Four Ways to Keep a Journal (that maybe you hadn't thought of)

journal-writing-tools-resourcesMy friend Betsy and I were coordinating for a trip to North Carolina, splitting up who was going to purchase what and making sure we had everything we needed. Right before we left, Betsy brought me a few things she had picked up, including a pink sponge and bright green dishwashing liquid. She told me that her daughter had picked out the dishwashing supplies in her favorite colors and had said “cleaning is so much more fun with a pretty sponge and bright green soap!”

Indeed it is.

This is true for so many things! We choose what we like to look at for wall colors, artwork, linens, clothes, shoes…everything!

We choose a journal to be our safe space for capturing our thoughts, emotions, and memories because we like the way that journal looks. The cover is the right color for us or the image is one that resonates.

Sometimes we find ourselves at a point in time when we want a different or new kind of tool. Instead of the blue soap we’ve been using for years, we want the bright green. The suds are prettier and it might even be easier to use.

Journaling is the same way. There are ways to keep a journal that might charter new territory for you. The tools themselves might make journaling more fun and get you excited to engage in the journaling process. Take a look and maybe try something new.

Virtual journal tools (or an online journal) are growing in both options and availability. You can access them anytime, from any computer (and often any mobile device), but only as long as you have an Internet connection. It’s becoming less and less common to have trouble with that these days, but when you find yourself on a remote island with no signal, you’ll need a backup scrap of paper to record your journal entry!

Here are a few free virtual journaling tools to check out if you’re curious:

OhLife: is a virtual journal that works using your email address. They send you a prompt, you reply, they store your reply for you. This is good for journalers who are keeping a personal journal or a business journal.

Oneword: is an online journaling tool that gives you a one-word prompt and sixty seconds to write a response to that word. You can keep your response private or share it on a live stream. This is ideal for people trying to develop a journal writing habit.

And for those of us who love our Macs, Day One for Mac: won App of the Year in 2012 and provides a neat and tidy platform for keeping your journal entries. There is a cost of $10 for this tool, less than you might spend on a new blank book and this one you can use on your iPad. Also, it comes with a random set of prompts or questions to help you get started, just in case you need it.

Vision boards or tools to make a collage have become super popular, but I’m not so sure that we’ve stopped to reflect on their correlation to journaling. When we write in our journals about our dreams and desires we are putting words on the page and clarifying our thoughts/prayers/intentions.

When we use images to create a piece of art that captures the essence of our dreams and desires, we are doing the same thing with the benefit of creating something we can look at over and over again. In The Joyful Vision Journal I call this create a space for capturing both images and words for a powerful tool for clarity and forward movement. I like to call it “vision journaling.” Cool, right?

An audio journal is an awesome tool for people who are on the go and often find they are thinking great thoughts in places that aren’t conducive to writing. How many times have you come up with the perfect idea while driving? Standing in line at the grocery store? Waiting for your kid at the doctor?

You can keep a separate voice recorder with you or use a tool on a Smartphone. Like classic journaling, it might be difficult to get into the habit, but practice makes perfect. You can store your audio files on your computer and if the mood ever strikes, you can transcribe them into text or even write them our as you listen.

I also love this one because some of us just need to talk, we just don’t always need (or want) an audience.

A video journal is a fun way to create a journal of an experience. This is great for talking to family members or friends around the holidays or while on vacation. It helps to a question that you’d like to ask people and give them have a minute to think about the question before you start recording.

Using a simple video camera or the video option on your Smartphone, you can record others thoughts and memories. Like the audio, responses can be transcribed for future use or they might be stored in a special file such as “Christmas 2013 Family Video Journal.” This will be something the kids can look back on as they get older.

Video is also great for learning about yourself in presentation mode. I know this isn’t important to everyone, but for people who deliver material to others, it can be helpful to keep a series of videos that illustrates your progress, lessons learned, etc. Who knows what great stuff you might capture for a blooper roll in the future?

Do you have another idea for keeping a journal? Leave me a note below to tell me about the cool ways you capture thoughts and memories in your journal!


  1. I want to journal, but how do I keep it safe? | Sara Marchessault | 17th Jul 13

    […] Another option is to use an online or digital journal that can be password protected. For more information on digital options, click here. […]

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