Too Personal for Twitter? Journal It!
Today’s guest post is written by Mari L. McCarthy, author and journaling therapy expert.
One lucky reader will be picked at random from your comments to win a copy of Mari’s latest book Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life, a gentle process for self discovery through journaling.
Too Personal for Twitter? Journal It!
Many millions of us are having a wonderful time with social media. We love sharing our daily lives with others. We like recommending great reads or new products. We appreciate being able to talk about how life is treating us, in mini-posts to friends and followers.
Though Twitter has become increasingly commercial, it is still a great vehicle for all the minutia of your days. People greet one another in the morning and say goodnight before retiring. They talk about their current tasks and pre-occupations. They post snapshots, jokes, comments. The same goes for Facebook, Google+, and most other social networks.
And we have to admit that we love sharing in this way. It’s cathartic to be able to express so prolifically, to make connections so readily, to exchange with others so constantly. The habit brings us vast learning, many new friends, and a certain personal satisfaction from the regular self-expression.
So in some ways, participating in social media may seem like journaling.
But there’s an important distinction. Online, your activity is social. In your personal journal, what you are doing could be called the opposite of social. You are in a private place, speaking to yourself; you are not limited by any social rules. So from this point of view, journaling and social media are at opposite poles.
Because journaling is for yourself alone, you can talk about far more intimate subjects, reveal far more depth of detail, achieve heights of authenticity that even the most enthusiastic social media guru can’t touch.
In your journal, you can also wander aimlessly, something that’s sure to lose your audience if you do it online. Your spelling and grammar can be atrocious, your handwriting illegible. What’s more, you can doodle in the margins. (When the internet figures out a way to let us doodle in the margins, I’ll revisit this article.)
Another key distinction between social media and journaling is that – because it is social, I suppose – online updates are uniformly positive in attitude and tone. It’s rare, even, to know a person’s political leanings, much less their bad luck stories or their foul moods through your online relationship. If you know someone exclusively via Twitter or Facebook, you are very likely to know only their best public side; you remain in ignorance about their failings at least until the conversation moves to a more private arena.
While mindfully cultivating a positive attitude can turn a person’s life around, being willing to look your more negative thoughts and experiences in the eye is a key part of self-development. We know that suppressing feelings can cause depression and other illnesses. Talking about the dark side may be taboo online, but your journal is always calmly and kindly receptive. Using its pages as the vehicle for your moods of all kinds brings you to a transcendent awareness, and a new power over your emotions.
On the internet, there are pockets of real life that will never be shared openly. Therefore, despite the web’s awesome usefulness, personal journaling is still critical to the balanced life.
Connect with Mari
Mari blogs at http://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog
Mari’s latest publication is Your Money Matters! Use Journal Writing Therapy to Get Financially Fit Now (more details on Mari’s website Create Write Now)
If you would like to win a copy of Mari’s e-book Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life then either leave a comment below telling us how you have benefited or think you might like to benefit from journaling, or share your experiences of using Twitter or another social media platform as a journaling tool.
Double your chances of winning by leaving a comment on the JBBC Facebook page where we will be giving away another copy of this terrific e-book!
To journal is to discover who I really am, without fear of judgement or condemnation. It is also to begin to enter the “boundless presence” that Brandon Bays talks about in her work. Journalling really helped me to find my way from out of the darkness, back into the light.
Journaling therapy is a powerful way to sort out thoughts and feelings, especially during times of great stress, heartache, personal issues, illness etc.
I first started to journal towards the end of my mother’s fight with cancer (over 10 years ago now), I found it very helpful to write down some of my worries during that difficult time in our family life.
Today I still journal from time to time, its a wonderful way to release some of the stress we carry inside and can bring about self awareness just on its own….
I’ve never really done any journaling, but I keep seeing more and more about it and the more I see, the more intrigued I am. I do a lot of writing, but it’s not typically anything on a personal level. I’m very interested in this and will be looking for more information. 🙂
Excellent points. I think the same can be said for a lot of the online blogs and those too are not true journaling. Even in an online blog someone is watching, judging, challenging.
I get blogging but I don’t get all the over-sharing that goes on in twitter and facebook..not for me, so it is good to read this post 🙂
Lovely to see Mari appear again as guest writer on JBBC – I really enjoyed her previous post on journaling and missed out on winning a copy of her book that time – hope I will be luckier this time 🙂
I believe that writing is a wonderful therapy, getting your thoughts down on paper has power, power to heal, to makes sense of any experience you are going through.
Great post and giveaway 🙂
Ooh a book giveaway..just the perfect thing to find today 🙂
I am a big believer in the transformative and healing power of journaling and would love to learn more by reading this book 🙂
Journaling is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to accelerate your personal development. By getting your thoughts out of your head and putting them down in writing, you gain insights you’d otherwise never see.
My journal is my life line and I couldn’t have gotten through many of the tough life experiences I have faced without its support.
I kept a diary all through my cancer treatment and am so glad now that I did. I would really agree that it is a very valuable thing to do – very therapeutic at times
Writing/journaling is how I made it through the loss of my mom and then my own cancer diagnosis/treatment. I am a huge believer in the power of journaling. I blog, but I don’t reveal everything there! Social media certainly has a purpose, but it does not replace journaling. It never will because well, it’s social and journaling is private. I wrote a post on journaling a while back. Here’s the link.
Hi Nancy, thanks for the link and for sharing your experiences and your thoughts on the distinction between the two.
When I started blogging & doing Social Media nearly two years ago, I stuck to safe, but important, survivorship topics for breast cancer women. As time’s gone by, I’ve realized the things that produce the most positive “thank yous” from readers are the things even their doctors don’t discuss with them.
Recently the editor and founder of ThirdAct.com, the largest Baby Boomer website for women, also the founder of MORE magazine, for women over 45, has created my own blog on her site because I am so transparent.
I’ve had a lot to deal with this year, with losing James the day after Christmas, his family, trying to save his business, which is my key source of income, etc. I’ve been a published magazine writer for over 30 years, usually writing in memoir form, and my breast cancer and recent life experiences are no different. I’m tap dancing as fast as I can to stay afloat and find my way, and I tell it like it is.
Before posting this week’s piece about the state of my vagina and “self pleasuring,” I thought long and hard about it and even had a discussion with the ThirdAct editor who encouraged me. While some may find I’ve crossed a public/personal line, I wish you could see the number of private Twitter messages I’ve received from women all over the world, thanking me.
I am continually amazed and inspired by you Brenda and your writing – haven’t seen your latest post yet, but looking forward to reading it (think I may be blushing already!) Like you, this blog started off very reserved and very staid and factual, but very quickly, it became my lifeline through my own traumas and heartaches. I couldn’t be without it now and the wonderful community of friends I’ve found online.
Great posting; I love your distinctions between journaling and social media. I’ve been journaling for years, and what I have discovered through the process of daily journaling is that the journal has become my friend, a being who is nonjudgmental and whom I can always turn to in times of happiness and strife.
I generally journal before I go to sleep, and it really relaxes me, kind of a writing meditation. It also gives me a sense of power because I can write what I want, whenever I want.
Interestingly, my three-year-old started journaling last night, something I hope becomes a habit. She likes to imitate mommy, and she saw me journaling and wanted to do it. I got her a new notebook and a special pen, and she drew the letters A and H over and over again, as she laid in bed. She said, “I’m journaling, too!” All I could think was, how cool.
Oh Beth, what a sweet story 🙂 Looks like you are laying the foundations for a wonderful habit for your daughter. I like the way you journal before sleep -Mari did a guest post for JBBC earlier this year and wrote about journaling as a way to get a better night’s sleep – you are obviously putting that into action!
My public persona is so different from my inner self, which struggles to maintain self-worth and overcome deep hurts. What’s interesting is that many of my social media friends know me well enough by now to sense if I am struggling in my personal life. They actually have e-mailed, phoned or private messaged me about their concerns and we have engaged in one-on-one healing conversations. How freeing that I can share more intimately my inner hurts with these special friends whom I trust! It’s amazing how people can be so in tune with others’ problems, especially among those who have struggled through breast cancer. I’m truly blessed.
My private journals are stuffed with my innermost aches, and I even wrote a Country Western song/poem in my online journal about my latest interpersonal afflictions. What fun, and what healing laughter it brought me when I edited it and reread it!
I often reflect on the different masks we wear Jan (in fact I wrote about it here a year or so ago) – or as you put it the public and private personas. Sometimes things are too precious, too private to share with the world and that is when personal journaling is a wonderful release. I am so deeply sorry for what you are going through at the present time and wish you healing and strength xxx
Mari and Marie,
Thank you so much for your post. Before I got diagnosed with cancer, I never had time to journal. I was too busy living my life to write about it, or so I thought. It’s only in looking back that I see how detrimental it was to my emotional health that I never took the time to reflect on my sadness from a recent break up or my anxiety about succeeding in my fast paced job. Shortly after my diagnosis, a friend recommended “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
This book changed my life. Now, every morning when I wake up, I write 3 pages in my journal. I have an outlet to release all of my fears about the big changes coming up in my life. But, I also find myself coming up with ideas about how to live my life more fully. My current dream to start a not for profit to help other cancer survivors volunteer internationally and then travel the world, raising awareness for it, started as a journal entry. Probably something along the lines of, “wouldn’t it be cool to help other survivors have a similar experience to what I did in Africa”.
The same goes for almost all of the decisions I’ve made in the past 18 months of my life. All of the big dreams and plans started as tiny thoughts on the pages of my journal.
Thank you for sharing and for helping raise awareness for journalling as a tool and a way of life.
All the best,
Journaling often works for me when other tools don’t. I sometimes have to give myself ‘homework’ though, to be sure I take the time to write in my journal. I agree that one of the great things about journaling is that it is for my eyes only. I know my daughter writes extensively in her journals and they are very private and personal and treasured by her.
Thanks for your great post.
Wonderful to have your comment, as always, Debbie xxx
Thank you for this interesting blog post. Blogging has been such a wonderful experience, now I am looking forward to journaling. It was also a treat to read the various comments from fellow bloggers. Keep up the great job!
Great to have you here again Kim 🙂 Thanks for the comment x
This was very interesting – I hadn’t taken in the distinction before, though it is very obvious now I am enlightened!
I find my blog has been invaluable for processing my experience with cancer, but I did also keep a journal alongside the public version! This was in places very practical, listing side effects, how many lengths I could swim and blood results etc. But I find it very powerful to revisit as it conveys so much more and so much raw emotion. I find that handwriting reveals so much that online expression can not (like doodling too !) When I re-read my journal I can see my shaking scrawl from when I had dreadful neuropathy in my fingers, anger and frustration with big angry capital letters and exclamation marks. I can also see how my frame of mind changed as the experience wore on.
Thanks – indeed we learn something new every day 🙂
It’s amazing to see the journey you have been on reflected in your handwriting this way Philippa. It is a great idea to have kept a diary throughout treatment.
Have been thinking about this a lot recently and agree how therapeutic it can be just to write everything out, probably never to be read again. Was thinking about password protected pc journal tho as not sure I’d want my darkest thoughts found!!
It’s incredibly therapeutic Dee and it is very easy to set up a private online journal for your eyes only 😉
A shrink once said to me talk whether it be the weather or stubbing your toe we must learn to communicate to release stress. In the UK we hide our real emotions from view the stiff upper lip approach. So a journel whether it be online or at home is a release button. It gives you the chance to read back and make sense of that days events. Even hit the edit button, but one paragraph could help you in your darkest hour.
I’m very much with you Sarah on journaling being a release button.
Excellent reminder – I’m going to dig my journal out of the boxes today (was packed up for shipping, but there’s no excuse now we’ve arrived!).
Good woman 🙂
Thanks for all your great comments everyone. I shall be picking the name from my random generator at 3 pm GMT
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Although I absolutely adore Twitter, I’ve noticed that during my own tussle with breast cancer (diagnosed May 2011) my tweets have been sporadic and much less personal than they used to be – I hadn’t quite made the correlation between that and the increase in my journalling practice until I read Mari’s article!
Journalling has been a real sanity-saver, where I can share my deepest, darkest fears without burdening and frightening my Beloved, friends and family – thoughts and feelings that I certainly would never share on Twitter or any other social media site, in case I scared others going through similar battles. In some ways I feel I need to protect other people – this is since I visited a specialist breast cancer support centre just before I went in for my first operation in June, and the stories I heard shared around the lunch table were utterly terrifying to me. I left the building shaking like a leaf and my head so full of demons that had crept in, telling me “your luck isn’t going to continue – you are going to share their hell too”.
I am following Mari’s 27-Day Journalling Challenge right now and it’s been enormously helpful as I go through chemotherapy and deal with the physical issues that are presenting themselves for urgent-attention!
Excellent article, Mari – thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a great comment 🙂
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