Amber blogged earlier about the differences between writing paper journals and posting online (and a whole load of other things, too, because Amber's personal posts are invariably long, rambling and hilarious). She wrote that, as an established blogger, she's very aware of catering to her readers - she writes posts which she thinks will interest them; she has people complain when she posts things which aren't "blog-worthy"; she has to keep her more private experiences to herself. When she wrote paper journals, on the other hand, she could write whatever she liked because absolutely nobody was ever going to get to read them.
I totally get the first bit. This past year in particular there have been a lot of things I couldn't write about on my blog - there has been a lot of grief and it hasn't all been mine; it wouldn't have been appropriate to spin other people's sadness into my own personal PR.
People have said to me before that they're surprised by just how honest I'm prepared to be on this blog. I will openly roll my eyes at my own moments of idiocy; I will hold up my own unhealthy thoughts for examination; I'm not going to pretend that I'm perfect and have every single bit of this life stuff figured out; I'm not going to pretend I've never struggled.
And I think it's hugely important for people to be upfront about this stuff - acting as though we're always happy and financially solvent and ill health never happens only serves to make other people feel like failures; talking about the tough times lets us all feel normal.
But there are so many things which I don't write about. I don't write about work because, no matter how much I like my job, that seems like a risky thing to do. I don't write about my family or friends unless they have given me express permission to do so because everyone is entitled to set their own level of privacy. I don't write about past relationships or bad dates I've been on because all of the people involved were decent to me and don't deserve to be treated like a joke. I try to use compassion and common sense.
And there is a certain amount of filtering - will you all find this story interesting? would you prefer that I wrote about that? I try not to let that influence me too much but it's there, sometimes, at the back of my mind. I want it to be worth your while, keeping my blog in your feed.
The second bit, though - the bit where Amber said her paper journals were just for her - that I didn't get.
I wrote paper journals right the way through my teens. I bought those thin-ruled, A4, page-a-day diaries from John Menzies and would scrawl my way through an average of four of them a year.
But they were never just for me.
I had this notion that they were going to become important historic documents. I would be one of those notable diarists. I would be the Anne Frank of my day. Future generations would read my angst-ridden, pretentious, self-deluded screeds and think, "Ah! So THAT'S what it was like to be young and intelligent and bored and alternative, living in the sticks of Scotland in the 90s! Thank goodness she wrote it all down! To think there was a time when L7 and The Lemonheads were less well known than The Beatles!"
I thought much the same about my earliest blogs. You know: before all those other bloggers became big hits and got publishing deals and I realised that the market was pretty well saturated.
I don't try to pretend that part of the appeal of blogging isn't the recognition. Of course it is. I love when people like what I write.
But I'm also glad that my early blogs have all been long since archived or deleted.
And I can't even begin to tell you what a relief it was when my mother moved abroad and threw out every single thing I had left in my room - the cryptic poetry, the Sweet Valley High novels and the library of loathsome old diaries included.
I just hope to goodness that she didn't stop to read any of them before they went in the bin. It makes me wince with embarrassment to think about the contents; those diaries are not anything which should ever have been inflicted on the world.
Hi! I'm a 30-something stay-at-home feminist mother-of-one. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland with my toddler, boyfriend and two black cats.