Digital Journaling

I’ve never been one to journal but I’ve decided to give it a shot. I dusted off a leather-bound journal that Holly had given me a long time ago but before I started writing, I remembered how terrible my penmanship is and how I hate just writing a check. So I figured I would see if there exists a journaling software for mac. I found the aptly titled “MacJournal”. It seems very well put together and I really dig it but I started to wonder if something gets lost when journaling on a computer as opposed to an actual journal that requires you write down your thoughts.

Pros for computer journaling would be:
-easier/faster to write
-password protected
– more options for organizing entries
-spell check!
-doesn’t waste paper, al gore would be proud.

-not as physically tangible
-a bit more of a soulless experience
-maybe easier isn’t necessarily better?

In the end, if I had to actually write out my entries by hand, I’d likely not journal as often. Anyone else ever think about this kind of journaling quandary?


6 thoughts on “Digital Journaling

  1. Curious as to how the medium of choice–whether paper or digital–affects the process. I have found that for me, I need paper. I need ink, pastel, paint. It’s definitely why I never pursued a career as a graphic designer and why I also took so long to buy a digital camera.
    I love the process of physically writing as well as the mental aspect.
    And you always run the risk of spilling your beer on your laptop, right? 🙂

  2. I have this argument with myself constantly. haha. I finally settled on keeping a journal electronically (as far as your typical day to day events/feelings) because i can blab everything so quickly when I’m typing. i can write about one paragraph before my hand starts begging for mercy with a pen. THEN I keep an actual pen and paper notebook for the creative stuff, because its just not the same without the scratching out and doodling. With creativity, I don’t like the idea of being able to backspace. Often, I reference my electronic ramblings for nuggets of goodness, though. It’s a merger, of sorts.

    and I actually have spilt a beer on my laptop…well, a friend did anyway. believe it or not, it held up! but that new Time-Machine thingy on the Mac’s doesn’t hurt to have around for peace of mind.

  3. I collect journals, so I naturally like to write in them.

    The fact that handwriting takes longer is a pro in my opinion. It makes me thing about what I am writing down. Although, when I journal, I am usually not ranting with huge run on sentances (I would use a computer for that).

    My penmanship used to suck, but I actually like working on it and having unique handwriting. I just throw the journal in my go-bag (
    and write when I am on the bus or something.

    It has taken a long time to get into the habit though….

  4. Zach,

    I think the worst part about journaling electronically is the fact that the chances of your journal simply disappearing in, say, 10, 20, 30 years down the line are greatly increased.

    Unless you know you never want your great grandkids to read your journals, it seems better to use paper!


  5. if a guy wanted to send you an e-mail, how would he go about doing that? There is a second half to what I’m posting below but I don’t really want to post it as a comment. Shoot me an e-mail if you are interested… Keith

    I have definitely thought about the quandary that we who write are in between paper and hard drives. I have often attempted to make the switch from pen and paper journaling to keyboard and computer journaling. What I have found is that i need both. In fact, when it comes to anything that I’m writing, a spot of both helps make the entire process so much more organized and my thoughts tend to be written much better. But in so many ways I prefer pen and paper for most journaling. I am missing out on the possibility of editing for spelling, of interjecting a piece that i had forgotten about in its proper chronological place in the story, in the privacy of password protected documents, in the speed of typing, and in the friendliness to trees due to the lack of paper. But there is a something missing still. There is character and soul to the works of pen and paper. Chronology is not king, correct spelling is for college papers and editors, speed is not that important rather content, i’ve had little problem (that i know of) with privacy violations, and while there might be less trees in the world because of my journal, let us not be misled: the energy a computer uses to simply run and the resources used to build that computer are a factor as well. Needless to say, when it comes to the day to day “what I have been doing” i write in a composotion notepad. When it comes to the deeper thoughts that are sparked by an emotional need to write, i put it down in my moleskine. When it comes to random notes, to do lists, poetry and other thoughts that come to me when i am not near a computer, i will use a composition notebook or a small journalist style flip pad. What do i use my computer for? Blogging and writing. All this to say, I recommend that you at least give the pen and paper a shot. Your penmanship just might get better, if you practice writing slower and more neatly. And while it takes longer there is great value in patience and slowing down the mind that has to happen with a pen and paper.

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