The Journal Newsletter – August 2002

The Journal Newsletter

August 2002
Volume 3 Issue 8


Welcome to The Journal Newsletter!

It’s August once again, which in the USA generally means it’s back-to-school time. If you are a registered user of The Journal and know a student who could benefit from The Journal, just send me their name and email address. I’ll send them a coupon for The Journal from you, good for $10 off the normal price.

This month’s tip is about downloading and installing additional spell checker dictionaries for The Journal, and Susan has provided another set of writing exercises. Also, this month we have a book review of “Accidental Genius”, by Mark Levy.

Thank you for supporting DavidRM Software’s The Journal!

Tips & Tricks

TIP: Additional Spell Checker Dictionaries

The Journal comes with an “American English” spell checker dictionary. If you live outside the US, however, this may not be very useful.

Spell checker dictionaries that can be used with The Journal exist for most major languages: British, Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Italian, and more. The complete list, including download links, can be found here:
Additional Spell Check Dictionaries

There are also specialized dictionaries available, such as technical, legal, and biblical dictionaries. These dictionaries must be downloaded directly from Addictive Software:

Installing your new spell checker dictionary is pretty simple.

Extract the dictionary into the Dictionaries sub-folder where you installed The Journal. The default path is:
C:\Program Files\DavidRM Software\The Journal 3\Dictionaries

Once you have the dictionary installed, you may need to restart The Journal for it to begin using it.

To set your spell checker options, click on the “Options” menu, and choose “User Preferences…” Then bring up the “Spell Checker” tab.

Writing Prompts

by Susan Michael

Free Writing Exercise – Write for 20 minutes (without editing) in any style: using “pendulum”.

Poetry Exercise – Write a poem that starts with a one word title, two words in the first line, three in the next, and continues by adding one word per line. (Variation: use as a prose exercise.)

Prose Exercise – Write a list of �circumstances� that you can use as prompts for a storyline. Throw in a touch of fantasy (e.g. a garden where people grow small if they smell a certain plant, a person recovering from a car wreck discovers a conspiracy). Select one and create the story. Write allowing yourself a sense of humor and relaxation.

Journaling Exercise – What do you do or can you do to build optimism in yourself and for those around you? Consider actions that you can use as a “restart button” to rejuvenate your outlook. Keep a log of things you consciously do to promote optimism.

Memoir Prompt – Record the history of items you consider to be family heirlooms. The heirloom doesn’t have to be valuable, so long as it is important to the family.

About the author: Susan Michael has facilitated several writing groups, and has lead writing & creativity workshops for the Arts & Humanities Council in Tulsa, Oklahoma.



Review by David Michael


In “Accidental Genius,” Mark Levy (see below for book information) presents his take on the popular exercise of “free writing” (AKA “daily pages”): private writing. Private writing is, in the author’s own words, “…a fast, for-your-eyes-only method of thinking onto paper that enables you to reach a level of thinking that’s often difficult to attain during the normal business day.”

“Accidental Genius” focuses on using private writing to generate ideas and solve problems within your business or professional life. But private writing can be easily applied to other areas of your life.

Easy to read, and well organized, “Accidental Genius” is short enough that it can be read from the forward by Tom Peters to the index in a single sitting. The book begins with a short discussion of “thoughts as currency” in the modern world, before moving into the “secrets” of private writing (“Try Easy”, Write Fast and Continously”, “Work Against a Limit”, and so on). The second half of the book, after all the “secrets” of private writing have been introduced, provides a series of refinements. These refinements (“Open Up Words”, “Drop Your Mind on Paper”, “Hold a Paper Conversation”) expand on the basic secrets, helping you to further benefit from your private writing sessions.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, and found the presentation of private writing enlightening and useful. My only complaints are about the sometimes long-ish excerpts from Mark Levy’s own private writings.

If you are a professional or just looking for an alternative to some of the rather “touchy-feely” presentations of free writing, check out “Accidental Genius”.

Using “Accidental Genius” with The Journal

Since there is very little structure to private writing, no special setup is needed to do private writing in The Journal. At most, you may want to create a new category to hold your private writing. Either a daily category or a loose-leaf category would work quite well, depending on how you want to organize your private writings.

The Journal doesn’t currently have a built-in timer, so you will need to find a simple, inobstrusive timer to use with your private writing.

If you would like to comment on using The Journal with “Accidental Genius”, or any other free writing or journaling approach, check out The Journal’s user email discussion list on Yahoo Groups:

– – – – –
Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your Thinking Through Private Writing
by Mark Levy
Berret-Koehler; ISBN:1576750833

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: August 7, 2016 — 9:42 pm