April 26, 2018

Private vs. Dialog Journaling

Should your journaling be private (for your eye only) or shared with another trusted friend or reader (dialog)? How does the feedback loop  work in either case?…


Feedback loop

Feedback loop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I have struggled with the reasons for keeping your journal private vs. sharing with someone who will keep your confidence and give you feedback. I much prefer to do my journaling in a dialog fashion so as to get the feedback from the reader. I am reading a new book “Expressive Writing” edited by Kathleen Adams. This is what one of the book’s authors says about private vs. public journaling.


“What is absolutely essential to me (and I believe, to most journal writers) is that my journal is private………If I think someone will find what I write and read it, they become an intuited audience and constrain my expression…… With this understanding (of privacy) comes a kind of freedom that is both liberating and essential to expression itself. I can write whatever I like just to see what’s on my mind.”


I agree with the author that private journaling certainly can result in a more unrestrained writing. For some, maybe most, journalers, this will provide a very meaningful journaling experience. However, feedback is limited to only the reader going back and trying to make sense of what he/she is written.


A great benefit of “dialog journaling is the feedback the journaler gets from the dialog partner. So, how do you maximize the feedback from private journaling?

One idea the author has is “Later (after the private writing), when mining my journal for bits useful to others, I might reshape the material for a public audience of readers…….”

So, following up private journaling with repurposing some of the content for an audience might give you the best of both worlds, public and dialog. More on this on a followup post on reflection.

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