The Journal Newsletter
- The Journal News
- Tips & Tricks
- Writing Prompts
- How I Use The Journal
- Submission Information
I was pleasantly surprised when last month (August) turned out to be the second-best month for The Journal ever. Only January of this year surpassed it. For the curious, January of any given year is usually the best month. I surmise that this is because of New Years Resolutions combined with a lot of “Internet freetime” brought about from all the paid holidays. In any case, it was cool.
Not much actual “The Journal news” this month, but we do have new tips, more bugs to report, another set of writing exercises, and we have our first user-submitted “How I Use The Journal”.
Thank you for supporting DavidRM Software’s The Journal!
Email programs tend to “mangle” the layout of text in the message, and this mangling carries over when you copy the text into The Journal. Usually this mangling involves breaking a paragraph into multiple separate lines, often choosing *where* to break the lines with seemingly reckless abandon. So you end up with text like this:
This was the first line of the email and
my email program
chose to break it into several lines. Who
what it was thinking?
To correct this problem in The Journal, select the text of the mangled paragraph. Right-click the selected text and choose “Reformat Selection”, and then select “Remove Extra Spaces and Returns.”
Reformatting will combine all the lines of the paragraph back into a single paragraph once again. Reformatting will work on multiple paragraphs so long as a blank line separates each paragraph.
1. Create a loose-leaf category and call it “Writing Exercise Templates”.
2. Tab over to your newly created category and create a new entry entitled “Free-association Grid”.
3. Copy the text of the “Free-association Grid” writing exercise (below) into the entry. If necessary, use the reformatting tip above to clean up the text of the exercise.
4. Right-click the “Free-association Grid” entry in the entry tree, and choose “Template Entry.” The entry page in the tree should now display with a red “T”.
5. To test the template, tab back over to your “Daily Journal” category. Position the cursor at the end of the entry. On the “Edit” menu, choose “Insert Template”, then “Writing Exercise Templates”, and finally “Free-association Grid”. The text of the writing exercise should now be inserted into your current entry.
As you collect additional writing exercises, either from this newsletter or other sources, you can add them to your list of writing exercise templates by creating new entries in the “Writing Exercise Template” category and marking them as templates. To help separate the description of a writing exercise from your work, add a separator “bar” (such as the line of dashes used to separate topics in the newsletter) to the end of the template entry.
by Susan Michael
Writing Exercise: Free-association Grid
This exercise helps to transition into creative writing. It can be used to stimulate your thoughts, or it can serve to remove distraction depending on your intent.
At the beginning of your writing time write a list of random, free-association words. For creative writing, list ten words across ten columns. Then go to each column and add nine more words so that the result is ten columns and ten rows, a total of one hundred words. Just reading the list and noticing the creative leaps your mind has made may surprise you.
If you like, continue the exercise by using all one hundred words in a short fiction piece. For poetry, select the words that suggest a common theme.
This exercise can also be used to vent distractive thoughts, or play a bit before you get to work on a selected project.
A quick version is to shorten the exercise to five columns and five rows, for a total of twenty-five words.
About the author: Susan Michael calls herself the “Poetry Enabler” and is active in spoken word poetry. She has facilitated several writing groups, and lead writing & creativity workshops for the Arts & Humanties Council in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Editor’s Note: The Journal is used by hundreds of people from all over the world, from many nations, representing a variety of personal and religious backgrounds. Journaling is by definition an intensely personal undertaking, so it should not be surprising that when someone writes about how or why they keep a journal that they will end up sharing personal information. The Journal Newsletter does not support any particular personal or religious lifestyle, but rather attempts to support anyone who keeps a journal, for whatever reason they do so. Thus, the views and opinions expressed in “How I Use The Journal” are solely those of the submitter and not necessarily the views of DavidRM Software. Whether you agree with the submitter’s views or not, I encourage you to read the article and glean from it the information and techniques that “ring true” for you.
Why I Use The Journal
by John Leach
Discovering the Journal, I believe, was a date in destiny. Here I am in Australia and you are in the United States, and yet, with so much distance between us, the Journal has been the fulfilment of a prayer. Let me explain.
Firstly: Let me give you some background. I am a journalist, writing Christian literature published in newspapers, sent by e-mail to an extensive list of subscribers, and is used by clergy for sermon prompts and in church magazines and newsletters. I am also the Associate Editor of “Just a Minute”, a syndicated newspaper column organised by an interdenominational Christian Writer’s Association. God gives people various talents, and in my case, he has used me to present the Scriptures in a way that “talks” to ordinary folk in an extraordinary way.
People often ask where my ideas come from and I simply reply that God just works through my fingers on the keyboard. Sometimes I am just as surprised what is on the screen as my readers are with the published columns.
Secondly: My need for the Journal started some years back when I ran across a book by Mark Virkler titled “Dialogue With God” (American ISBN #0-88270-620-9) and (Australian ISBN #1 86263 006 2). In his book, Virkler explored the various theories relating to the personal, day to day relationship with God. This book opened my eyes to the benefits of “journaling”. After clearing my mind of the day’s clutter and putting my mind at God’s disposal, I started to write down whatever came into my head. At first it was difficult to let go of my rational self but after a while I learned to feel free and the words and sentences came flowing on to my writing pad. I could not believe what was in front of me. The words and sentences were so beautiful, reassuring and insightful.
The subjects covered were wide and varied and extremely personal. The very centre of my life was bared on those pages. As the hard-covered writing pad grew in volume, I became concerned about its security. There were names and situations in those pages, if discovered, would be embarrassing and possibly hurtful if read out of context. My anxiety over their security led me to the harrowing act of destroying them, even though I often re-read what had been written and had drawn much comfort and inspiration from God’s “still, quiet voice.”
For the next 18 months I refrained from “journaling” knowing whatever I wrote would present a security risk. But I was sure God wanted to continue the dialogue we had begun so beautifully the year and a half before. After reading a book titled “God Calling” (ISBN 0 949925 00 4) written by “The Two Listeners” and edited by A. J. Russell, I resolved then and there to resume my journal–but what about its security?
Technology had moved on and I discovered a computer program called “Security Manager” which uses the “:Blowfish” technique to encrypt files. This proved very successful. I used one word processing file for each journal leaf but after a while it became unmanageable.
One day I decided to search the Internet for a journal come diary program which would allow me to write entries and encrypt with the “Security Manager.” I found only one program which was both expensive and not overly practical. Then one day I happen to look through the CNet newsletter and the very first shareware program was the “Journal.” It sounded good, but you know…
I downloaded it for a trial and immediately realised this was exactly what I was after. There were daily entries and loose leaf compartments. It used the same encryption technique I had come to trust and I keep the shortcut obscure on my desktop in case someone goes exploring in my absence (not that they could get into the Journal, anyway).
The purchase the Journal was completed before the trial period was up. God had let me know, without equivocation, that he had a lot to say to me and the Journal was the perfect tool.
My journaling consists mostly of two parts. One, when I do the writing. It is a “Letter to God.” I tell Him everything that is on my mind for the day. The good, the bad and the ugly. I tell Him how much I love Him and enjoy the opportunity to be so open. Sometimes I use capitals or underline when I want to stress a particular point. Other times it is like a love letter.
Then I just sit there waiting for Him to talk back. I just sit there. Then thoughts start to flow into my mind which I type. (Let me stress that I do the typing. There is no magic here.) I am truly amazed at what comes up on the screen. I watch in fascination as the most beautiful thoughts are formed into sentences and creep line for line down my monitor. I just watch in amazement.
Much of the content is personal. But often it is an expansion of Scripture and how it is applied in day to day life. I find myself using the content in my columns and amazingly, it is these concepts which are enjoyed most by my readers.
In conclusion, I have come to know that God enjoys talking with me (you, anyone) as much as I love to sit and listen. God continually reassures me that journaling with Him is a pleasure greater than we ever imagine. If any one would like to discuss this concept further, I would be delighted.
If you would like to contribute to the “How I Use The Journal”, “Writing Exercises”, or “Tips & Tricks” sections, or would like to submit an article about journaling, writing, or another The Journal-related topic, we would love to hear from you.
Submissions for the newsletter should be sent to: [email protected]
If you are submitting for a particular section, please indicate which one. Try to limit your submissions to 500-1000 words. Submissions may be edited for length and content.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, please state this in the email. Otherwise your name (but not your email) will be used in the article heading.
As always, if you have any suggestions for, or bug reports about, The Journal, please feel free to email them. Both are always welcome.