I’ve struggled with the personal journal concept my entire life. It’s something that I envy when I see others doing it, even back when it was a spiral notebook journal, but no matter what I do, I can’t keep it up for more than a week or two.
And I love Day One — it is a gorgeous app. I love many of the other journal type apps too. But none of them stick. And it’s not a problem with apps, it’s a problem with my approach.
Let’s back up for a second though and talk about why I want to journal.
I want there to be a record of my emotions, and of fun memories — the things that photos can’t capture. My wife and I are both bad at storing these written memories (she is killer at the visual memories). I hope that one day, seeing my old thoughts will help my kids in someway. Even if they are relayed to them only through me, my memory isn’t so great, so writing this stuff down is important to me.
I’ve tried things like reminders everyday. It’s just too much. And inevitably the reminders go off at times when I just can’t write things down, or when I really don’t want to stop and journal. Instead I had to think about what I wanted from a journal.
I realized that journaling at the daily level is absurd, things change too often and that’s what Twitter is for (and why I post tweets to my site first). But the weekly level seems granular enough to look at big and small events alike, but more removed from the small hiccups that could feel big for that day or moment.
In other words: I care more about my week than my days making up that week. Same could be done for months, but that seems far too broad.
So I set Day One to remind me to journal every Friday night before bed. My goal is to write 1-2 sentences which I feel capture that week.
On top of that I try to document any moments that feel worth documenting at my own free will. I won’t have the most robust journal, but I’ll actually have something, because this is very easy to stick with and very low commitment.
Journaling is something different to each person, and for me it is the fleeting thoughts and feelings of the late night at the tale end of a long week. Where I sit on the edge of my bed, weary and tired, trying to form coherent thoughts that one day my kids might read. I don’t have time for lies, exaggerations, or creative prose.
Only honesty seems to exist at that moment.
Because of that I have a more personal, more open, more frequent journal to keep with me.