July 31, 2002
The Real Diary Critic reviewed me—well, not me, but my site, and I would do well to separate the two, lest my self-esteem plummet on those days when I have only a handful of readers, two of whom are me from different PC’s. I’d requested a review after I’d used her format for my self-review, figuring it was only fair to give her a shot at it, too. I was also curious what someone who wasn’t a friend or relative would have to say, someone who wouldn’t be afraid of hurting my feelings. I got the e-mail notifying me that the review was done last night, and I debated whether to go look at it before going to bed. I was afraid reading her comments might cause me to be up half the night obsessing about what she’d said. Yes, I know it’s just one person’s opinion, but it does matter to me what people think. Yet if I didn’t look, I was worried I’d be up half the night wondering how she’d rated me. I compromised and took just a quick peek, enough to see she’d given me a 6 out of 10, which was twice as good as what I’d given myself. Whew. She didn’t think my site out and out sucks; I was relieved.
This morning I read the whole review, and I agree with a lot of what she has to say. I do need to personalize the design. Right now it’s just a basic Diary-X template with a few tweaks. I do intend to do something more elaborate someday, but I didn’t want to wait until I had that something in place to start writing. Given how long it takes me to work out quilt designs sometimes, I’m afraid if I’d waited to have all my own templates done before I launched my online journal that I’d be still be just filling my hard drive with entries that no one could see. I’ve been thinking recently about creating a logo, having got it into my head to take some swag to JournalCon.
I’m very glad to see that she didn’t find anything particularly annoying in my writing, since that’s something I worry about. I do these entries out for people to read, and annoying one’s readers is never a good idea. I do think I use too many dashes and parentheses and run-on sentences and repetitious wording— my English teachers would no doubt be appalled at my failure to use the skills I once was so good at— but that’s how I think. One thing leads to another and the next thing I know it’s been days since I last ended a sentence properly.
I was particularly struck by this comment in the review: “I think she is holding back on all the details. Lots of times I feel like her entries end just short of telling the full story.” That is very similar to what I said in my self-review: “Right now, she seems to keep readers at a distance, just recounting events and not sharing much of her emotions.” It’s true. I do edit myself in these entries. I expect as I get more settled into this online writing life, that I will feel more comfortable providing the rest of the story that she senses is missing. I’m still working out for myself where the line is, what I want to put out for everyone to see and what I want to keep only for me in the pages of my paper journal. I’m also trying to achieve a middle ground between detail so great it’s tedious and so little it’s inadequate. I hope to get better as I get more practiced.