Example of my journal pages. Occassionally they are less orderly, but this is quite standard
Sunday, 24 January 2010
How Formal Is Your Everyday Writing?
This question occured to me as I was writing in my journal, and thinking about Virginia Woolf's diary. I was planning to read unedited versions of her journals, but when I looked at them they just irritated me, because not only it was in the usual 19th cent. style with lots of initials and & symbols everywhere (Jane Austen does that too), but also there were tons of notes on each page, giving us information of what it all meant. It was just distracting. But fortunately, her husband has written an edited version of "Writer's Diary" taking entries from her diaries that relate to writing. He also mentioned in the introduction that he will dispense with the notes and dots so as not to distract the reader. And I am thankful for that. But as I was writing about that in my journal, I noticed my own style. Even my journals aren't completely casual. For example, I nearly always say "I have" or "I am" as oppose to "I've" or "I'm". Even in the stories it is hard for me to remember to do that. I use full sentences. There are rare exceptions like being too tired, or in an extreme need of getting information out in a hurry. But usually even in those circumstances, I write down those notes on a post-it, and then when I transfer them to journal, they are properly written. Same goes for travel journals. Why do I do it? Simple answer is for myself. When I read my journals months or years later, I want things to make sense. I want to be able to read it without getting irritated at bad hand-writing or for things that make no sense. If I am writing emails, I want people to be able to understand what I am trying to say without guessing it. And if I am chatting, I don't want to come across as an illiterate moron who cannot spell things. (yes, I hate the current chat lingo. LOL or BRB is about as far as I am willing to go). Oh yes, paragraphs. Totally hate it when a paragraph is so long, it just all looks like a big block of text. What do you think? Are all these things important only in the work that we are trying to publish, or do they matter in every-day casual interactions too? For me, they most certainly do.