I’m proud to share some wonderful insight from my friend Hannah Braime. She is a growing voice in both the journaling and wellness communities and I am very much enjoying her book The Ultimate Guide to Journaling which is available on Amazon (more on it when I am done!) As you will see, she shares many of the same feelings I have about the benefits of digital journaling. I hope that her words will help you as much as they have helped me.
Take it away Hannah!
5 Ways to Enhance your Digital Journaling
The internet has changed our lives in a multitude of ways, including how we record our innermost thoughts and feelings. Digital journaling has been on the up over the past decade, to such an extent that you can now find numerous websites and software packages that offer one kind of digital journaling service or another.
Since it’s a recent phenomenon, digital journaling is still a relatively unexplored field. Despite this, its potential is clear. Here are five tips you can use to enhance your digital journaling, and make the most of the tools you have.
1. Use Images
Whether you’re storing your journaling online, on your hard drive, or both, one of the important benefits of digital journaling is that it’s much easier to use images alongside
your words. Not only is it simple to add pictures to your writing, but the use of images is a powerful way to stimulate your memory when looking back over your journaling notes months or even years later.
A while back, I used a positive psychology app called “Live Happy” almost every day. Designed to make its users more conscious about feeling and expressing gratitude, the
app combines written journaling and images. Together, these were invaluable when, months later, I would look back at my notes. When I couldn’t remember a certain day or
event based on words alone, the images would help kick-start my recollections and bring memories flooding back.
2. Include audio
It’s not always convenient to pull out a phone or laptop and start journaling when inspiration strikes, so using audio clips as part of your digital journaling is a great way of catching those thoughts, ideas and epiphanies that might otherwise get away.
As I explain in my book, The Ultimate Guide to Journaling, I’ve found audio clips especially helpful for recording dreams. When I’m too tired to write or type a dream without falling asleep right in the middle, recording a summary using the voice recorder on my phone allows me to capture and store the outline of the dream quickly and simply. Then, instead of typing up the details, I can simply import the audio file into MacJournal, and store it alongside my other notes (this import feature is also available with other apps and software, such as Evernote).
3. Create tags
Tagging won’t be available to all digital journalers, as it requires you to use a program that enables you to tag or color-code entries. If this option is available to you, however, it’s a valuable way to organize your notes by alternative metrics, instead of date. Consider creating tags for recurring topics in your journaling (for instance, money, relationships, family), or for locations. This makes it easier to see how frequently you write about certain topics, and to find posts with specific tags in the future.
4. Challenge yourself
One of the benefits of digital journaling is that you can measure statistics, such as word count, more efficiently than with traditional journaling. This information is interesting for the curious, but you can also use it to challenge yourself to take your journaling up a notch. Try setting yourself a goal to write a certain number of words per day in the style of 750words.com. While this might sound like hard work, committing to a minimum word count for each journaling session helps you overcome emotional and mental blockages, and stimulates new ideas. Not only will this enhance your journaling, but, as a happy side effect, you’ll also improve your writing skills!
5. Use a dedicated journaling program
Online journaling websites like 750words.com and OneWord certainly have their benefits; for example, the ability to access your journaling from anywhere with an internet connection. To make the most of the additional features that digital journaling offers compared to traditional journaling, however, try investing in a dedicated journaling program, such as MacJournal or WinJournal.
Depending on the software you choose, you’ll find a range of features that allow you to search your journals in just a few clicks and store information in different formats. As an avid MacJournal user, I love the software’s smart journals and use them to keep an annual reading record, alongside my usual journaling. These smart journals allow me to keep track of what I’ve read over the past couple of years, my notes, plus information about where I was and what I was doing while I was reading each book.
The options available to digital journalers have never been greater, and there’s never been a better time to make the most of them. Using the the tips above, you can take your digital journaling to the next level, making it even more enjoyable, insightful and productive.Hannah runs Becoming Who You Are, the guide to authentic living. She is passionate about helping people create the lives they want from the inside out using a rational approach to personal development. The author of two published books, including The Ultimate Guide to Journaling, she coaches and offers resources on authentic living through www.becomingwhoyouare.net. Connect with her via her website, on Facebook and Twitter (@becomewhour).