Monday, April 30, 2012

On Documenting Life and Evolving into the Future

I've kept some sort of journal for organizing my thoughts and recording my mundane little life for as long as I can remember. I don't exactly remember how old I was the first time I started one, but I do remember that I was really super young. We're talking "little kid" young -- well before my teens or anything when most people get angsty and start keeping a diary.

I think I got one of those cheesy "Dear Diary" type deals for Christmas one year. You know the sort. They're designed to appeal to young girls. They're pink or have flowers printed on the outside and have a page for every day, each one of which starts with the heading "Dear Diary". Even as a little kid, I was a shy person of few spoken words, but who was full of thoughts and feelings all the same, so there was something about that diary that really appealed to me. I couldn't wait for January 1st to come around so that I could write in it for the very first time and I've remained hooked on journaling ever since that first New Year's Day.

Obviously, I've changed a lot over the years as far as my journal-keeping habit goes. My writing style evolved and the things I wrote about got deeper and more complex as I matured into a person who is now an aging adult, not a child. The frequency with which I journal has fluctuated some as I've grown older, gotten busier, and expanded my horizons as far as the different types of writing that I do. After I joined the digital age and started relying on my computer for more things, I made the switch completely from paper journals that I hid under my mattress or kept in my night stand to online blogs that I actually share with other people. However, journaling remains a big part of my life... even when I'm neglecting it in favor of other responsibilities.

All that said, I've been feeling a number of changes brewing lately as far as how I write and to what extent I really want to share it. This extends beyond blogging in many ways, but it also very definitely includes it. Being an introvert who also writes in front of people for the most part, I waffle back and forth a lot as far as how I feel about that. As I mentioned, I journaled in private for the greater part of my life. Then I made a drastic jump to public (or at least semi-public) blogging where I was pretty share-happy for years. Now I feel myself settling back into something that strikes more of a balance between the two.

I still very much prefer blogging to private journaling for the most part, because for me personally, it's begun to feel like a bit of a waste to spend time writing things that aren't available for other people to read to at least some extent. I also adore the internet and the whole at-a-distance social dynamic connected to it. Getting feedback on my thoughts and the things I write has been a big part of my evolution as a person and I would like that to continue. However, I can tell I'm changing again in that I'm tired of broadcasting everything I write absolutely everywhere. It's starting to make me feel over-exposed. It's also been making me feel more pressure to compose fully fleshed-out posts each and every time I blog in public at all, as I don't want to be all "hey read this" unless we're talking about something with at least a bite or two of meat to it. This in turn reduces the frequency with which I write in the first place.

If you follow my Creative Cat blog on Blogger, then you've heard me dropping cryptic hints about feeling overly visible and even monitored to some extent, often by people I don't particularly want following my life. (It's fine if they do, obviously, or else I wouldn't be posting public entries here or anywhere else. Doesn't mean I want to encourage it though.) You've probably even heard me openly bitching about feeling writer's blocked in many ways. I think this steadily growing feeling of overexposure is a big part of that and I've been taking little steps here and there to fix that.

Today, for no real reason at all, I cancelled my blog broadcasting set-up on Networked Blogs. I'm just sort of sick of the auto-posting to Facebook and Twitter every time I make a post on one of my public Blogger blogs. Not everything I want to write is broadcast-worthy in my opinion... and sometimes I just don't want to for whatever reason. This is even more the case now that I have as many different blogs as I do. I feel like people don't know what I'm about since I do, write, and think about so many different things. I feel like all this needs to be compartmentalized a little better so that people can pick and choose what they care about without being forced to bother with the rest. I'll pick and choose the posts I think are actually important enough to broadcast to my entire social network, which by now is pretty expansive.

So I guess that's where I'm at right now. I think it's part of a larger shift toward writing and creating more for self-expression than the cultivating of opportunities or social connections. That can only be a good thing, as that's a massive part of my creative problems right now. I'm excited to see where the gods take me in that arena.

As a small aside, I've also decided to change the name of this blog from The California Cat to The Curious Cat, so if you're here wondering if you're in the right place, I can assure you that you are. I keep worrying about people mistaking this for a California living blog into the future once it actually develops an audience and I can already feel that that's not even close to what it's going to be. I tend to blog a lot of observations and random ruminations. Sometimes I blog personal accounts as well, but they almost never have anything to do with where I live. Hopefully the new title will be more representative of who I am and what this blog will wind up being about.