... or, "Journaling Vs. Blogging"
I don't know whether it's because I haven't blogged consistently for while, or because lately I've been focused on reading a lot of technical documentation, but I just cannot get myself to write with the ease that compelled me to write all those blog posts in 2014.
Regardless, I forced myself to publish something today no matter how bad it might turn out.
From Blogging to Journaling
I'd like to share my experience having done both extensive blogging as well as extensive journaling.
My once-consistent blogging has been replaced with a vastly different journaling habit. They both are effective means for self expression, as well as getting incessant thoughts out of my head.
Blogging Promotes Good Habits
Blogging is an amazing commitment device.
Since it's a public medium, I'm forced to follow through with the things I say, or suffer the consequences of publicly disclosed failure. I value my word, and this has been a big reason why I was successful in completing my 48-hour challenge.
I felt significant disappointment (and a tinge of embarrassment) when I touted to the world that I'd become adept at Artificial Intelligence fundamentals. I did manage to get partway through my Berkely AI course, but I lacked the self-discipline to complete this course on my own without any peer-support. This highlights the point that there's an emotional aspect to public declarations that incentivizes oneself to complete tough challenges. The one thing to keep in mind, however, is to know your own limits of what you can and can't do. Lesson learnt.
In fact, a big reason I'm writing this blog post right now is because I said I would write something.
Actually, I've been meaning to publish a more analytical piece for a while since I wrote my previous post. But it's still in draft, due to the complex nature of the subject and the post's somewhat pompous feel.
Sincerity & Psychology
Journaling, in contrast, cannot be used as a commitment device. There aren't external forces compelling you to stop mindlessly eating every evening like you promised yourself. Had you blogged about it in some creative way, perhaps you would have been able to curb that eating habit.
What I do find great about journaling is that I have the freedom to be more candid. This is not a matter of me being self-conscious (although I am admittedly timid in nature). Pseudonymous writers have existed for centuries for the sake of being able to express contentious ideas without having to face the gallows.
Journalling has allowed me to be my own psychologist, which is a good thing because the Canadian medical industry (whether its in the context of physical or psychological ailments) is quite prone to iatrogenic diagnoses. I've lost count on how many times a proposed solution has served to treat the symptom and not the cause. All this means is that I can diagnose the true root of my own [psychological] problems with greater certainty than someone else with the help of journaling my thoughts and behaviours consistently. I only wish I could do the same for physical problems.
As though it even needed mention; my auto-psychological analysis could not have worked without the help of copious literature on the subject.
The combination of journaling and learning about psychology has proven to be an amazing self-improvement tool.
Both blogging and journaling serve as really good cathartic devices. I have a well-meaning minion in my head (let's call him 'banana') that sometimes grabs hold of his megaphone and just doesn't shut up. Banana's stream of [sometimes] amazing deliberations is probably infinite. And it seems like the only way to shut him up is to write down some of his ideas.
But in all seriousness, thoughts are fleeting. Writing them down gets them out of your head and allows you to make better sense of them. Once you can see the thought, you have control of it. It's no longer going anywhere. You can now play with it. Mold it. Expand on it. Or just leave it and go to sleep finally :)
This has always calmed my restless mind. And perhaps it can help calm yours too.
Even if you're not restless. Writing things down allows you to solidify complex ideas. You wouldn't try solving a calculus problem in your head, so why try and solve any other complex problem without first writing it down to visualize all its moving parts?