Friday, October 21, 2016

The ghostly reader

Purely as a warmup, throwaway writing exercise, I've been keeping a journal this year. I ask myself to write at least 100 words a day, and they don't have to be good, or tell a story. I just have to put down a few sentences.

This is not a journal ever meant for anyone else's eyes, and I can't imagine why anyone would want to read it, since it's the equivalent of finger exercises for a pianist. And yet, I still find it difficult to write with the assumption that nobody else will ever read it. I'm not revising or polishing what I write, but I often find myself adjusting my words or topic as if to accommodate some nonexistent audience. I was talking with a writer friend about that, and she agreed: she also feels that ghostly imaginary reader hovering over her shoulder when writing a journal. Does every diarist feel it, I wonder? I suppose we're too aware of how many journals have been published, even when their writers never intended it.


  1. I'm like that, too. Wish I could completely turn off my brain when it starts yap-yap-yapping its criticism of the words I choose.

    1. It's not even always negative criticism. Just that pervasive sense of an audience. As if we're all in the Truman Show ...