Replace Your Pen With an Online Journal for These NINE HUGE Reasons
Why You Will NOT Regret It.
Why I picked pen and paper over an online journal app at the beginning
You want to start a fresh journal writing career, and at this point, you are fully motivated. Before starting to put one word into a blank page you have to decide upon one simple question. Do you prefer to write your journal with pen and paper, or a computer? When faced with such "simple" questions I usually browse and seek to find a solution by people who faced the same puzzlement.
I realized by skimming through a few answers, that I just had opened one of the hottest topics on the internet. There were strong opinions on both sides of the equation laying out the disadvantages and the advantages for using one form over the other. Often finding myself in such a situation, I just go with my feeling. Not sure if my pick was random or if there was a logical underlying process behind my decision. The only thing I knew, I have had to experience on my own what works for me. In this matter having made a fast decision helped me to start writing in my journal.
I decided to go initially with pen and paper honoring a long-held tradition. I told myself I was a diarist with all its cliche meaning. Before writing anything I had actually to acquire a notebook to write my thoughts and experiences. I lost one or two days until I bought a hundred-page linear notebook. I didn't felt the need to get a pen too, a BIC or my cheap Parker pen would surely suffice.
With an online journal, this process would have been faster, even though I didn't realize it at that time. What I had to do was searching for all available journals and then finally signing up with the best. I guessed it would take me maximal 15 minutes doing the search and the signup together. My brain was fixed to my initial decision, I catch myself doing this quite often and do change only if the evidence is overwhelming against it. I wrote a paper journal.
Personal experiences I collected from my journal writing
Being successful at writing a journal, means having gone through the cycle of failing to keep your journal. It happened to me many times. Over the years I have lost count on how often I stopped writing in my journal and started again at a random time. Often times a new year, meant a new opportunity to start and failing a few months after it.
At some point, it got better, I filled those hundred pages, acquired another notebook and then another. It was a great moment to clap myself on the shoulder and look back at some moments of my life. My handwritten entries weren't beautiful, they didn't look like I got a certificate in calligraphy writing. On really emotional laden moments my handwriting became unreadable.
I used my journal mostly to vent, clearing my head and dealing with bad events. Of course, good moments had a special place in my heart and where also added in my journal. After reading some really depressive stuff and laughing a bit about myself, I thought to cheer me up with a good memory. I sure had good memories, but spend a lot of time skimming through all my entries to find a worthy memory. After this incident, I decided to mark my entries with some specific color. Green for good ones, red for bad ones and nothing for anything in between.
This solution worked and helped me amass more journals. Later I found myself with a storage issue. Where to store my journals safe from the outside world and at the same time, safe from the wear and tear of time?
After many years of probing, I realized that my journals are safe because my family members don't have a burning desire to read my writings. There wasn't a particularly great hiding place which would securely withstand an extensive search if I wasn't at home. Then there was the option of using a log with a key to secure the content of my journals. This would work with one journal, but with 6 or 7, odds were, I wouldn't be able myself to open again my journals. I could just as well burn my journals.
How I was pushed to reconsider my thinking
This made me feel uneasy about how I had dealt with the whole topic. I had to rethink my initial decision and then I remembered. I hadn't enough experience back then, to know if one way was better than the other. I picked a pen and paper because it had a more aesthetic appeal. My writing hand wasn't happy either, for the many hours it had to write. So, I told myself why not try out the other route.
The apps had improved over the years. Internet was not only accessible in my country, but had also convenient speeds. That was enough to persuade me, in signing up with a few online journal providers. Yeah, I have to admit, it was difficult to decide upon which journal had the best offer for what I needed.
My post is intended to give you an idea of how to deal with this choice. The choice between a pen or a keyboard. You may think and be wired differently. I will respect any decision you will make. I'm probably hundreds of miles away from where you are and I can't care. Really. Some people are born with writing beautiful with a pen and committing to writing on a keyboard could totally waste their talent and a nice heritage. Maybe its something else. Every person has to wage on the pros and contras to their own unique situation. The ultimate goal is to keep a journal in a way that makes you feel good and provides practical sense to you.
Saying this I will share my thinking with you, why writing with a computer is more favorable over pen and paper. I have done a bit above already and the points will make it easier to digest. Later on, you can decide on yourself if this is something for you. Maybe when faced with the same decision I did at the beginning, you will go with a computer first. I prefer to write on a computer because:
I prefer to write on a computer because:
- It is fast and convenient. Writing with a keyboard rests my hand. I love my handwriting (even though I'm the only one) but writing with my hand is tedious. I'm left-handed and besides the ink smearing side effect writing takes a toll on me. When writing for too long or writing for a longer period like I usually intend to do when writing in a diary, I have had to deal with hand-cramps.
- I can organize my writings, again and again. I can build specific journal folders and bring tidiness from the get-go. A general memories folder will act as events storing place, a gratitude folder will keep all things I appreciate, a planning folder will hold all my dreams and goals, a receipt folder will contain family receipts to be shared to my kids, a dream folder will have all my night dreams. There are so many possibilities. In the event I want to edit or change something, this can easily be done. Only a bit Copy paste magic is needed and things will be reshuffled.
- I can easily detect key events and patterns in my life. A paper journal has to be super organized to find what you seek. You have to remember in which journal you wrote it. Then getting aware of a bad pattern in your life will take a serious reading from your part. With my digital writings, entries are instantly searchable. You get to read only relative entries, gathered in one place. I can win a specific perspective out of my writings more easily. For example, I used to neglect my health when confronted with pressure and stress. I got not enough sleep and eat too much fast food. As a result, I became often ill. This improved only after I became aware of my bad habit pattern. Good sleep and healthy food helped me reduce ill days and weather stress moments smoother. All I had to do, was searching for my ill days and read what I did prior to getting ill.
- I can back up everything in a few minutes. Most journal apps offer an easy way to get backups of your entries. I prefer pdf files but even if you get txt files this is superior to any paper journal. Copies of your hand journal aren't only costing you money but also take time to be made and you have to trust your writings to a human factor. Data can be lost anytime and anywhere. Digitally speaking: My online journal provider could go out of business or a software problem cause data loss. Not to speak from the possibility of a hacker attack where even the best companies are prone to it. Having the possibility to make a fast backup is a very precious trait.
- Security is ensured with a password and entries are encrypted for hackers. A hard to guess password is able to keep your journal entries away from people who aim reading them. A paper journal just takes too much room over time to ensure privacy. In my case I took an online journal which encrypts also my entries, making them unreadable even if hackers get the data. I agree that no encryption is totally secure and if something gets encrypted it also can be decrypted. On the plus side with the right firepower, hackers would need approximately 50 to 100 years to decrypt my entries and then I wouldn't be very attractive to advertising companies or to whom they want to sell my data anyway.
- I can read and zoom in my writings. My digital writings maintain always the same readability, and I don't have to think about spelling and grammar. Software deals with most of my errors and as said in another post, grammar and spelling shouldn't be the main reasons for starting a journal. I can grow old, my eyes can become weaker, but I could still be able to read my entries. By pressing Ctrl combined with my mouse scrolling, I get bigger fonts to see. This isn't possible with handwriting.
- I can keep it with me anywhere. A paper journal can also be kept with me, if I wear a backpack... women have it easier here. In any case, once forgotten or stolen everything in it gets lost. This doesn't happen if my journal is online. A smartphone is sure to be always with me and that ensures any moment I regard to be worth recorded, does find a place in it. With my smartphone camera, I can easily enhance my entries and give a visual impression of the event.
- I can share specific events to people. There's a topic you talked about with your friends and it would be cool if an entry could be shared to them because it's dealing with the exact same issue. I can do it on the fly. I open my online journal, search the event, change entry privacy from private to public, click on share and sent the link through email. Good luck trying to do this faster with your paper journal.
- I can incorporate stuff from the internet. I can incorporate stuff from the internet. My journal doesn't act only as a tool to express my feelings and thoughts, but also as a target application for collecting interesting things I read elsewhere. I can copy paste my own social media stuff, or particular paragraphs from other blog posts.
This is a great topic to pond upon. Maybe you could start your first journal entry about what you think is better for you in the long term. You could also write me an email in response to this post. I would happily hear your opinion about whether you prefer pen and paper or a computer and not only why you do so but also if it benefited you in the long term. I hope to have helped you, decide what is best for you and making the process of writing a journal frequently, easier to you.
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