I’ve long had this perception that writing a journal or having a blog that you regularly write to will help improve your English or use of language. Though I think that that theory does hold true to a certain extent, I’ve seen much evidence to the contrary that pushed me to think about why this was so.
I got an idea for a possible reason from an article I read on physical exercise, which pointed out the obvious-in-hindsight fact that exercise, if done wrongly, will lead to injury; and the faster and more vigorously you exercise wrongly, the faster and more serious the injury will be. If applied to writing, you could say exercising wrongly is like writing improperly (bad grammatical structure, wrong spellings, poor punctuations etc.,) and getting injured is like getting your bad writing habits more deeply ingrained. Just ask those of us who at some point or other in formal writing putting down an “e” to represent “the” or “cos” for a “because”.
It is arguable that keeping a journal (and possibly a blog) serves its purpose in letting the writer write without inhibitions: part of this type of writing is that you don’t have to care, and more often than not it’s a release of tension (perhaps even psychological?) of some sort. The problem then lies with those those of us who write to, perhaps secondarily, improve our writing. It simply makes no sense to write badly in order to improve our writing.
What I propose instead is that we keep writing without inhibitions in our journals and blogs when writing for writing’s sake, but write properly when we’re writing for the purpose of improving our writing. On the latter point, for more informal writing I propose that we experiment with different words, punctuation, and styles; this will allow us to mix the benefits of fewer inhibitions with that of improving writing.