I've been journaling, off and on, for a large portion of my life. Sometimes it has been an assignment for school, but mostly it has been for myself. To put my thoughts down in some sort of permanent fashion. The assignment books ended when the classes ended but I also have several journals with only a few pages filled and large gaps between the entry dates. For some reason, I never could consistently stick with it.
One theme that permeates my journal entries is that I write as if I am speaking to someone - telling a story. I want the words I write to be read and not just to myself. I want an audience for my writing. For classes, the audiences were the teachers and sometimes the other students. For the personal journals, it was no one in particular. My audience was some future person or persons with whom I would share my words or who might read them after I was gone to find out who I was.
I started this experiment that is The Internet Ate My Homework six and a half years ago after hearing Wil Wheaton speak about blogging at a Star Trek convention. He even read excerpts from a book published mostly from entries in his blog. He had an audience and it had just grown by one. (I no longer read his blog. It took a direction I didn't want to follow.)
When I got home I Googled blogging (there's a sentence we never could have said ten years ago) and stumbled upon Blogger. I typed up a mildly eloquent entry about how much it had surprised me that Wil Wheaton was so entertaining and how he and his blog had inspired me to start a blog myself. And because I didn't understand the interface well enough, and because the interface basically sucked 6.5 years ago, that wonderful entry went to that great bit bucket in the sky. Thus was born the title.
I have never kept a paper journal for this long (often because I've lost track of the actual journal). I think TIAMH has lasted this long because I finally have an audience. My audience is actual people named Mary and Ron and Brent and Carl and several others I don't know the names of but the audience is no longer a nameless, faceless future person who may or may not ever read my words.
Recent events in my life make me glad that I have done this. I have looked at photographs and heard stories from other people and I simply don't recall those events. With my blog I can go back and read about the things that were important in my life and understand the things that stood out to me as important at that time. I become my own audience. I can see how I've grown and I can see what I've learned.
For instance, with that "first" post, I learned not to judge public figures based on what you see on TV. I discovered I had some good stories in me and started to find a voice. Then, because of some stressful times (that ultimately ended in epic failure), I realized I'd lost that voice.
I have shared joy and sorrow and random thoughts and inner thoughts and fun stories from my childhood and things that are just weird. And I have found my voice again.
This experiment that is The Internet Ate My Homework has taken me places I never thought I would go. It has been part of my life longer than I thought it would be. It is an outlet. It is a comfort. It is a reflection. It is a catharsis. It is not something I will abandon for social networking. This is me.
I have thought about moving my blog to my own hosting service but I have been with blogger so long it's just so much easier to stay. And I hope you will stay with me (and recommend me to your friends) for the next 1,000 posts.