Danae Truhart finds that when she journals in her English class at Howard University, she comes up with something she did not expect.
“Most of the time when I start writing, it ends up as something else,” says the 21-year-old rising junior. “It takes on a mind of its own.”
Kitty Ellison, director of the freshman English program at Howard University in Northwest, starts off her class with a discussion on current events, then asks her students to journal their reflections for 10 to 15 minutes.
“It’s practice for writing, because you can make mistakes in a journal,” Ms. Ellison says.
Amanda Alleyne, a rising sophomore in Ms. Ellison’s summer-term course, finds that when she journals on her own time, she writes about things she did not realize bothered her or were in her thoughts.
“I started journaling because I find that just putting it down on paper is therapeutic,” says the 19-year-old.
Journaling is more than keeping a diary, traditionally associated with young girls hiding their thoughts, secured by lock and key, under the mattress. It takes on a variety of forms, such as recording daily events, expressing or clarifying thoughts and ideas, working out personal problems, reflecting on current events and other topics, and freewriting.
Writing in a notebook or store-bought journal is a tool for self-discovery and recording a personal history, while online journaling has added a new dimension to the practice, says Bruce Ableson, founder of Open Diary(www.opendiary.com), an online journaling community. The site has been in operation since 1998, with 5 million diaries posted since its founding and more than 517,000 current members.
Online journalers often write for an audience, hoping to get a reaction from readers who can leave a note or comment at the bottom of their entries, Mr. Ableson says.
“People can offer encouragement and support and help along the way if someone is having a problem,” he says.
Online journaling provides an opportunity to vent and share experiences and emotions with others, says Christian Nikolaisen, founder and owner of My Diary (www.My-Diary.org)..
“Most people want acceptance or validation of themselves, and with the Internet, they can develop and ‘evolve’ without the bias and judgment of the people they live around every day,” Mr. Nikolaisen said in an e-mail.
Journaling online began in the mid-1990s on individual Web sites, followed by group or community journaling in the late 1990s with the creation of sites such as Open Diary, LiveJournal, Diaryland and My Diary.
“You can still express yourself, but you also can get feedback and connect to other people,” says Krissy Teegerstrom, community manager for LiveJournal, a popular San Francisco-based online journaling community.
LiveJournal (www.livejournal.com) receives 200,000 posts per day and, since its founding in 2000, has opened 13 million accounts. Some of the accounts are for specific journaling communities focused around a particular interest, such as writing, music, science fiction and crafting. Some are private, or open to a limited number of people, such as family or friends.View Entire Story
By Elaine Donnelly
Extending sexual misconduct to combat units
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Video reviews of today's hottest trends in Minecraft (servers and mods) along with a look at the latest video games with your host MCairsoft14 (alias Jerad Zad).
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Contributions to the Communities Sports desk from readers.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention