We’ve all been there. You are in a bookstore or a coffee shop and something catches your eye. A row of blank journals. You pick one up, admire how it feels. The imagination kicks in. You see yourself drinking coffee and staring out at the summer morning. A pen is in hand but you’re taking a moment to become inspired by your surroundings. The journal walks out with you, guaranteed to become part of your life…
…and then you find it months later shoved under a pile of papers on your desk.
I’ve always loved the idea of journaling, but I was never good at sitting down to write in one. Then I discovered Day One. It had rave reviews online and in the App Store, so I sat down three years ago to give it a try.
I love good software, and Day One is one of my all-time favorite apps. It’s beautifully designed for you to just write quickly and easily.
Write anywhere you want
With the rise of mobile devices, I demand the ability to be productive anywhere. Day One has apps for iOS, and of course they sync in the cloud with the desktop app. Day One Sync recently launched, which I recommend over iCloud and Dropbox sync. I have found less issues with my entries using their cloud sync features.
I can jot off a couple thoughts on my iPhone and then can pick that entry back up on my iPad or my MacBook Pro. It records the weather, your location, and whether you are moving or not. That information becomes fascinating meta data when you sift through old entries. You can look at your entries in a map view which is a cool visual. It also lets you tag your entries, which I’ve found to be useful.
The writing interface is simple and uses Markdown for formatting. If you don’t know what Markdown is, don’t worry, you don’t need to. For those that do, it’s handy. You also have the opportunity to attach a photo, but only one. I appreciate that limitation. Instead of a giant Facebook album of photos, you have to pick one visual that sums up your experience that day.
Remember the beginning of this post? I wrote about always wanting to journal and then never accomplishing that task? I realized one day that I had been journaling for years. The original blog on this site had over 600 entries that I wrote for over a decade. Most of us, the early bloggers, shared our thoughts and feelings on our blogs. It was a wonderful time to self-publish, and the tools were there for anyone to get online and start writing.
Then our writing had to mean something. Blogs became monetized.
I miss that early time, and as I was preparing to jettison my old site, I found myself reading the previous blog. I fired up Day One and began to enter my old posts into its database. I matched up the dates for when the entries were written and where I had wrote them. Now, I have this beautiful record of my 20s. I enjoy seeing what the weather was on those old entries. It is powerful nostalgia trigger. I can sometimes see my past self writing at my old desk.
I don’t know about most people, but my early journal attempts were about processing my feelings. I still do that, but I’ve gotten into writing about different topics and using the tagging system. For instance, I have a “book review” tag. I journal about books I’ve read recently and include passages that I find interesting. Once I started thinking about what else I could do with this tool, I started finding more fun ways to write. The Day One blog is an excellent resource for thinking about journals in different ways.
I don’t write everyday. But Day One sends a gentle reminder every few days that it’s there. It will give me a writing prompt if I need one, but it’s never annoying. It’s just waiting for me to be ready to share.