Journal Keeping and Blogging

This article originally appeared as a guest post on Anne Payne's blog, Stuff & Nonsense. (February 15, 2013)

Since my early school days I have been enamored with notebooks, pens and pencils. Opening the stiff binding, touching the smooth lined pages, making notes with my best handwriting in bright blue ink or with the sharp point of a pencil has always been a thrill.  Even today, blank journals with beautiful covers allure me. I keep a journal for almost every aspect of my life: gardening, travels, day to day events, prayer, bible study, general research on various topics. All of these are on-going.
Journals through the years
Then there are visual journals.  About a decade ago, I took a visual journal workshop at the Brookfield Craft Center, taught by Charlotte Hedlund.  It was so much fun, thought expanding and creative, I have been making and working in visual journals, altered and handmade books ever since. Not to say that I have amassed a huge collection. Most are still works-in-progress. When time allows I return to them. Each time I thoroughly enjoy the experience and tell myself I need to come back to it again soon. But then something always seems to pull me in another direction…
Visual Journals
Blogging is an extension of physical journal writing with the creativity of a visual journal, but is even more dynamic. Photos can easily be inserted and written about. Much faster than putting together a physical photo album. Hyperlinks can be embedded into the blog post keeping information easily accessible. No photocopies or notes need to be written to summarize articles read elsewhere, places or events visited, movies or videos seen. The internet has information on all these topics and a click on a link takes you there, providing a more complete experience.
And the fact that someone may actually be reading what it is I am writing adds another dimension. No longer am I writing for myself, but also for a potential reader. I believe this helps me write more completely, wanting the reader to understand what it is I am trying to say.  In personal journal writing, a type of shorthand can be used since I know what it is I am thinking. Whatever words are put onto the paper will be reminders of the thoughts, feelings or questions I had at the time I wrote them. Specifics aren’t always necessary.
Just as I keep separate journals for separate topics, I have four blogs for different interests. The decision to create separate blogs was made with readers in mind. If this was to be a private blog, chronicling the adventures of my life, I believe I would have created only one. As I read the blogs of others, I do appreciate the authors who stay on topic. For instance, if I am following an artist who writes about her work, adding recipes for chicken soup is a little distracting. Likewise, if a follower is reading my art blog for information on papermaking or printmaking, he may not want to read about caterpillars on fennel plants or childhood memories.

My blogs are:
Honeysuckle Cottage and Wisteria Studio - my first blog, this is where I post most often. I discuss the art I create - the process and the inspiration behind it.

My Big Backyard: The Diary of An Amateur Naturalist - here I post photographs and write about  birds, small animals, butterflies, dragonflies, bees and other insects and natural phenomena occurring in my little world. 

Hortus ConclususLiteral as well as figurative, this blog explores the physical gardens which I cultivate, the spiritual garden within, and the intellectual garden of horticultural knowledge gathered through decades of study, observation and practice.

Stories Matter - a blog about the family stories I heard growing up and stories about my own life. This blog is new and does not contain much at the moment, but I have great aspirations for it!

The difficulty for me comes when my interests overlap. My horticultural experiences often inspire my art. Planting flowers that produce seeds attractive to goldfinches is a post fitting for both my nature and gardening blogs. I suppose the important thing isn’t so much how to organize experiences, but to enjoy them and to share them with others. 

I thank you for taking the time to read my guest post and I thank Anne for giving me the opportunity to write to you. I hope that you want to read more on one or all of my blogs.  

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