I've kept a journal since I was ten years old. My first one was red leather with a weak lock, and was given to me by an aunt while I convalesced from my appendectomy. When it became full, it only made sense to replace it with another volume of empty pages.
I started thinking about private words after this, about the nature of what goes into a journal--from lists, to theories, to secrets. My journals are private thoughts written for no one's eyes but my own.
Julie: I kept many journals as a child and teenager and young adult, then stopped when my personal life as an adult became too painful even for my journals. I have tried to journal many times since, but it turns out I'm more of an exhibitionist than I ever dreamed I'd be as a terribly shy child, teen, and young adult! And looking back, most of those journal entries over the years were poems or stories in training. I blogged faithfully for several years before I ever thought about writing full-length fiction, and continued to for another few. I had a tiny audience, but that several times weekly writing exercise answered some need. Now I blog here and on a few other group blogs, and I love the mini-blogging effect of posting Facebook statuses. My journaling these days takes place all in my brain and it's a 24-hour-a-day thing--mental journaling. My mind never really stops processing things, often considering how these whirlwind thoughts would translate into whatever fiction project I'm currently working on.
Susan: As for me? I still journal daily, and it's never a chore. It's part of who I am as a writer, and it's part of keeping myself accountable to my plans for my life. I see a blog as a conversation, whereas I see a journal as a type of running dialog with myself. And for me, those words stay private.
What about you?