Keeping a Journal

I've never been a journal keeper. Journal aspirant sometimes, but never a journal keeper.

As I aged, and then wrote professionally for a few years, I no longer aspired. And in law / info science school, I've been so exhausted and engaged in learning new things that I haven't felt I've had much to share, even with myself. As Willie Nelson says, you can't make a record if you ain't got nothin' to say.

Or, perhaps I've just never liked the idea of writing to myself -- I tend not to be comfortable with listening to my own voice, especially when it's directed at me, and especially when it's in writing. But we'll leave my psychological issues for another day.

My other main objection to keeping a journal is that I think it tends to promote rumination. And rumination is bad.


I discovered a thing. By using a set template to prompt journal responses, I've been able to actually keep a digital journal like Lifehacker says I should.

With this set of prompts I found (ok, more or less cribbed, but you can't copyright an idea, son!), the goal is to promote positive thoughts. Not Barbara Ehrenreich Bright Sided delusional thoughts, not Senator Al Franken's affirmations, either, but closer. Maybe it's better to say that I'm trying to prompt helpful thoughts. The idea is to express gratitude I wouldn't otherwise necessarily think about. And I'm writing, and keeping up with it, and enjoying myself.

My basic process works like this: one TextExpander snippet for a morning entry, one for a nighttime entry. I indulged and bought Day One for both the 'Pad and the MacBook, and just as everyone says, it's an exceptional app.

No fuss, no muss. Just me and my feelings.