The Journal Newsletter – February 2004

The Journal Newsletter

February 2004
Volume 5 Issue 2


Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Valentine’s Day! Etc. Pick your favorite minor holiday, and enjoy it!

Susan gives us a new set of writing exercises, and our tip this month describes how to create new entry categories in The Journal. Also, Peter Henry gives us a very personal “How I Use The Journal”.

Thank you for supporting DavidRM Software’s The Journal!

Tips & Tricks

TIP: Creating New Categories

The Journal automatically creates three categories for you when you use The Journal: “Daily Journal”, a daily entry category; “Notebook”, a loose-leaf category; and “Templates”, a collection of writing and journaling prompts and simple templates. However, The Journal allows you to have many more entry categories than just these.

Here are the steps for creating a new category:

  1. Click on the “Category” menu and choose “New Category…”
  2. Choose a name for your category (example: “Dreams”).
  3. Pick a category type, Standard or Loose-leaf.
    • Standard categories are like the “Daily Journal” category, with a new entry every day (or every week, or every month; see below).
    • Loose-leaf categories are like the “Notebook” category, with named entries that you can organize and arrange any way you like.
  4. Click on “Next”.
  5. If you are creating a Standard category, you will need to choose how often a new entry is created.
    • Daily – a new entry is created every day.
    • Weekly – a new entry is created every week, on the specified day (Sunday-Saturday).
    • Monthly – a new entry is created every month, on the specified day (1-31).
  6. Click on “Finish”.

When you click on “Finish”, your new category will be created and you will be able to click on its tab and start making entries immediately.

Writing Prompts

by Susan Michael

Free Writing Exercise – Write for 20 minutes (without editing) in any style using, “Moth Whispers”.

Poetry Exercise – 1. Write a poem using the title, “Paradise of Strangers”.

2. Write a poem using, ” Between Silences”.

Prose Exercise – 1. Write a short story using, “Shifting her glance to the side of the chair she noticed a small green suitcase.”

2. Write about “hands” in three different genres. (If possible, look at a stranger’s hands and take notes.)

Journaling Exercise – Write about what you wish you had time for, or had more time to do. Keep a log during the next two weeks of how you spend your time. Make note of what you consider to be “free” time and non-negotiable activities. Record the amount of time you spend in each activity. Review your log entries. Is there time that you can reappropriate towards what you want to accomplish? Create a schedule guide for yourself to help you shift towards doing more of what you want to do.

Memoir Prompt – Write about an event or time that you made a deliberate change for yourself. Write about what motivated you to make the change, and how you think that change has affected your life.

About the author: Susan Michael currently facilitates the Tulsa Writers Cafe for the Arts & Humanities Council in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ms. Michael has also led writing & creativity workshops for children, teenagers, and adults.

How I Use The Journal

Editor’s Note: The Journal is used by people from all over the world, from many nations, representing a variety of personal, professional, 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.

A Novice Journal Writer’s Way of Putting His Life in Order

by Peter G. Henry

Ten years ago the idea of keeping a journal would not have crossed my mind, but over the next few years my life would take a dramatic turn which would also change my points of view and opinions on various subjects.

I am told that my illness would have begun about ten years ago but would not have impacted my life style for about six years, as the illness is quite stealthy. One does not notice the steady slowing down of body movements or tiredness in job-related functions. This is all put down to the advancing tide called old age.

If I had noticed all that was happening then, a journal would have been ideal to record all the small advances. Then a picture would have been built that may have helped the doctors to diagnose the symptoms at an earlier time and maybe in some way have slowed it down.

My illness lung disease “Bronchiectasis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease” the visible traits of this illness are club fingers, toes and the creation of large amounts of phlegm or expectorated matter (saliva mixed with discharges from the respiratory passages; in ancient and medieval physiology it was believed to cause sluggishness). This makes the natural act of breathing very difficult.

And so now I work to put my life in order, to leave a record of my successes and failures, the why’s of my actions.

Some of you may think that this type of memoir is the domain of politicians and actors. It is not. Each and everyone of us have in our lives acquired huge amounts of information and each one of us processes that information differently. A journal does not need to be an essay or book. It can be a simple collection of key words and phases that help to remember a day or situation, words which will trigger the rest of what may have happened on an occasion. If you are so inclined, of course, you can write a book or essay.

When I was at work I used to keep a simple diary, a “day on a page” for appointments and what transpired on that day. I have been going through that now, page by page, to try and trigger the moments of particular days. It would have been easier if I had kept it as a journal as well then the key words would have been there.

My memory is not that good nowadays so I use “The Journal” to record everything that I should remember. I sit in front of my computer 24/7 and sleep on average of three hours a time so everything that I do is recorded. Ideas and/or my opinion on a news story which sometimes turns into an email to a politician or local authority. If I hadn’t started a journal none of this would take place and my time on this earth may have been viewed as pointless.

One of my passions has always been mathematics. I have been studying, when possible, the works of Donald Knuth. I record all that I discover within my journal, which I hope is helping me to formulate present or past assumptions about certain formulas.

Also, almost no one knows that I have a passion for poetry. They will when they read my journal. Maybe in the future someone may say this was a man with passion and good ideas. This gives me comfort.

With a journal, one can organise one’s journey through life, good or bad. The future deserves to get a balanced picture of life in all walks of life and cultures. This is what I believe is putting one’s life in order. There is no need to write like Byron or Keats. Just write.

This is my way of putting my life in order so that all that I have seen, done and postulated can be preserved for my family and anyone interested in my life, a record of an ordinary life. Even my curiosity is aroused to the point that I now look forward to entering my life’s details into my journal. As time is getting shorter by the day, I hope that the last entry I make is something profound.

The more I learn, the less I know.

My kindest regards,
Peter G Henry

Submission Information

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:

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.


Editor: David Michael (
The Journal Newsletter Copyright © 2015 by David Michael.
Updated: June 18, 2015 — 9:52 pm