The Journal Newsletter
A recent discussion on The Journal’s User Discussion List ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thejournal-users/ ) provided a number of interesting and innovative ways that people use The Journal. Excerpts from that discussion make up this month’s “How I Use The Journal”.
We also have a new set of writing exercises, and a tip about using weekly and monthly categories.
Thank you for choosing DavidRM Software’s The Journal!
TIP: Beyond Daily: Weekly & Monthly Categories
If you’ve created a new standard category (as described in the February 2004 issue of the newsletter, you no doubt noticed that the New Category wizard asked you to choose how often to create a new entry:
- Every Week on this Weekday
- Every Month on this Date
The daily setting is the most common, and is used for the “Daily Journal” category automatically created for new users. While one-date-one-entry makes sense for many journaling/notekeeping tasks, there are times when having a single entry that you add to and update over a period of time can be useful. With that in mind, this tip discusses the weekly and monthly category options.
With a weekly category, you choose the day of the week (Sunday, Monday, etc.), and each entry in the category will cover the 7-day period starting with that day. Each week, on the specified day, a new entry will be created for you. On the calendar, the entire week is highlighted, so you can be sure of the dates included.
As an example, I have a “Weekly Schedule” category that runs from Sunday through Saturday of each week (hardly an original configuration, I agree). On Sunday, I insert a template that includes headings for my major task groups (e.g., “The Journal”) and also for each day. I fill in the details of what I want to accomplish or work on each day of the coming week. During the week, I can bring up this category and see the whole week at a glance. As I complete tasks, I strike them off using strikethrough (hot-key: Ctrl+).
A monthly category acts much the same as a weekly category, with one entry spanning an entire month. Rather than specifying a day of the week, though, you choose a date (1-31) that starts the month. NOTE: If the specified date is greater than the number of days in the month (29, 30, or 31), then the entry for that month will be created on the first of the following month.
I haven’t actually used this setting myself, so I don’t have a personal example to give. Some people, though, may not like starting a new entry every day, and might prefer to keep a single, growing description of the month, possibly indicating days with the Insert Date (hot-key: Ctrl+D). A monthly category might also be an interesting way to track the books you’ve read or movies you’ve seen in a month. Since you would be making entries about these only a few times in a month, having a daily category to track them could seem like overkill.
The Journal has always tried to provide as much flexibility as possible, and weekly and monthly categories are just one more option available to you. Experiment and see what happens!
by Susan Michael
Free Writing Exercise – Write for 20 minutes starting with “The gypsy reads the tea leaves” or, “The First Time I Saw the Circus”.
Poetry Exercise – Write a poem about something that “spirals”.
Prose Exercise – Write a story based upon the use of subliminal messages.
Journaling Exercise – Write about one thing in society that you really feel is not properly managed, or you feel outraged about when you think of it. Do you feel that there is any hope of an improved solution?
Memoir Prompt – Write the story of how you came by your scars. Be sure to describe the scars, including their locations.
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.
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.
How I Use The Journal
These are excerpts of posts made to The Journal’s User Discussion List this month.
“…the main way I use The Journal is for my [non-journaling] writing. I am working on a book about the history of the region in which I live. This book will be segmented into chapters about specific historic sites. I have grouped all the writing under one category tab, and each chapter has a topic heading, under which is the main article, and then sibebar copy in separate documents. This works great, because I can keep drafts separate, and quickly reference other chapters. The Journal’s editor is perfect for composing writing and then re-writing, as it has enough editing tools, but isn’t overwhelming. … The only thing that would be handy is if The Journal offered a footnoting tool…”
-Steve Zeoli, Hubbardton, Vermont
“I don’t journal at all. But I do keep medical notes and summaries of my condition in various journal sections. I also compile meeting notes related to job or medical meetings. I keep notes on issues regarding my pets. In other words, my use is mostly lists or things I need to remember and I have it set up so there are four journal tabs and four notebook tabs I can go to depending on what I need to enter. I don’t use the journals much at all unless I’m trying and documenting a new medication or if I have a specific medical problem I’m tracking. The rest is all in the notebooks.”
“I use the journal to keep my stock trading journal (trying to get into stock trading as a 2nd career for my retirement later). I used the daily format to write my daily thought on the market, or my trading activities on the day, and cut/paste the chart into that. I use the loose leaf format for specific topic on trading , such as ‘trading psychology’, etc.”
“I work at a Shelter For the Homeless and use the Journal for keeping clinical notes. I am a drug / alcohol counselor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. See: http://www.bphi.org
“The Journal is perfect for keeping ‘progress notes’ for me especially because I am the Coordinator of the Family Program here. At any given time we have 10 families with 2 to 3 kids in each who live at the shelter for up to 90 to 120 days. In addition we have about 150 single persons both male and female.
“Since I deal only with the families, I set-up a category for each family (at any given time – no more than 10) and keep all my notes for that family easily by utilizing Journal templates. I use a template for each basic outline of the different types of notes that I have to do. It saves me having to type my name with credentials for each note plus it automatically puts in the type of note that it is going to be plus the date etc.
“I utilize the print capabilities of the Journal extensively. I print out my notes for charts when hard copies are necessary. I also utilize exporting my notes in HTML so my colleagues can view them via a shared folder on our secure server by simply utilizing their web browsers. When a funder needs to see documentation, for services rendered, I can print out 60 pages of notes for them or sit him/her in front of my computer, with The Journal open, and let them, on a daily basis, review the work that I have done with clients.
“When a family moves on, I move their family category into a different ‘Master Category’ from ‘Resident’ to either ‘Discharged’ or ‘Follow-Up’ if I think that there is a chance that we will be generating further notes by assisting that family further after they move out.
“I have been praised for my system of organization and I have ‘passed’ monitorings by our funders with ‘flying colors.’ Of course, I take all the credit (Sorry David !! ) when I really know that it would be 10X more difficult to do what I do without The Journal’s capabilities.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.