Is Keeping An Electronic Journal Right For You?

Penzu Home Screen

This is a screen shot of my current Penzu home screen!

I've kept a journal off and on for about 15 years. I started with a program on my Windows computer. I've tried a coupld of different apps on my Mac, before ending up with which is an online journal.

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Online or Local?

When using an electronic journal, one of the first questions you need to ask is if you want all of the data stored on your computer or if you want it stored “on the cloud.” And even if you want it stored on your computer and use an app, you can uses services like “Dropbox” to access your journals from anywhere!

Using “local storage” to save your journals gives you more control over them, but that means you must use your device to write new entries. Storing them in the cloud, allows you to access the data from any device, but you're relying on someone else to keep your data secure.

I choose to use cloud storage and a web-app as I like to be able to write using both my computer and my iPad. There are some desktop programs that will allow you to sync' the data across different devices.

So, What App Is Right?

Let me start out saying that I use a Mac, an iPad, and an iPhone, so I know most about those systems. But, I started on Windows, so I'll talk about the app I used.

I started with “Life Journal” on Windows. This was a robust program that at the time was only on the desktop. One of its highlights was it offered different prompt packages for things like writing, weight loss and many more. Its entry was easy, but it was only on one computer.

Now, on my Mac, I started with “Day One” which is one of the top apps in the Mac App Store. I found the interface to be a little hard to navigate, but that could just be me. I suggest you give it a try!

On Windows, Diarium is one of the highest rated journaling app in the Windows 10 App Store. You can sync your journal to other devices using OneDrive, plus you can export your entries to a few different formats. Now, I haven't used this app, so I can't give you any advice.

For online journaling, which is what I use is Penzu. I like this online journal because it allows me to keep multiple journals and they are kept secure. I do pay for the upgrade to the “Pro” version. I had started with the Pro+ that offers better encryption and more fonts, but I found I didn't use those features. Entry into a journal is like typing in most other word processors. There are some things I don't like. First, they don't have a template function. I use morning pages and night notes so having that as a template would help. I created my own by creating entries that have the basic information and “star” them. I can then just show stared entries and copy and paste.

So What Should You Do?

If you currently journal, as long as what you are using works for you, is perfect. If you are new to journaling or are looking for something better, I've listed some of, what I consider, are the best options. One of the hardest choices is to decide if you want a “local” app or an online app.

Do you keep a journal? Do you use an app, or are you “paper and pen”? (I'll be writing about that next month!) Let me know in the comments and if you feel like sharing, what sort of things you keep in your journal!

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