As you march towards that mystical state of working 100% from home in a more than profitable state, you need to remember that it is important you record your journey. You cannot analyze that which you do not record.
Function of a Journal
For many people, myself included, journaling is comforting. Your journal is your confidant. Your journal is your perfectly discrete confidant, I might add. The only person who reads it is yourself and whoever to whom you entrust it.
As a soundboard, it listens with perfect understanding and acknowledgment with absolutely zero judgment. A journal is where you can write everything with absolutely no danger of confusing outbursts of recriminations because of deliberate or inadvertant misinterpretation of what you said (wrote.)
Your journal is also proof that whatever insanities with which you are now dealing, things which may seem to be end of the world bad, you will live through it. You will come out the other side.
Why do I say this? Because you’ve already done it.
How can I say this? Because if you are keeping a journal, you wrote it down.
There are, of course, lots of brighter, more sunshine and moonbeams with butterflies and faeries dancing types of reasons to keep a journal. It is just that giving you a very dramatic, potentially lifesaving reason for keeping a journal seemed to be the way to go.
Why you should keep a journal:
- It helps you to remember important things.
- It promotes creativity.
- You can accurately record things as you actually see them without filtering them for political correctness or social acceptability.
A journal helps you to remember the good times, especially during the bad. The mental and emotional benefits of regular writing are well documented. Your journal is both therapist and best buddy.
Regular or daily recordings promote your creativity. Authors of The Creativity Cure, Drs. Carrie and Alton Barron, advise us to skip Microsoft Word altogether; a pen is better.
Some years ago, I took a copywriting course from AWAI. Their strong advice was to do the exercises with pen or pencil and paper, not on the computer. Your writer’s ‘voice’ is apparently tied much more closely to the complex web of nerves, tendons and muscles you write with than to the 8 or so muscles you use to type.
As I recall from another course there are some thousands of muscles used in cursive writing and only 8+ used for typing. The mind/body connection is stronger when you write it yourself rather than typing it.
In your journal, you can truly let fly with exactly what you think. Truly. It is a freeing experience to write down exactly what you really think. Write stuff of this nature in your journal, not on your Facebook timeline. A lot of people are finding their comments on Facebook are coming back to haunt them.
Sure, I still believe in free speech. I am what you call a strict constructionist with regards to the Constitution. The three paragraphs or so that this line of thought just set off will make a good post. You need to remember there are those out there who believe it their place in life to make you pay for public statements with which they do not agree.
Put it in your journal.
Whatever you believe is wrong with the world today, you need to write it down so your kids know. It is a 100% certainty they will not learn it in school or for what passes for the ‘press’ or ‘journalism’ today.
Truth is, your journal may be the only way the future knows what really happened in the world today. Think of all the journals that now sit in museums, in the Library of Congress, in the Vatican even. These were just people writing what they believed. Your voice whispering to the future has no agenda other than what you believe to be the truth.
Digital or Online Journals
There are many options for keeping a digital journal. I say ‘digital’ because I want to differentiate digital from online.
There are tons of software packages out there. Some are shareware, some freeware. Some are sold as regular software packages are sold. I recommend you start with one of the freeware options. Just above here is one I found on on softonic. I have never used it but it seemed like it comes with a reasonable feature set. You can read more about it here.
Just remember to back it up and print it all from time to time so you have a physical copy. Your data is not 100% safe until you do so.
The how to keep a physical journal has as many answers are there are methods of binding paper together. It is a matter of personal choice. The number of choices are staggering.
- Leather bound journals
- Paper bound journals
- Loose leaf kept in various binders
- Archival quality paper journals bound in fabric covered strong board and leather.
There have been a number of leaders who used spiral notebooks to keep their journals havings someone else transcribe them. I know of one case where they simply used paper pads, filling them up one after the other. When a dozen or so were full the pages were torn from the pad and bound just as they were written down.
Sources for bound paper journals:
- Wal-Mart and similar stores
- Online shopping
Journals bought from Wal-Mart, one of which I currently use, are not a bad choice. They are reasonably priced and come in a large selection of bindings and colors.
My next journal will most likely be in a one of those neat WilsonJones Account books. Yes, I know it is strictly speaking not designed as a journal, but I like the weight of it.
It has not only weight, but the pages are of that heavy, acid free stock that will survive a nuclear war and the ache of ages accumulating on it. Go into the records of any county in this country and you will see similar books a century old, still legible and still capable of being handled by interested parties. To me, this feels like the most permanent solution.