Why I can't stop this anytime soon
12 November, 2002 :: 6:12 a.m.
One thing I truly love about diaryland...you can stumble onto great diaries so easily and accidentally. Click on one of your favorites on your profile...click on someone else who shares that...click on one of their favorites, etc. You can stumble across people with great gifts for expression. You can then look at their lists of favorites and if they are truly worth reading, they'll have something interesting on there and not just the generic favorites of 75% of diaryland users. Granted, I have Fight Club on my favorites and it's popular, but that doesn't mean that someone who stumbles across my diary and, for reasons I can't imagine, enjoys what they find can't look and think, "Matthew Arnold's poetry, huh? Maybe I'll check that out," or "Who is this T.C. Boyle fellow?" You can stumble into millions of great new things simply by checking out a few diaries at random.
But then there's the curse of you might find somebody saying something really well that you were thinking about and then you think, "shit, now I can't write about that because either I can't put it as well, or I may find myself subconciously (or consciously) borrowing some of what they said." If that happens to me, I usually try to put a few days between myself and the diary I read before writing myself...often I move past that moment and forget to write about whatever was on my mind. So there are pros and cons to reading other diaries while writing your own.
Still, it's shown me that either there are a lot of good fiction writers out there (which some undoubtedly and some obviously are), or there are people that have things worse than me and still create beautiful entries out of their hardships. Or you may look and go, "Jesus flipping pancakes! This person whines more than I do and about even dumber things than I do."
Then there's the ego thing...there's the "boy I'd love to have a zillion readers that left me hugely complimentary notes about how great my writing is or how funny I can be." That's tempered by "yeah, but I'm writing about what's going on with me and how I feel--if someone relates and enjoys, fantastic, if no one else reads this, I feel better for having an outlet." And yeah, I could sit and write a regular journal, but a) I hate actually writing since I can keep up with my thoughts faster when typing and b) even if no one reads this, putting it out there while remaining anonymous feels much better than holding it all in. It's not about knowing others are reading it, it's about knowing they could.
I never sit and draft entries and edit them...I do them the same way I write my papers for school, I sit and fire them off. Sure, once in a while I'll look back and find some typos and fix them, but that's it. I don't go erasing or altering what I've written. It's there for anyone who wants to sift through it for the occasional spots that might strike a familiar chord in them and it's there for me to remember how I felt even if I've changed my mind 12 times since yesterday when I wrote it. I may look back and not feel the same way about something, but it's all there to remind me (should I choose to look back) about where I was a week ago or 2 months ago or back at the very beginning.
So if a lot of people suddenly started reading this, of course it would feel good, but it would also alter my diary. If I were aware of other people reading on a regular basis, I would stop and second guess everything I wrote down and I would probably not include some of the things I do. There would also be the temptation to make up stories or borrow stories from others to make sure I had regular content to keep readers happy. I'm glad that I was introduced to this, I really do think in a large way it has helped because sometimes after those really bitchy, whiny entries, once I've hit, "done!" I already feel better. Sometimes the next day I read an entry and I can't remember what made me feel that way or I realize it sounded much angrier than I thought it did at the time, but it's okay, because that's the point...for me to get my feelings down and recognize them and know where I've been and that I've gotten through it. What you get is what I felt at that moment I was sitting with my fingers working their paths across the keyboard...for better or worse, this is me.