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Writing Then v. Now

My process of writing varies from project to project and from when I was younger to now. And it's certainly informed by all the experience I have had from writing and, of course, from living. So today I'm a different, and I believe better writer than I was even when I started this LJ, almost 13 years ago. I'd better be better, otherwise I just wasted thirteen years!

Maybe I was pretty good then. And maybe the changes aren't so apparent. But the facts are I have a lot more stuff in my writer's toolbox that can be useful than I did back in 2001. And that's a huge positive.

But also the topics I write about have shifted somewhat, and when you talk about LiveJournal as in why have people left the service, this is something to examine. If people consider their LJs as simply self-involved commentary from their younger days, they may feel that the journals they used back then were something embarrassing, something to forget, and that's clearly part of the reason why people may be reluctant to return.

As a writer, I have a 180 degree view of that. I WANT to be able to look back on stuff. That's actually the meat of it, and that's why I will poke around in my tags, scroll through the archives, and read the comments of really great people like you who took a moment to respond to something I had written.

But that's part of the reason why LJ is ideal for writers, because of those archives, those threaded comments. That's so valuable! And my friendslist has inspired probably more thinkposts than my own darned brain could have come up with. And that's why you're valuable! Well, one of the (many) reasons.

My point is as time progresses, and as we all read more, write more, share what we know, we're all changing and growing in that very human way. Where people might feel ashamed of their previous efforts, I see that as fodder for stories of varying kinds. Characters need traits that distinguish them from other people. And it's within those elements that we can find some humanity, some quirky or unique element that is both specific to that person, and yet universal in how we think about and see ourselves.

And that's also why I'm trying to post my paper journal entries here. That and the fact that I'm starting to lose the ability to read them, since they were written with a soft graphite pencil in shockingly (to my 2014 eyes) tiny print, to fit into the columns of the annual American Express Appointment Books. History is extremely useful info for a writer, and drawing on one's own experiences is a great place to start, or to enhance, or to understand more about what you're doing and who you are and what it might mean. I do wish I had the discipline to continue to write on paper after I started writing here, but that would have been a lot of writing, just about me!

LiveJournal is amazing because it proved that everyone can write something meaningful, useful, personal. And that we could share those thoughts, feelings, experiences with other people in the spirit of friendship, of understanding, of commiserating. I sometimes wonder what my life might have been without LiveJournal, but just can't imagine it. I feel like I was meant to be here.

For the post part (a typo that fit better than the cliched phrase), my experiences around LJ have been incredibly positive in pretty much every way. And even when things got a little bit unpleasant, that's still helpful in the process of both understanding humanity and in self-analysis. And it's through examining those areas that I can learn more about who I am (and still want to become), about the mistakes I made (and the things I should have done to correct them), and the issues I couldn't face then that I need to understand now that are important to continued growth and comprehension.

It's a savory treat, my El Jay archive, and I cherish it every time I look through it. I can see where things changed in my life, and how the people who were once frequent commenters eventually left, and perhaps left the service as many did. I again state that I will never delete this LJ, any sooner than I would toss out my illegible paper journals!

I don't know if there's any element here that could be used as some sort of LJ Promotion. But then again, maybe it's not about that at all. It's about people's lives, what we think is worth writing about, how we see ourselves and our world. LJ can be a passionate place, a happy place, a disgraceful place, a sheltered place. In that sense, maybe we don't want to promote it at all, and just keep it as our little secret, almost like it was back when you needed an invite code to get in.

Oh, as an ancillary point, I went on my tumblr and posted THIS a couple of weeks ago, which reads:

Like this if you still have a LiveJournal account.

And reblog this if you still use your LiveJournal account.

I got 32 responses up to this writing... one of which was my own reblog. But that's ok because I only have about 86 followers. And, as I stated in my reblog, I should have said reblog if you have an LJ and like if you still use it, which would have put the post out there in bigger numbers for more to see. I did #hashtag it a few different ways, but not a lot of people looking for LJ hashtags on tumblr! Still, there were a few nice thoughts included. One person added:

I miss the community of LJ, but I’m very grateful that it still exists. I need a place where I can put my private thoughts and still be able to share them. Part of my problem with pen-and-paper journalling is the circular nature - no one else reads it, so the thoughts just keep in their own little groove.

And another simply said:

I love my livejournal.

Maybe I'll try again in a few months. Now though, it's back to more writing.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 25th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
That my archives exist is important to me, and it's frequent that I look back at various phases to see what I was saying about myself at particular times, and the exchanges I shared with others who responded. Occasionally, I'll forget whether or not the people who commented are ones I knew in real, everyday life or ones I know only from here.
Feb. 25th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
That's why I'm still very upset when someone decides to delete their journal and uses the "Nuclear" option, which obliterates not only their own journal, but every comment they made to every journal and community, globally!

While I could meticulously go through my LJ notifications in my email and match up the dates to at least get the comments back, that is a whole lot of work that really shouldn't have to be done.

I do understand why that option is available, but it doesn't make me hate it any less.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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