The Fascination and Struggle to Journal

It one of my earlier posts, Channeling My Inner Doogie Howser, M.D.; I talked about my journey into journaling and how I first became enamored with it. It is all Doogie Howser’s (Neil Patrick Harris’) fault. I remember watching Doogie Howser sit down at his desk at the end of each episode, type away at his computer, and see those letters of white magically appear on that blue screen. That was all it took, I was hooked. I have been addicted to the idea of journaling since then and have started and stopped too many journals to count, both analog and digital, sadly none of which I kept.

I said I have been addicted to the idea of journaling because I have struggled with the actual practice of it. Currently I am using the Day One application to journal for the purpose of capturing this journey that I am on. I have decided to go the digital route because no matter how hard I try and how desperately I want to; I just cannot keep up with or maintain a paper journal. That does not stop me from trying though, every time I see a paper journal on Amazon, or on the store shelf I am tempted to buy it. I purposely find the stationary aisle of every office supply or general store I go into just so I can see what kind of journals they have available. When I see one I like I want to bring it home, open it up and start writing it; creating schedules in the calendars and taking copious notes on the blank pages that I will review later on. And then a day or two passes, the newness wears off, I get busy with life and forget to journal. That is when the guilt sets in and the realization that my paper journal dreams have come crashing to the ground once again; until I see that next paper journal that I just can’t say no to.

That process has happened a dozen too many times and after throwing away my last paper journal, I made the decision that I was not going to allow myself to fall victim to that trap again. I would forever more be a digital journal kind of guy, and I would leave the romanticizing of the paper journal in the past. Then when I started working on things here at DividuusOne; and had wrote a couple of blog posts about the applications I was using and had done some Instagram searching on hashtags related to productivity I saw what appeared to be a paper journal in digital format. What I saw were reels of people using an application called Good Notes on their iPad with a template that had a paper journal feel. Without hesitation I allowed myself to go down the rabbit hole; I downloaded Good Notes from the App Store, I bought a digital journal template from an Etsy shop, I watched as many reels as I could find and I started building my digital journal.

I was enjoying the process of building up my digital journal, but something was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Turns out that was the problem; despite having that paper journal feel I missed putting pen to paper. Then I remembered that in the reels I had watched people were physically writing in their digital journals using an Apple Pencil. I needed to know if that was the missing piece and I just so happened to have a stylus that I use to navigate around on my iPhone for fun. I couldn’t get the stylus to function very well in Good Notes and I certainly wasn’t able to write with it; I was left with no choice but to go buy an Apple Pencil. Luckily I had a Target gift card laying around from Christmas and they had the pencil in stock so I bought it. I then used the time I had set aside throughout Memorial Day Weekend to work on this project to instead work my Good Notes planner. Probably not the best idea as I halted all progress here and did not writer any blog posts, but I just had to to do it. I dove into Good Notes application like Michael Phelps would dive into the pool, with full force and determination I created the yearly calendar and then the monthly, weekly, and daily calendars complete with action plans and pages for review and reflection. I worked on dates in the past so that my Good Notes journal would reflect the same start date as DividuusOne, I was on a mission and I could not be stopped.

That feeling of elation when I would open a brand new paper journal came flooding back, but absent was the feeling of trepidation and failure to maintain it because it was digital. It hasn’t even been a full week yet and I am not totally caught up with the past day’s entries, but each morning I have created a new daily entry in my digital journal and each night I have notated on it and added pictures to it. I am not quite sure what value this adds to my organizational process (if any at all), and I don’t think it makes me any more productive (probably less); but it brings me joy, to steal a line from Marie Kondo, and that’s enough for me.

As for the specific template I chose, there is not a rhyme or reason as to why I chose it. I just needed one right then and didn’t want to waste my time doing any research. Instead I quickly found one that I thought would suit my needs and since the price was right I bought it; and then spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out how to import it in to Good Notes because I couldn’t be bothered to read the directions. The one I chose is probably a little more robust than I need it to be, as it includes all types of extra pages for various tracking and the like; but I am just using the pieces I need and it’s working out just fine. I, being me of course, am now having grand delusions of creating my own journal template by combining various digital journal PDF’s and pages uniquely created for my needs (because I have that kind of time). I am trying desperately to keep those delusions at bay for now though because I realize that is not a priority with everything else there is to accomplish. Until that time when I have that kind of time, I am satisfied with the fact that I came across Good Notes and the ability to journal digitally. It’s not the perfect substitution as I still miss carrying around that paper journal and the feel turning the pages, but that has been replaced by carrying around the iPad. Another advantage to the digital journal it that my handwriting is much better, because I am typing out the words. I know that my journal will never be as fancy or professional looking as those influencers on Instagram that introduced me to Good Notes and create content based on their digital journals that are adorned with stickers and perfect penmanship, but I don’t have aspirations like that. I only ever aspired to journal, and I believe I have found a way to do just that.

One thought on “The Fascination and Struggle to Journal

  1. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with journaling over the years but have found that when I’ve found what works for me, it’s been much easier. I tried for many years doing what I saw others do or what I thought it should all look like — none of that helped. I’ve found that journaling is something I do more in poetry than anything else so that is often my way in to exploring things further. Thanks for sharing your journey with this!


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