I really think they should. For yourself or for an audience, it really doesn’t matter.
When you write for yourself, there’s no need to hold back. No fear of other people reading your thoughts, shocked when they discover your true nature. Let your personality come out. Your writing should reflect who you are when no one is really around; what you really think of someone, something, or somewhere. And in privacy, you should have the right to write about anything and everything. What did you think of your day? Was it better than yesterday? Why is that? How do you feel? Are you happy? Why or why not? Is it a temporary factor or something chronic?
These questions are purposely vague. They are meant to be very broad and open ended so that your mind can wander as you write.
Writing for yourself is similar to free writing. However, you can stop and reflect on what you’ve written, you may throw whatever you’ve written away, if that pleases you. There are no rules to follow when you write for yourself, because no one will read it.
One aspect I enjoy about journals, diaries, etc. is going back and reading them.
Finding handwritten diaries from 3rd grade ignites my nostalgic sense. I chuckle when comparing my handwriting today with how it was back then. I giggle because the things I write are so amusing; one day, I’ll often outline reasons why I hated my sister and the next day, I’ll give a detailed description of a birthday party that I went to. These days, my personal writing (not including this blog) consists of ranting about issues, assessing people in my life, my hopes and dreams for the future (both realistic and totally impractical), as well as my fears about what could potentially happen. When I write about my fears, I think about whether or not I can do something to lessen the impact of bad occurrences. Often, it comes out in the form of a pep talk or motivational speech that I hope that I look back to in the future, to give me motivation to keep going and not get discouraged.
Sometimes, my writing is completely incoherent and not written down clearly. I can barely follow my train of thought. Perhaps I was very emotional or worked up and just spilled my thoughts onto a sheet of paper that day.
I believe that writing can develop you as a person. Being forced to free write about certain topics in English class has helped me get my thoughts down coherently on paper. I discover that I have an opinion about a controversial topic. I explore the meaning behind a certain text.
Do you not like writing? I don’t believe that could be true! It’s possible that perhaps you haven’t tried all the different ways to write. Hate English analytical papers? Maybe they’re not your thing, but have you considered short stories? News articles? Newspaper columns? Plays? Screenplay? Long fiction novels? Free-form poetry? Lyrics? I love the way I post on this blog. I search online for interesting prompts and keep a running list, waiting excitedly in anticipation for the day that I finally get to express my thoughts on that one prompt that’s been calling to me from Day 1 (A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.)
Moreover, I think it’s important to write things down on paper. Sometimes, for practicality, I am forced to write my thoughts on the computer, but I find that it’s harder to organize them. I like to draw arrows and let my pen trail on the paper for a while as I stop and gather my thoughts. Some days, I can write faster than I can type, and if I am writing about a subject that I’m passionate about, I might have lots of “firefly moments”, thoughts that I lose as quickly as I acquire them, that I forget as rapidly as I remember them.
I do love writing for myself. It’s private, safe from judging eyes. But then again, I do have a blog, and I’m sharing all this with you my readers.
So I must also enjoy writing for others.
Some days, I feel like a philosopher. Rather than my blog being a rant about how much I hate certain people and how much I hate my life, I think maybe that’s counterproductive. Personal writing would be a safer way to rant about life, because you could potentially hurt people’s feelings if someone found your public blog, for things that you wrote in the heat of the moment, that you didn’t actually mean, that you don’t believe to be true anymore. But if you stay general and somewhat vague on your blog, you can reach out and relate with more people, namely strangers that don’t know what is actually going on in your life, that are not in on the “inside joke” that is your life. By avoiding writing about specific events and instead taking broader chunks of what lots of people might experience and posting on what you think about them, you open yourself up to more potential readers to comment and provide feedback and pose provoking questions to make you think about what you have written. While there will always be people that bash on your blog, you can either take their criticism and improve your writing (if it is constructive criticism) or delete the comment and block out any unnecessary negative influences on your writing. Freedom of speech, right?
Starting to love writing early on might be the best decision you’ve made. You’re inevitably going to encounter it in the future, so why not get in the habit of it now? You continually express yourself to either no one or the whole world, but it’s a safe way to vent your feelings and connect with people just like you.
Is writing a potential profession for me? I don’t know. I don’t know WHAT my future will consist of. I absolutely love writing, but typically only when I get to write about whatever I want. When confined to a prompt, I encounter problems because I often have no interest in the subject. I’d get bored with journalism, I think. Maybe I could become a fulltime blogger? Perhaps…if this blog somehow became extremely popular and I got some indication that my writing is actually able to make a difference. But for now, writing (for myself and for the blog) will remain an on-the-side project that I go to when I need a break from my schoolwork. I’ll turn to writing when I’m scared, confused, excited, or when something is just…on my mind.