Posted on May 18, 2013 | 4 comments

Photo Credit - Arthit Suriyawongkul

Photo Credit – Arthit Suriyawongkul

We write a lot more words than we typically give ourselves credit for. Not only am I constantly writing blog posts on this and other sites, but I frequently write detailed emails to close family and friends. Throw in social media, commenting on other websites and personal journaling and I average probably a four digit word count every day.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you do too.

When it comes to my digital journal word count, I cheat. I’m bad. I steal, plunder and plagerize.

But it’s all okay! I’m not stealing someone elses words and calling them mine, I am stealing my own words and calling them mine. With a quick ctrl+c and ctrl+v (command for you Mac folks) I grab text I have already written and slap it right into my personal journal entries.

If you’ve been around Easy Journaling for any amount of time, this probably isn’t new to you. Today this post is going to be different, however, because I’m going to show you step by step how to do this the right way.

The reason that there is a right way and wrong way is because you have to properly give context for what you are doing. If you insert a detailed status update you wrote on Facebook into your personal journal without any explanation, it will sound weird. This is because you are writing for a different audience on Facebook than you are writing for yourself in your personal journal.

So let’s follow an example so that you can see how to do this in your own digital journaling. Let’s say that I recently wrote an email to my business mentor detailing my ideas and goals for the coming year. This is very important to me so I feel that it will add incredible value to my personal journal and want to paste it in.

The first step is to go into my Gmail account and go to the sent folder.


Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

I find the email I sent to my mentor and select the text using ctrl+a. I copy it using ctrl+c.

I then open up my digital journal (currently using Diaro 3 for Android) which has a web browser. Note that I’m doing this process on my computer but it could also work on a mobile device as well.

I create a new entry and match the date with the date that the email was sent.


Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

Since I have already copied the email, I can now paste it in using ctrl+v.

Now I need to give context so I write in bold letters above the email (if you can’t bold text in your journal, parenthesis will work too): Email Sent to Mentor About 2013 Goals

You can also write the context as part of the title of the entry, if your journal supports entries.

If he replied the same day you can paste his reply in the same entry, just below your original email. Make sure and write something like: Mentors Response to My Email

Now you make sure and save the entry and you are done! Writing a long entry never felt so easy!

There may be some rogue exceptions, but this method should be nearly universal. It is simply the process of taking words you have written and pasting them into your journal entries. I have been doing it for years and it is a great way to see details about your life that you would never include otherwise.

Give it a whirl and leave your experience in the comments below!

  • Amanda Dickson

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this article. I have great intentions when it comes to keeping a journal, and I was very consistent when I first started my journal about 10 years ago, but my consistency only lasted about four years. Since then, I’ve been hit or miss, mainly miss. I recently created a new online journal that I even paid for but have yet to write my first entry. The main reason is exactly what your article is about. I spend so much time writing emails to family and friends who live out of state, updating my Facebook status, and keeping my fitness community alive on Facebook, that I rarely have the time let alone the desire to write yet another entry in a journal. Recently I came up with the same idea as the article, I began thinking about how easy it would be to copy emails and FB status updates, etc. to my journal. Thank you for providing more details in your article, it makes more sense to me now when I think of how to put my entries into the right context.

    Journaling with the “copy and paste” method definitely makes it easier, less time consuming, and will allow me to capture details that would never have been included. The method in itself sounds easy enough, but I get bogged down by the details. You know, like the fact that there’s a huge gap of time missing from my journal, and how time consuming it will be to go back through all my emails, etc. to re-create journal entries so there is no gap. The idea of all that work is daunting and the very thought of it keeps me from even attempting it. I can’t just start my journal with today and move forward, if it was that easy I would! Unfortunately, my OCD won’t allow it. ;)

    The idea that there’s this huge gap of time that is unaccounted for just keep nagging at me, and while I could “attempt” to journal from today forward, I would eventually cave to the nagging in my head and end up spending hours and hours trying to fill in the blanks. I just have to have something there to account for all that time.

    I’m curious to know how everyone else handles this? What do you do when you’ve stopped journaling for several years and then want to start again? Do you go back and try to fill in the blanks the best you can or do you write about what happened during those years as you go? Ugh! Can you see why I can’t seem to make any progress? Ha Ha!! It makes me so frustrated!!

    • Sam

      So glad you found us Amanda!

      I’ve been using the copy and paste method for years now and I know that I am not the only one. It has really filled in some of the gaps, but not all! There are definitely stretches in my life (and I’m sure virtually every other journaler) that are undocumented. I have basically accepted this and made a commitment to not let it happen again.

      I also want to point out (I don’t know if it was clear in the post) that I only use this method now and again to supplement my daily journal entries. I don’t think public posts should replace your personal journal, only be a nice addition to it.

      Hope to see you around and you should check out the new podcast, it will probably be right up your alley! (click on the podcast graphic on the right of this page)

    • Polly Anna Watson

      My suggestions is to do whatever you feel comfortable with. But putting it off will just make you that much more frustrated. Start where you are. When you’re able, fill in the gaps. Maybe on the anniversary dates of certain important/major events in your life, you can update your journal by writing about them then……Regardless, quit putting it off and DO IT….!

  • Polly Anna Watson

    I also use the feature in Penzu where I can email my emails directly to Penzu. But yes, being sure to provide context is very important. I always try to think of what it might be like years from now if (when) I come back and read my journals–will I be able to understand the context? Will it make sense? And what if my son or anyone else I might bequeath my journals to ever reads my journals? Will he/she be able to understand??? Great post, Sam.

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