Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Some thoughts about journalling

I’m experimenting with some new journaling software. The recent LJ kerfuflle, just the latest in a long string of exoduses has led me to think about what I want from a journal and how best to achieve it.

Please don’t worry, I have no intention of leaving LJ, but things don’t last forever and as I have no intention of ever moving to DW, I needed a strategy.

I don’t seem to have been posting much recently, despite doing more things and going to more places. Partly it’s because by the time I’ve processed the photos, caught up with all the stuff I neglected and thought about writing a “proper” entry, we’ve done something else, which has produced more photos and more experiences to journal. Also, now I’m having more days out and trips away from home, some of it is a bit repetitive for people other than me to read, especially if the weather is a bit blah and I don’t take any decent photos. However, I do like to record stuff for me to look back on.

One possibility would be to just make private entries on LJ, but my philosophy has always been that if you don’t want the world to see something, don’t put it on the internet! My LJ has always been public and the only times I have made something private is because it’s just too boring for friends to see or it related to work and, even though I never named names, I wanted the extra layer of security.

After some thought, I realised that I basically wanted a private version of an LJ-like journal that would run offline on my computer. I had already rejected an old fashioned pen and paper journal because one thing I like to do occasionally with LJ is to look back at what I was doing 12 months, 2 years, 3 years ago, and therefore I wanted a calendar function. This ruled out the obvious solution of just using a Word document. I also wanted it searchable and having it on the computer means that entries worth posting to LJ can be easily copied and pasted into Semagic, given a light edit and then posted without having to type it all up. Besides, I type faster than I write.

So yesterday I did some googling...

Life Journal looked good and was quite a bit cheaper than the one I’ve actually gone with, but it looked too slick for my liking and the user interface was mostly black. I’m currently trying out The Journal 7 by DavidRM. It has what is probably now considered a slightly old-fashioned look, but it’s straightforward and functional and seems to do everything I want. There’s a lot of helpful information and articles on the website about how people have used The Journal for various things, including writing novels, so it looks like it might also replace the scrappy notebooks that I have lying around, full of story ideas that I then forget about!

I have 45 days to try The Journal for free, but after playing with it for less than an hour, I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying it, but I’ll probably post more as I start to work with it seriously.

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