Guest Post – Marsha Ingrao is back with Journaling Part 2 – Online Journaling

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I am thrilled to have back here, author/blogger Marsha Ingrao with her promised Part 2 post about Journaling. Many of you should remember that Marsha was here a little while ago posting on how to journal and she said she would come back and share all about how to journal online!

Online journaling is different than journaling in a notebook, and Marsha is going to tell us about how to journal online, what are the most effective tools for journaling, how to keep your online journals private, and lots of other juicy tips. So now I give you Marsha:

 

Here’s a Secret About Online Journaling

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.” — J.M. Barrie

 

The purpose of this article is to outline the benefits of online journaling.

 

Most of you already journal online and don’t even realize it. If you blog, use Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, you have started an online journal.

Online Journaling - Marsha Ingrao

 

“ A journal is meant to collect your ideas and observations on any number of things and put the happenings of each day into writing. In this way, you can better remember what you did, what you thought, and what was happening when you were younger.” https://penzu.com/what-is-a-journal

Journaling Makes Sense If You Want More Out of Life

Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, suggests that forming keystone habits can change your life. A keystone habit  means “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.”

 

Journaling online may well be the keystone habit that would change your life in many ways. Five hundred words a day would mean you could write a book in just 100 days.

 

Maybe you want to lose weight. Doctors and nutritionists ask yo to journal your food intake for a day week or month. Built into your regular journaling routine, you could be a healthier you in just a few months.

 

Maybe you want to be happier. My friend whose husband’s brain cancer has reached the stage past effective treatments started a gratitude journal on Facebook.

 

What do you want to do or be? Start journaling, and let electronics help you do it.

 

Humans Pass 70,000 Thoughts Through Their Heads Each Day

 

Dr. Deepak Chopra, a “rigorous, skeptical scientist, acknowledged some error in his measurements and said that humans process “60,000 to 80,000” thoughts daily.  Discover Magazine

 

Does it seem like the great ideas that flit  through your brain each day are gone? You are right, most of them become inaccessible after a short time. We can only hold seven ideas in our heads at a time.

 

Naturally, not all of those 70,000 thoughts are worth recording, but if you want to capture more of those little puffs of idea bubbles, you might consider adding the online journal to your journaling repertoire.

 

Online Journals Work Faster To Keep Up with YOUR Brain

An online journal can help your brain crunch those 70,000 diverse thoughts each day.

 

The interest in journaling has surged with the use of computers. For example, over 10,000 people read a forum which asked Google why it hadn’t created an online journal application.

 

One of them, Mgjacob summarized her needs to the Google engineers.

I am looking for a function where I can maintain information like

  • medical records of kids, parents for fever, health checkups, treatments, surgeries, BP, cholesterol, Sugar records, etc., so that I can look for patterns in the data.
  • events occurring in family and friend circle.
  • tags for messages and store into categories.
  • financial notes on payments and renewals
  • details of holiday trips with snaps
  • auto location tags and manual corrections
  • audio, video, still photos to be added to notes

 

While Google has not created a specific product for online journaling, there are many Google products you can use. Journalists have developed journals using Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides and Calendar. Other companies have also designed products for journalists.

 

There are numerous advantages to keeping an online journal in addition to or instead of a hand-written journal. The purpose of this post is to list reasons you might want to use an online journal.

 

1. Secrets Make An Online Journal Essential

Just like Penny on the Big Bang Theory, every journal writer may inadvertently write something in their journal that is not for public eyes. Or they wish they could hide their private thoughts. An online journal can be encrypted so that even if someone found it, he our she could not read it.

 

Influencers who write for LifeHacker advise online journal writers to encrypt their writing much like the military does.

 

“One way to encrypt your journal is with TrueCrypt so you really are the only person with access to it. Doing so trades some portability, since you’ll have to decrypt it before you can update or edit it, but it definitely keeps it secure.”

2. Online Journals Can Be Accessed Through Any Computer

Unlike a paper journal, you can write in your online journal from anywhere you have internet access. It may surprise you to find out how many aps there are for journal writing. I recommend and use several products in Google Drive as my journal. However, journaling software is as ubiquitous as journalers.

 

3. Journal Software Adds Features that Improve the Online Experience

Here are just a five online journal software companies recommended by LifeHack.

Quora writers have several additional recommendations.

 

Unlike a handwritten journal, with most online journal formats you can share your post with multiple recipients. You can also allow them the privilege of adding to your journal entry.

 

Even though my top pick is Google Drive, I experimented with Penzu to write this article. I also checked out Google Calendar. Both Google Drive and Calendar are private unless you choose to share your entry.

 

Penzu allows you to lock your entries for free. For a price they encrypt it for you. They remind you by email to write in your journal. Unlike Google Docs, it has a fancy journal like cover. You can create the same look in Google Slides.

 

Long ago I used Evernote, but opted to use Google Drive instead, but you can record directly into Evernote. Over five years ago I tried recording minutes to meetings. Transcribing notes was not a feature of the application. Transcribing by hand is like trying to use a pedal sewing machine to outfit a cast of 100 players in a school play that is scheduled next week.

 

3. Multi Media Works In Online Journals

This morning I called on Siri to make a note. You can’t do that with a hand-held journal. I recorded on my phone’s text program, but Evernote works better because you can organize your notes.

 

This feature also makes journal writing accessible for visually impaired writers or people who can’t use their hands. My mother’s 92-year-old cousin writes every day and uses Dragon Naturally Speaking. The professional version of this program works well for recording and transcribing podcasts.

 

With almost all online journaling programs you can add photos, videos and sound recordings making the online journal more versatile than the paper one.

 

4. A Hand-Held Journal Is Never There When You Need It

You read that you should keep your journal within reach, but not necessarily right in sight so you can get it when those diverse thoughts float across your mind. However, you broke the rule and left it on your desk when you went for a ride.

 

While most people don’t carry a bulky or a small notebook with them everywhere, few people leave a room without their phone. It takes little effort to record what you want to say into your phone.

 

Some phones are even waterproof. Sean Hollister writes, “When inspiration hits in the shower (all my best thoughts are #showerthoughts), I don’t need to dry off before I jot them down.” Cnet

5. Organization Is Easier With an Online Journal

Experts say to resist the urge to organize when you are in the throes of the random act of journaling. However, the power of the journaling experience is to review what you have written from time to time. Every two or days is best so that you don’t miss something urgent that you needed to do.

 

In a paper journal, this task is daunting, but it is not difficult online. With the versatile, but simple Google Drive application, it is easy to create an index using a Google Spreadsheet.

 

“Search” is on every program out there. Search spoils us for the real world, doesn’t it? Not only does our journal get lost, so do glasses, food, clothes, toys. Maybe some day everything will have searchable chips in them.

 

For now enjoy the online ability to search for words within your journal. As you review and organize, you can filter out less useful ideas, even cut and paste the best ones into a new journal entry, blog post, comment, chapter of your next book, or email..

 

6. Journal Writing Focuses on Quantity Not Quality

Using an online journal, space is not an issue. There is no illegible scribbling at the bottom of the page or between lines or vertically in the margins. You can write as much as you want and you won’t run out of paper.

 

Don’t you hate getting to the end of your paper journal right in the middle of a great thought? Have you bought a new journal? Can you find one? Even if you have a stack of them waiting for you, which one are you going to choose? Your thought bubble just burst.

 

7. How’s Your Handwriting?

Your handwriting may be great, but if you are a student now, the chances are likely that you are not learning handwriting. Soon people may all have to sign their names with an X. My husband’s signature looks like he could write prescriptions. It is totally illegible.

 

While illegible writing is a great way to encrypt your hand-written journal, it’s not effective if YOU can’t figure out what you wrote. For people like me who are dyslexic or have graphic dysfunctions, keyboarding doesn’t solve all the problems with writing and legibility, but it helps.

 

8. Boys Like to Journal Online

CBS News reported statistics showing that boys and men are less likely than girls or women to excel at reading and writing. Using computers improves that statistic for both reading and writing. It’s a gadget. It has buttons and gimmicks.

 

If you struggle looking at a blank page, journal products give you some starts, and the internet itself can infuse you with brilliant ideas. Once your brain gets going, inertia takes over and off it goes.

 

If you like journaling online, then you will do it. That’s what’s important. Always write. Write quickly, Turn off the grammar nazi. Write lots. Edit later or not at all. 🙂

 

9. Photograph Notes Instead of Writing Them

Photographs integrate so well with an online journal. If you are at a conference and you don’t want to write notes, take a picture of the screen, and paste it into your journal. Voila all you need to do is go back and record your thoughts about each picture.

 

On of the disadvantages of an online journal is that you can’t doodle. Or can you? Doodle on anything, take a picture of it and paste it into your journal. Or use Google Keep. It has a screen for doodling. Partner that with a touch screen computer, and doodling is back in business. Another way to appease the doodle instinct is to get an online sketch pad or a phone that has a stylus.

 

10. Online Links Turn Your Journal Into a Research Project

Online research has gained credibility over the years. You can find almost anything, even journals, online. If you are writing in your journal, and you have a question, the internet is there to help you. List the links for reference.

 

11. Online Journals Can Go Public Instantly

You might think that journals should always be private. But consider the ship’s log on Star Trek which reminds us that journals often have very public uses.

 

Those of you who watched the TV series House might remember the episode in which a patient consistently blogged about her strange illness. House had been banned from the case, but kept up via blogging. He even instructed the woman’s assigned doctors through his comments on the patient’s blog. Eventually the clues they found about her symptoms led to a proper diagnosis and ultimate cure.

 

Different software programs give journalists the option to share a journal entry or the entire journal.

 

12. Ways to Use a Journal

Assuming that you hate to write, and have never kept a journal, Rosella LaFevre wrote a post for Huffington Post listing thirteen ways to use a journal. Here are some of them with added prompts and a few extras.

  • Record daily events. Don’t forget the date. (every meal deserves a picture, every hike, every garden, every decorating job)
  • Small victories (conquering ant bites, winning a poker tournament, talking your husband out of buying a Porsche.)
  • Turning goals into todos (write a guest post, clean the kid’s bathtub, go to Hawaii
  • Favorite quotes (install Momentum for daily quotes and pictures around the world.)
  • Notes (grocery list, family todos)
  • Affirmations (notes you want to send to people)
  • Books to read (take a screenshot of the book or list of books or cut and paste your friend’s email recommendations into your journal.
  • Movies to watch (ditto books)
  • Networking info ( business cards, photograph them or scan them.)
  • Questions (Why haven’t I kept a journal before this?)
  • Problems (You don’t have any? Refer to the last bullet)
  • Drafts (not in your attic, that would classify as a problem.)
  • Add Mood, labels, and Emojis to help you recreate the day.
  • Tell yourself the truth. There’s no need to lie to your journal if you are fully protected. If you don’t feel comfortable writing something, don’t. But be honest in what you write.
  • Write naturally without worrying about grammar, spelling or even if it makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, call it poetry.

13 Cautions

  • Keep your password safe. I use a spreadsheet file called something other than Passwords to record all my files. I keep them in code form so that I know what they are, but if someone should break into my computer, they would have a hard time understanding what the codes are. I also keep them coded in my handwritten journals. Since codes change from time to time, the journal I am currently using has my current passwords only, and only those I use the most.
  • Some people scribble faster than they type. For those happy scribblers voice recognition programs help you avoid typing, but not without some humorous mistakes. Just ask Siri. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjp58jbvefXAhVN4mMKHR8fCZEQtwIINDAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DZjZ4tdtEvcQ&usg=AOvVaw1DgClLBXORLuJZzsXWNypt
  • Too much computer usage causes eyestrain. So does too much reading and writing out of books. The lighted screen may cause headaches. Some would suggest to limit your journaling to 20 minutes in the morning. Others would set a word limit, like 500 or 1,000 words.
  • You may remember less of what you journal online. That’s when labels, files and search engines come in handy.

 

14. Does Your Online Journal Smell Good?

Touch and smell may be the only sensory competitions in which your online journal cannot compete with a print journal.

 

At first you might consider that touch might also lessen the appeal of the online journal. But those who have typed on a computer all their lives, understand the feel of well worn keys. The same feelings emote from them as from a well worn pair of shoes with scratches and holes that make them more comfortable.

 

Like a paper journal, notes, stickers, and covers add character to the computer. Virtual notes, stickers and covers do the same for the online journal. But does an online journal emit an odor? Are there online pheromones?

 

Sorry, no there are not.

 

Can you live without the smell and feel of your journal?

 

Summary

Most writers journal. You might prefer to use only a print journal or you might choose an online journal. There are many tools to use when you journal. Using them is a matter of what is most convenient and pleasing at the time. This post outlined twelve benefits benefits and several cautions of using an online journal. The most important thing to remember is that “slow progress is better than no progress.” Anomyous

 

Start your online journal today.

 

Related Posts

Follow Up to Use Your Blogging Journal Like a Pro

If You Blog, You Should Start a Journal…. Whaaaaaaa?

How To Create AND USE Your Own Transformational Blogging Journal

 

 

Wow! Thank you so much Marsha for this amazing article contribution. I so appreciate the research you’ve done to compile this most informative article on Online Blogging.

Marsha Ingrao

About Marsha:

Before becoming a consultant in history and English language-arts, Marsha Ingrao taught grades K-5 for many years. Marsha journaled to work through the tragedy of her first marriage, which ended in the death of her husband at the age of forty-seven from a rare genetic disease. Encouraged by doctors not to have children, she whined to her journal as she also kept it crammed with lesson plans, poetry, news, prayer requests, drawings, Bible studies, and lists.

 

She retired in 2012, wrote Images of America, Woodlake, blogs, and volunteers in her community through several service organizations.  She and her second husband live in the foothills of California with their dog, Kalev and two cats.

Connect with Marsha on Social Media:

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Check out Marsha’s books:

Woodlake – Images of America

Sign up for Marsha’s newsletter HERE and receive a free copy of her book – So you think you can blog?

 

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43 Comments

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  1. Thanks for this information – I never realised there were online journals. I still have my old notebook diaries from 1968!

    1. You may have another book in there! 🙂

      1. Ha ha, yeah, probably.

    2. And that is why you have books. Unfortunately, I shredded mine. I’m a purger! Yikes! 🙂

  2. I’ve used online journaling a couple of times during treatment for migraines. Dr always want me to record food, activities, triggers. It’s actually helpful.

    1. Thanks for sharing Jacqui. 🙂

    2. Friends of mine just talked about migraines today. Mine were triggered by stress and dehydration. I rarely have had them since I retired. Someone else said coffee triggered hers, another said sinuses triggered hers. Online diaries are often quite helpful for short time observation or recording data.

  3. I never considered journaling online. I feel like I would miss the free flow that comes from handwriting where I can’t go back and edit (which is my tendency on the computer). But what an interesting idea. I haven’t done much journaling but loved it when I did. Thanks to Marsha for the post, and thanks, Debby, for sharing. <3

    1. Thanks for chiming in Diana. Although I think Marsha’s info is excellent for online journaling, I’m with you. I don’t even write my books on the computer! I need that same free flow without editing which is much too tempting while typing. 🙂 <3

    2. Thanks Diana! Let me know what happens if you give it a try. 🙂

  4. Terrific post Marsha and thanks for sharing Debby ♥

    1. Thanks for dropping by Sal. <3

    2. Thanks Sally. It was fun to research and write. 🙂

  5. Wow, anyone into journaling would love this post. It’s so comprehensive. I happen to be one of those few people who carries a small notebook with me. I also have one by the phone, by my bed, and in the bathroom (if you can believe that last one 🙂 ). As to holding seven ideas in my head at a time . . . I wish! Ideas come and go so quickly these days. Sometimes I forget why I got off the chair as soon as I stand up! Well, this post certainly stimulated my little grey cells 🙂 ❤

    1. LOL Tina. I’m with you on many counts with the notebooks all over the place. I just go to the notebook with in inspiration before I’ll go to the computer. Old habits die hard. 🙂 <3

      1. And they scream all the way to the incinerator, Deb 🙂 ❤

    2. Hi Tina, I have one small notebook that I carry everywhere, too. It is great when I talk on the phone, or attend a meeting and I don’t want to take notes online. Each notebook records a period of history. It’s more of a working document. When I first started as a consultant, one of the other consultants told me I should keep one and record every visit, every phone call, etc. It was so valuable that even when I retired I kept doing it. When you work for the state, you have to document how you spend the taxpayers time, and it’s a great thing to do because you realize how much you actually do in those many phone calls and emails every day.

      1. You got lots of practice in that job, Marsha. Priceless 🙂

        1. Yes, I wrote a lot. Are you all ready for the holidays? 🙂

          1. It depends on what you mean by ‘ready,’ Marsha 🙂

          2. The good news is that is subjective. You may not have anything done, but you feel ready. 😜😜😜

          3. Then I’m ready! 🙂

          4. And I say that I am and find something else I need to do. Go figure! 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday, Tina. 🙂

          5. Same to you, Marsha ❤

  6. A journal is very personal and I have never considered this option of online journaling though Marsha’s tips are quite enlightening and useful. Like Jacqui says, it could be helpful in cases of health issues or diet plans. Thanks for sharing Deb.

    1. Thanks so much for reading B. I know I much prefer the old handwritten journaling myself, but online journaling has its place too. 🙂

    2. Hi B. Thanks for reading. It was a long post, and online journals may seem a little less personal at first, but they have a function just as the handwritten ones do. Jacqui hit the nail on the head. 🙂

  7. Glad I made the switch from handwritten diary to digital one. Way more benefits, especially the space saving!!

    1. Good to hear Liesbet. I’m still in favor of wasting space using paper journals. LOL 🙂

  8. Hi Liesbet, that’s great! I love to use an online journal when I’m reading blogs so that I remember the addresses of the new places I visit. 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday. 🙂

  9. Thanks, Marsha and Debby. What a fabulous post with loads of information and new things to try. I couldn’t help thinking as I was reading, though, Debby, that online journaling may not be for you! 🙂

    1. Lol Norah, you are so right. You know me! No, I’ll stick to notebook journaling, which was Marsha’s part 1 post. But it’s amazing how many enjoy journaling online and this is a great post for those who do. 🙂

      1. It is a fabulous post, Debby, and great to see you don’t let your personal biases get in the way. 🙂 Isn’t it great to be able to choose the method that suits us best!

        1. So true Norah. It’s great to stay informed and keep on top of options, but not every method works for every person.:) x

          1. That’s true, too, Debby.

  10. Sorry so late to read this, been extra busy (vacation is here)! Great information Marsha, thanks Deb, for sharing! When I started journaling for the “Sentence A Day” feature last summer, I looked for several features. Evernote and Onenote just confuse me, however I do use Dropbox to find all my docs. I ended up using WriteADay which is an app on my phone or tablet that creates a daily journal. I recently started using it again for SAD in December and January. The only thing is that you can’t cut and paste the info from the app so it has to be retyped, but that’s OK for this function.

    1. Hi Terri. Never apologize, there are no time limits in blogland (unless it’s a time sensitive promo, lol). So glad you came by and shared your thoughts too. I agree with you on One Note confusing, but I couldn’t live without Evernote as an author or Dropbox. Evernote is a great tool I to bookmark articles I like to come back and refer too. I just set up file folder names, for example: WordPress fixes, Book promotion sites, etc, and when I read an article I know I’ll want to refer to I just go to my Evernote and scroll under my headings. Evernote conveniently installs a ‘clipper’ on my toolbar which makes it easy to clip and send any article I may be reading on the web. As for Dropbox, it’s my lifeline where all my important files and photos and book files etc. are stored. It’s not the same as Evernote where if I were to send articles to file every time I wanted to I would surely go over storage capacities by now. Evernote has no storage limit, except that it limits the amount of data (in the free version) that can be sent monthly but I’ve never run into that problem. 🙂 Hope that helps. x

      1. It does, Deb, thanks for your thoughts! I bought the premium version of dropbox because of all my photos! I have a file clipper/saver another blogger told me about called Wunderlist. It also has the toolbar clipper and it sends you messages to your email address. So many things to use!

        1. Thanks for sharing more tools Terri. I’ve heard of Wunderlist, I’ll check it out. I’ve managed to keep the free version with Dropbox because for every person you get to sign up they give you an extra half a gig of storage. I think they start you at 2 gigs. Through the years I’ve managed to accumulate 6 gigs free and with all my stuff I’ve only used over 3, so I’m good to go. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing Marsha. 🙂 x

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