Photo Credit - Alan O'Rourke

Photo Credit – Alan O’Rourke

Not only does keeping a journal on your favorite device have incredible benefits over the alternative, but it is usually very affordable as well. While I typically encourage the serious digital journaler to eventually pay for a premium service, free alternatives are a great choice if you are just getting started. To help you out I have compiled a list of the top 5 free ways you can get started on your digital journaling adventure for free.

  1. Try the free option of a journaling service. Many journal services allow you to try it out for free. While you don’t have as many features in the free version, you will still have a solid platform to start journaling. The best part is that when you decide that you do want to upgrade to the paid version, all of your journaling entries will go right along with you. My favorite suggestions are LDS Journal and Penzu.
  2. Download a ‘lite’ or ‘trial’ version of a smartphone journal or diary app. To help you get started (and also to help you get hooked) many developers offer a free version of a paid app. Some have limited features while others give you everything that the paid version does, just with annoying advertisements. Be careful, however. These free versions don’t always transfer everything over if you upgrade to the paid one. Just search ‘lite’ or ‘free’ along with ‘journal diary’ in the app store of your choosing and you will see an entire list of these trial apps. Diaro 3 for Android is my current favorite and has a free option.
  3. Use a journal that is always free. Some journal apps are completely free. Does this mean that they are a non-profit organization doing this out of the goodness of their heart? Not typically, they are just using a different business model that involves building a large following first and then providing additional paid services in the future. Everyday Timeline (iPhone/iPad) and Flava (iPhone) are two of the more popular choices.
  4. Do it yourself (DIY) journals. While my recommendation is to use a specialized program if you are new to journaling, there are many ways that you can ‘build’ your own for free. Using Evernote is the most popular of these options but you can also create one using Google Docs, a password protected blog, a Microsoft Word document synced with Dropbox or a specialized email account you use just for your journal. Not for the faint of heart but definitely a solid option.
  5. Interact with the Easy Journaling community to get a free promo code. Generous developers frequently give me bundles of promo codes to give away to all of you so that you can benefit from their service and they can get some promotion and exposure. Nearly every week I will highlight an app and offer a chance to get the app for free by engaging in the EJ community. This may involve just leaving a comment in the blog post or answering a question on our Facebook page. Promo codes are just a long string of random letters and numbers that you can insert into your app store to get the app for free. Click here to learn more about this. Unfortunately this is only available for Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad and Mac, but hopefully us Android users will feel the promo code love soon… come on Google!

Do you have any suggestions for starting a digital journal for free?