Keeping a Personal Journal
I have always known the importance of keeping a personal journal or diary. But for four decades of mortal life thus far, my journal keeping has been sparse.
Thankfully, I managed to keep a journal – mostly written and some dictated on microcassette tapes – for a good portion of my time serving as a full-time missionary in Brazil from 2000 to 2002. I'm thankful for what I managed to record, because despite thinking there was no way I could forget the details of such an impactful, life-changing experience, I realize just how much I have forgotten whenever I review my mission journal.
I have managed to fill one hard-bound hand-written journal volume since then, but have spent most of the time paralyzed with the decision of how to keep a journal moving forward. There are so many ways of keeping a journal today, each of them with their own unique advantages – and drawbacks. I've tried continuing with a paper journal, keeping a digital journal of basic text or Microsoft Word document, and even making digital audio recordings. Those attempts fizzled out soon after they started.
The past few weeks, I have felt a renewed urgency to record the events of my life – to share what I've learned and what I'm learning, both temporally and spiritually. I remember my parents keeping journals when I was growing up. My great-grandfather didn't keep a journal, but he did take the time later in his life to collect old photos, use his 1953 Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter to write his and his wife's life histories, make photo copies of everything, and put them together in spiral-bound booklet that he distributed to his family. I consider my copy of this booklet to be one of the most precious things I own. I have digitized it to ensure its contents are preserved and accessible for future generations via FamilySearch.org.
After thinking again about how to keep a journal going forward, I decided to try a smartphone app I tried years ago called Day One. I've been writing in it the past few days using the free features available. I have enjoyed it so much that I decided do a free 7-day trial of their “Premium” subscription ($35 USD/yr), which gives you access to some great features, including integration with IFTTT which, if I set it up properly, should automatically pull in this very post as a journal entry!
Other features of the Day One app include the ability to include photos, make audio recordings, sync content securely between devices, and export your journal into various formats, including PDF.
Another feature that I really like is the ability to have Day One print (for an additional charge) actual, physical books of your journal entries. So if you want, you can enjoy the benefits of both digital and physical journal keeping.
I'm really going to make a valiant effort to develop a journal-keeping habit this time. I want my posterity and relatives to know me and, hopefully, find strength and learn from my own life journey.
At the very least, I hope I can be more consistent with keeping a journal than with blogging!