Tag Archives: journals

The new Day One

Shawn Blanc reviews the latest version of Day One, which now supports photos:

“Over the years, most of the major, monumental milestones of life were documented in my Moleskine. But not all. And that’s why I’m glad to have an app that let’s me easily and joyfully add a snapshot or a quick note about an important or memorable event. These are the things my family and I will look back on 20 and 30 years from now with great fondness.”

While I keep the important stuff in my journals, I also use a protected Twitter account for the everyday notes and photos while away from the house. It has no followers; it’s just to have a date-stamped entry with a photo that’s easy to sync. Now that I’ve read how people are using Day One for this, I’m going to switch away from my private Twitter account to use Day One on the iPhone instead.

I like having one place for this kind of stuff. If the same type of content is scattered across multiple services, it makes it less likely that everything will be together in the future when I finally want it.

Especially interesting to me from Shawn’s review is that he also keeps a hand-written journal, even after using Day One for a similar purpose. I’ll keep using real-world pen and paper too, and everything I write there I will also transcribe into Day One. But I’ll write new things in Day One that will stay exclusively digital.

Federico Viticci also has a great review. He starts with the big picture, the why of writing it all down:

“I don’t even know if I’ll be around in twenty years. But I do know that I want to do everything I can to make sure I can get there with my own memories. We are what we know. And I want to remember.”

I think the best writers know that it matters what their work looks like in a decade, or two decades, whether the writing is private or public. You can see it in everything from permanent URLs to blog topics to what software they use — a conscious effort to create content that lasts.

Journals

Steve Corona on keeping a journal:

“And for the past 1091 days, I’ve been journaling every single day — that’s about 3 years or 12% of my entire life. My only regret? I wish I started sooner.”

When I was younger, I had tried off and on to keep a sketchbook or journal, but it never quite stuck. Like blogging, or writing, or drawing, or anything you aren’t paid to do, it takes setting a routine. There’s always something more important to do.

journals Then in 1998, I started a journal again with a renewed commitment. I filled a book from that day up until I got married. Then another book through when my daughters were born. Another for the first 10 years of their life, and my son’s. The travel, the big life moments, the election, the work. It’s not everything — sometimes the entries are every day and sometimes months go by with nothing — but it’s the stuff that matters, and the snapshots in time of little everyday things too.

I would be devastated to lose these books. Open the pages and it rolls back the years like a time machine, to a previous life full of small details that are priceless today. I’m writing the books half for my terrible fading memory, and half for my children, who will only care what these years have been like when it’s too late to ask me.

So I’ve recently started transcribing the handwritten entries into digital form. One page at a time, into Day One, then exported as plain text. It’s a long and tedious process, but multiple copies are the only sure way to make something last.