How to start and keep a digital journal this year

If you are like most humans then you yearn to figure out what this world means and what it is made of. Call it the meaning of life, God, or whatever you like. But, there is some urge for us to figure things out about ourselves and our surroundings. One of the best ways that I have discovered to do this is through journaling and keeping my thoughts and daily interactions in a written form.

750 words

I used to keep a paper journal (I still use paper here and there for things), but ever since I re-started college in 2007 I moved my journaling to a digital medium. I journaled on and off for a couple of years until I ran across Julia Cameron’s idea of Morning Pages. The idea was to write around 3 long-hand written pages first thing in the morning to get thoughts out of your head as well as get your creative juices flowing.

Instead of long-hand I go digital. It ends up being about 750 words typed. This clacking on the keyboard (or tapping on the iPhone) every morning is like a ritual for me. It calms my mind down, helps me make sense of things, and keeps my mind somewhat sharp. If you don’t think you can write 750 words every single day, then try just for a week. And then a month.

The apps

You really only need a simple text editor to keep a digital journal. If you want it everywhere, you can then simply sync it with Dropbox. If you don’t like plain text editors, you can use some special applications for keeping a digital journal like:

  • Day One for Mac and iOS
  • Momento for iOS
  • Penzu on the web
  • Evernote

Evernote isn’t necessarily built for keeping a journal, but Evernote can really be used for just about anything and everything. I personally am using Day One for Mac and iOS because it’s simple and gorgeous; it’s just great to use.

Keeping the journal

Keeping a journal is tough. It takes perseverance. It’s a habit that you have to create. So, how do you do it?

I like the little saying at the bottom of the fullscreen text editor in WordPress:

Just write.

That’s it. There is no special thing to do, awesome tip or trick to get you writing and keep you writing; it’s all about writing and getting your 750 words in every day. There will be some days that you don’t want to do it.

*Force yourself to get through the 750 words.*

What will happen is one day you won’t feel like writing and all of the sudden you will write about something you have been trying to figure out and get through it. You will find out something about yourself that is awesome or maybe even disturbing. Journaling is all about self-discovery and reflection and you will be surprised at what you will find out about yourself with consistent effort.

And that’s it. Keeping a digital journal isn’t a terribly hard thing to do. It just takes one word at a time, one day at a time.

HOWTO: The quick way to use Twitter Bootstrap with Genesis

I love the Genesis Framework by Studiopress. And I love the Twitter Bootstrap Framework for creating "standard" web interfaces. There is so much that both the Genesis and Bootstrap frameworks get right when it comes to ease of use and consistency. … [Continue reading]

Anonymous MSFT developer admits Linux is faster than Windows →

Well, if you've used Linux for any length of time and compared its speed to that of Windows, this was a no brainer. What's damaging is that this Microsoft OS developer brings to light just why Linux is faster. Not only does it show that Microsoft is … [Continue reading]

Get Your Subtle Patterns at subtlepatterns.com →

If you are looking for some amazing subtle backgrounds for your sites, apps, documents, even desktops, then I have to highly recommend checking out subtlepatterns.com. I'm thinking about applying some of them to DevBurner and have been playing … [Continue reading]

A Toolset for a Productive New Year (2013 Edition)

Another year is here and it’s time to get serious about the tools I use to get my job and life done. I try every few months to “downsize” what I use; but I am coming closer to the realization that I don’t have to be “minimal” to be effective. I … [Continue reading]

2013: A New Year

I, like a lot of people I read and respect, don’t necessarily like the idea of a New Year’s Resolution. Mostly because they are broken and forgotten before the end of January. And when that happens, we tend to feel like failures. That’s not … [Continue reading]

Integrating Netbot with Launch Center Pro

When App.net was announced and Alpha was released, I was a tad apprehensive of getting involved. After Mr. Vardy talked me into it, I chocked up the $100, bought a developer account, and began to use the service. I have fell in and out of using … [Continue reading]

Making Time to Explore

It’s easy getting stuck in the rat-race of getting things done every day. We have an agenda set for ourselves, have our to-do lists guide us, or have to answer to someone or some entity that demands we do certain things (that would be our jobs). … [Continue reading]

BaBSE 9: Know Your Tools

Being a good software developer means that you can create software solutions that help solve problems quickly. Being a software developer doesn't mean that you know every little nook a cranny of a language or every design pattern on earth (although, … [Continue reading]

On Writing Today

I almost didn't post today, but instead of that, I thought I'd redirect you to something I wrote that is near and dear to my heart (and that I spent a decent amount of time on) over at Lifehack. OmniFocus vs. Things 2.0 In a nutshell If you … [Continue reading]