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Why I Do It

September 27, 2006

While I was in Las Vegas, my domain registration renewed, which marked my third anniversary here at my own space after about a year and a quarter at the now-kaput Diary-X. That certainly doesn’t make me old school, but it’s still a fair chunk of time to have been writing about my life online. When I started, I was looking to satisfy my curiosity about what it would be like to have a public journal. Have I gotten what I wanted? Yep, pretty much. I wanted to go to JournalCon, and I went to the ones in San Francisco and Austin and D.C. and San Diego and to a few other mostly-journaler gatherings besides. I wanted to have a place to rant, and I do, though I try not to indulge too often. My concerns are really so petty compared the stuff other people have to deal with. I wanted to show off my quilts. I sure have done that. I wanted to see if declaring my goals in a public forum would make it easier to achieve them. It did seem to for a while, though in recent months I’ve been slacking on both the declaring and the achieving.

In a lot of ways, not much has changed since I started writing online. I’m still married to the same husband, still living in the same house, still working for the same company, still quilting, still struggling with my weight. My life isn’t exactly the same, of course. The company I work for is has tripled in size and now fills two buildings. Bubba the guinea pig is no longer around, which I knew would happen, and I’ve started knitting and running, neither of which I would have predicted in 2002.

Why am I still keeping this journal? Habit is part of it, but that’s not enough to keep me going by itself. I had a habit of writing three pages longhand every morning for years and that has pretty much gone by the wayside; I’m amazed at myself when I write at all on weekday mornings, and when I do it’s usually one or maybe two pages. I write here because I like to. I like taking a break in the middle of the workday to think about life outside the office. I’ve also come to rely on having it as a reference tool. I can search the archives easily to find when I visited a place or what a particular baby quilt looked like and so on. If I can find it online, I don’t need to remember it, and I can use the extra space that frees up in my brain. But I wouldn’t have to keep this online to get that benefit. Why share with anyone who wants to stop by? I keep doing it because I like the connections with other people that it makes possible. I have friends I do things with offline whom I first met through online journals (mine and/or theirs). Not everyone who e-mails me about something I’ve written turns into a friend, of course, but I’ve gotten a lot from even casual one-time exchanges of messages. I’ve thought about adding a comment feature, which would make it more likely I’d hear from more people, but for now I’ve decided to stick to e-mail. That’s easier to manage, and I don’t want this site to become a chore. I do it for fun, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I’m still enjoying it.

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