By Tina M. Games
When most of us think of journal writing, we picture ourselves sitting in a big, comfy chair by a window in a coffee shop. We have a hardbound, maybe spiral journal in our hands and our favorite pen – and we’re scribbling away. This creates the space we need to let our thoughts pour out of our mind and onto the page.
But what about those who aren’t so keen on the traditional journaling method of writing by hand? These are individuals who would rather type out their thoughts on computers – perhaps even moving notes around so they can keep them grouped in a particular way.
These days, online journaling is picking up momentum. It’s a form of collecting and documenting one’s thoughts on the computer. And for many online journal writers, this makes it easy to “copy and paste” certain thoughts into a bigger document to be used later on for a creative writing project.
Many memoirs start from journal entries. The same is true for personal essays and poetry. Even fiction writers, who are inspired by their own stories and the stories of others, have found value in journal writing.
There are three ways to journal online:
(1) Using a word processing software: For many, opening a Word or WordPad document and writing as thoughts are flowing through the mind is an easy process. It also provides the space to hold random thoughts, moving them around later to weave into a bigger story.
(2) Using an online journal writing software program – There are several journaling software programs available, such as LifeJournal (which was one of the first) which provide you with all kinds of ways to categorize your thoughts. This is ideal if you like to track your journal entries, seeing your personal progress in a particular area of life.
(3) Blogging – If you’re not concerned about having the world see your journal entries, blogging is the way to go. It not only gives you the space to express your innermost thoughts, it allows others to follow your story and share in your thought process.
There are also some added benefits to journaling online:
(1) All of your writing is in one place. Handwritten entries are often scattered throughout a journal, making it difficult to remember what you wrote and when.
(2) You can make all your journal entries password-protected, whether it’s on your personal computer in a file folder or in a file within a journaling software program. You can also protect all your blog entries until you’re ready to publish them to the virtual world.
(3) If you’re contemplating the use of your journal entries for a bigger project, such as a memoir or a personal essay, you can easily move your writing from one document to another as you need it.
As our society becomes more and more technology-focused, we are finding newer ways of doing the things we’ve always loved to do. Journal writing has always been a part of our culture – and now there’s a more “tech-savvy” way to do it.
Tina Games is the author of Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery. She’s a certified life purpose and journal writing coach for mothers who desire a more authentic life. Tina facilitates her own online journaling forum, the Journaling Moms Cafe. She lives with her family in Alexandria, Virginia. www.JournalingMoms.com
This article first appeared in the Fall Issue of WE Magazine for Women. You can read the PDF version here: http://www.staging.wemagazineforwomen.com/pdfs/WEMagFall2010.pdf or the FLIP version here: http://rsszine.com/samples/WEMagFall2010/
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