Dear Diary … Sike, that’s not the manner of journaling I adhere to.
Before the start of this academic year, the closest I’d come to journaling was the daily To-Do lists I kept in a notebook. Sure, it kept a collection of the academic assignments and events in my life, but it did not offer insight into my personal life or feelings. Thus, I decided to make a change. I received a Moleskin for Christmas and vowed to write in it daily. Yet, it felt like another chore—one I didn’t need.
But after a class this semester required us to write a 15-minute entry daily, my taste for journaling grew. I discovered that it’s basically free therapy—a therapeutic exercise and a way to validate your thoughts as you get them down on paper. Not only did we write daily, but we explored alternative ways to journal, one of which clicked—online journaling.
The app, Day One, transformed my journaling experience. Now, I know the last thing we all need is more apps or rising screen time, but Day One is nothing like that. Offering thought-provoking prompts or simply a blank page to write on, it combines easy access to technology with the need to express our thoughts and feelings.
For those of you who are forgetful, Day One will give you a daily reminder to record your day or your feelings. But not in an overbearing way, as you pick the time it reminds you. Likewise, with no advertisements and a simple white and light-blue screen, you feel removed from the pressure and overstimulating aspects of social media and other apps meant to addict you and grab your attention.
Now, this is not an advertisement for Day One, even though it may seem like one because I know I will never give up my hard copy journal, as a pen on paper carries meaning. But for those days that I can’t be bothered to pick up the pen to craft a look into my life, an online journal allows me to capture my life in quick snapshots—literally—as you can even add a picture from your day.
In regards to the act of journaling, the best advice I received about journaling comes from a Christian Spirituality class. I had written a journal entry in which I described how I wanted to journal about happier and positive moments in my life, instead of journaling solely about annoyances in my life. I’ve since lost the feedback on my entry, but I remember it went along the lines of: “Don’t censor yourself, write whatever comes to mind.” I couldn’t agree more, the journal is for you, you do not have to put on a facade for anyone or fake your emotions; instead, be realistic about what you feel: good or bad.
Journaling should capture your feelings and be a snapshot of your life—even if you only journal once a month, that entry will solidify your life in that moment and tell its story for years to come.