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How Badly Has Your Online Writing Impacted Your Offline Writing?

Do you still write offline at all?

You know... using one of those pen or pencil thingies and some type of non-electronic media? Like, oh, maybe that wild concept known as... (gasp)... paper?

Personally, I've been writing in journals for literally decades. In fact I recently opened a box and came across a couple of my journals from back in the 1980's. I have many of these floating around in various boxes.

Writing is just part and parcel of what I do and who I am.

But, of course, like most of us these days, my writing has been increasingly online.

I started "blogging" (although it wasn't called that yet) back in May 2000 at a site called Advogato and have continued on through LiveJournal, TypePad and WordPress to where I routinely write across about 15 or so different blogs and sites. Every work day (and often weekends, too) usually starts with writing blog posts and often ends with writing posts. My brain is always firing with a zillion ideas of what to write about... my constant struggle is to find the time to write all the posts I want to write.

What is losing out in this battle for time, I've found, is my offline writing.

The truth is that the vast majority of my writing is "public" and so it's perfectly fine online. In fact, it is better that it is online because it is much more easy to find... it is searchable... it is easy to "back up" (if I do so)... and in some ways it probably has a much longer lifespan than my offline journals, should, for instance, they meet with our wet basement. (Of course, the contrary might be true int that they may outlast some of the online sites hosting my content.)

But there are some topics I don't care to share online. Some of them are more "personal" thoughts... some of them are sketches for ideas for future stories - not yet ready to be put online... some of them are notes about our kids that I want to preserve for us, but don't want to share with the world. I've also been writing poems for years and they, too, are not yet ready for me to share online (or more precisely I am not ready to share them).

And sure, in our culture of "transparency", many people simply dump ALL that information online somewhere... maybe on public sites... or maybe in private sites... or in walled gardens like Facebook. I'm not personally ready to be THAT open.

I didn't quite realize, though, exactly how much my offline writing had been impacted. On a recent weekend, I opened my current offline journal and leafed back through the pages. I was rather shocked to realize that I began this particular journal in October 2006!

Almost five years ago.

Go back a decade and I probably would have filled up a journal like this one in a few months... and here it's been five years and I'm maybe only 2/3rds of the way through it.

An amazing change...

How about you? If you ever wrote offline before, do you still do so? Or have you moved entirely online? Have you seen a drop-off like I have?

P.S. And with that drop in offline writing, I've also noticed that my cursive handwriting - never terribly legible - has declined even further without the regular usage. :-(

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