline that involves being attentive and grateful for the immense gift of being alive. The point is not so much what I write as THAT I write.

And that you read, of course. That’s the difference between blogging and journaling. Blogging has readers, and journaling has an author who is the singular reader. Blogging is reciprocal and active. Journaling is individual and contemplative.

Your thoughts? Do you write regularly in any form, and do you keep what you’ve written?

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