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Mind and soul exercise

I am noticing new patterns developing in my life.

My mornings are different.

First thing in the morning a new priority has emerged: turning on my laptop, checking my emails, reading some of my favourite blogs, and capturing my thoughts either electronically or on bits of paper as I am rushing around getting ready to leave the house. I now always carry pen and paper with me everywhere I go!

Butter making woman from the Compost et Kalendrier des Bergères, Paris 1499On weekdays my morning flow is interrupted because of the need to go to work.

During my longish drive to my workplace I ‘think’.

Ideas churn around in my head – round and round and round – as though butter was being produced. The butter in this case is invariably a blog posting (or as some refer to it, an artefact). However, not all of these thoughts make it here.

In the evening, when I arrive home from work, I continue where I left off in the morning. New thoughts will have occurred. Things may become reshaped or reformulated. Time will have passed. I come home different based on my experiences that day. The butter may not be quite ready. More churning may be required.

At some point writing will have taken place.

The weekends are different.

There is more spontaneity and more time. There is a lot more creative freedom. I treasure this time – there is too little of it to be had.

I hadn’t thought about any of this before. Then I read Mark Bernstein’s recent post where he asked some questions about the practice of blogging:

One interesting question comes to mind about weblog ethnography: when do people write? The journal and diary have long been associated with evening, an activity at least notionally connected with day’s end. I’ve noticed, though, that blogging is frequently a morning task. Does this matter? How?

Writing in my blog appears to have become a form of daily ‘mind and soul exercise’ for me. The writing does not happen at the same time every day although I often tend to click on the ‘Publish’ button last thing at night. My thoughts on what I want to write about occur in a haphazard way. I don’t pre-plan. I let it just happen. I may however jot down ideas I want to explore further when I have an opportunity to do something about them. Sometimes I need to spend some time researching what I want to write about. Sometimes it may take me a few days, weeks or months to commit my thoughts to this space.

I don’t believe the time of day one writes is of any importance. In most instances the process of writing is far more significant than the specific time you wrote your words. Blogging is like any form of exercise we commit to – we fit it into our routines based on life style choices and the daily demands that form an integral part of these choices. There is one other critical determinant of our ability to blog – access to an Internet connection.

We cannot discount our individual personalities either. Some of us are more alert and creative in the morning, while others are the complete opposite and write prolifically and effortlessly in the evening. Some people can write anytime.

I do however believe there are some differences between writing in a blog, a journal or a diary; but not one necessarily based exclusively on when we write but rather what and how we write.

If you want to vent, write about your day, or put an event on paper, you are keeping a diary.

If you are writing with a goal in mind, or your writing has a specific purpose, then you are journaling.

If you host your log on the internet, and are writing about your opinion and not intimate details, then you are blogging.

An online diary is the same as a diary, but a record is kept on the net.

The Lost Muse, Is it a journal, diary, or a blog? 16 May 2002

A diary, in which you are reflecting on your day, it makes sense to do so in the evening as your day is coming to an end. However, none of the other forms of writing would need to be bound by time in the same way.

Mark makes an excellent point when he stresses that:

Weblogs aren’t simply artifactual clues that could help us learn what their writers were doing. Weblogs are created artifacts, intended to be seen and read and used. A decent respect for the weblog and its creator requires us to look, first, at the artifact. Someone worked hard to make this and wanted us (or someone) to see it or use it.

When we write in a journal or a diary our words are usually only for our personal consumption. This is our intention as we write. We may choose at some point to share our writing with others but often this is not the case. It would be more typcial for our words to be read by others when someone is being nosy and reading our journal or diary without permission, or after we have died.

When we blog we write knowing that there is a high probability someone else might read what we have written. I write my blog with this knowledge, but when I write I am writing for me. It is about what is going on inside me. It is about how I am processing my lived experience. This was reinforced for me recently when I received the following feedback via email on my blog:

… I love your blog because you write with such honesty and as I read it, you seem to be writing for yourself, regardless of who’s reading! That’s refreshing.

Blogging to me is definitely a form of exercise. I get the same energy I get from endorphins after physical exercise. It takes a determined commitment to find the necessary time. I use the same excuses we all do when we think about doing any kind of exercise. What’s the common statement: I don’t have the time. I am determined to find the time. This matters to me.

I hope you manage to fit this special time into your day; to write or draw or do what ever creative pursuit will exercise your mind and soul so that you end your day knowing you didn’t waste it. Think of it as ME time. Once a day has ended it is gone forever. We can never get it back.

Everyday does matter.

If you need inspiration it is everywhere. Open your eyes, ears and heart. You will find it.

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