How to Maintain Your Online Diary
Starting an Internet Journal
Keeping a journal or diary is an excellent way to record memories, deal with emotions, and even strengthen your skill as a writer. Moving that diary or journal to an online format has several advantages--for one, typing (for most) is much faster than writing. For another, your online journal can be accessed anytime, anywhere--from home or work computers, from your phone, etc.
Keeping on online diary has the same problems as keeping a written diary, however--sporadic entries, lack of interest, and a busy schedule can mean you go days or weeks without an entry.
Read on for tips on how to maintain an online diary, as well as other considerations.
Deciding Between a Public and a Private Online Journal
Before you start your online diary, think hard about whether your want it to be public or private. Remember that if you don't choose a private format (and even Blogger and Wordpress can be password protected), anyone at all can find and read your words. This means your parents, your significant other, your friends, your boss--anyone! The internet is huge, but it's not so huge that you can write with abandon.
If you choose to keep your online diary private, you will be able to write freely and use real names. If you're looking for a place merely to record your emotions and thoughts, and would never want anyone to read it, keep it private.
If you choose to keep your online journal public, you won't be able to write as freely--it may be best to change names, not use others' last names, and ask others' permissions if you may write about them or post pictures of you and them. You will have to be careful about what you write about work, friendships, and where you are located (there are a lot of crazies out there!). However, one benefit of having a public online diary is that you will be part of a thriving, supportive blogging community. By sharing your opinions, feelings, and daily stories, you can meet like-minded people and form friendships you'd never otherwise have made.
Once you've decided whether to keep your life private or make it a little more public, then you'll have to focus on maintaining your internet journal.
Writing Consistent Entries in Your Internet Journal
Whether you're recording your own thoughts and emotions so you can remember them into the future, or whether you're trying to grow a readership with a public blog, the key to success is consistency. To give an accurate picture of your life and imbue it with interest and emotion, you will have to write regularly--once every few months won't do it! Start with every four days and increase from there if you have the time/inspiration.
If your online diary is public, people will expect you to update regularly--once you grow a readership, those readers will be eager to know what's going on in your life. If you don't share your life with them frequently, they will drift off and find other blogs to dedicate their extra time to.
Writing frequently and consistently will also keep your experiences fresh--is an entry you write immediately after an event going to be more exciting, or an entry you write a month after an event? Time dulls memory and emotion, but writing soon after the fact will capture the spark that characterizes engaging writing.
Preserving Your Entries for the Future
Blog/journal applications come and go--some are popular for a while before new ones rise to take their place, and only a few endure through the years.
If you do ever quit writing for an extended period of time, it would be devastating to come back to your diary and realize it has been disabled and that your entries are lost. To save yourself this heartache, archive your posts on the site if it has that function, and back them up on your hard drive as well. Saving them in two locations means you're less likely to lose those years of memories.
Online Diary Success
Maintaining an online diary can be both a fun hobby (in the case of engaging in a blogging community) or an emotional outlet where you preserve real, even raw, memories. Either way, write truthfully and often, and you'll have created a map of your life that you can revisit for years!
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