The Journal Newsletter
Welcome to The Journal Newsletter!
We have a new update of The Journal to announce (Build #39) this month, and Toni McConnel describes how she uses The Journal. And, as always, we have a new tip, and a new collection of writing exercises.
Thank you for supporting DavidRM Software’s The Journal!
Tips & Tricks
TIP: Getting the New Example Templates
If you have been using The Journal since prior to the recent release of Build #39, then you may be interested in checking out the new example templates.
New users of The Journal automatically get the “Templates” category created for them, with a small collection of example templates, but existing users have to add them manually.
The example templates include most of the writing exercises from The Journal newsletter over the past 2 years, as well as a couple of others.
If you would like to have the new example templates, do this:
1. Download this file:
2. Import the templates by clicking on the Entry menu, choosing “Import Entries…”, and pointing it to the file you downloaded.
3. Click on “Import All”.
4. If you don’t already have a category called “Templates”, click on “Auto-Create”. If you do have a category called “Templates”, you can “Import Into” that one, or “Create” a new category.
Once the import is finished, the new example templates will be available via “Insert Template” on the Insert menu.
If you would prefer, you can even hide the tab for the “Templates” category, and the example templates in it will still be available.
The Writing Prompts Templates
The Writing Prompts are a collection of writing exercises originally published in The Journal Newsletter. The writing prompts include journaling prompts, prose prompts, poetry prompts, and free writing prompts.
If you insert a “Writing Prompt”, you will get a randomly selected prompt from one of the four prompt types: journaling, prose, poetry, or free writing.
If you insert a specific type of prompt, you will get the next prompt of that type in sequence (starting from the beginning).
These templates are futher examples of what can be done with templates. The “Simple Daily Log” is a short list of prompts that can be used to fill out a daily entry. The “Food Log” demonstrates an enhanced template, and provides a daily header for tracking what you eat.
by Susan Michael
Free Writing Exercise – Write for 20 minutes (without editing) in any style, using “The Man” or “The Woman” as your starting point.
Poetry Exercise – “This and That”- Write a list of phrases such as “salt and pepper”, “cats and dogs”, “love and war”. Write a poem with the first stanza about the first word and the second stanza about the second word.
Prose Exercise – Set yourself a word limit. This can be used as a daily writing exercise. First, test yourself to see how many words you can write before you start to feel “stretched.” This is your comfort zone. Write in your comfort zone each day for a week or two. Then experiment by increasing your word limits incrementally. Conversely, play with creating “short short stories” where you confine your writing to fewer words (e.g., 50 – 100). As an example, write 125 words using, “I noticed you…”, as your starter.
Journaling Exercise – Is there something you are reluctant to say to someone? Pretend that you are telling a third party and summarize what you would like to say. Continue the exercise by considering what would happen if you actually told the person involved. How would you feel afterward?
Memoir Prompt – Write about a childhood family tradition. Write about your current traditions and the thoughts that you want to convey through them.
About the author: Susan Michael has facilitated several writing groups, and has lead writing & creativity workshops for the Arts & Humanities Council in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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.
by Toni McConnel
I make my living doing technical writing, often ghostwriting articles on electronics for companies wanting to submit them to electronics magazines.
When I do one of these articles I have a number of different files that I work with. One or two will be transcripts of my interviews with the “authors”. Then there will be several that are background material my client supplies me with: white papers and press releases, mostly. Then there will be web pages I’ve saved that are other articles on the topic I’m writing about.
The reason I started using The Journal (a separate journal for each writing project) is that when I am looking at first one file and then another, it’s easier to go from tab to tab than to go from window to window in MS Word.
When a project is completed and ready to send to client, each category goes back to a Word file because my clients use the Word “Track Changes” feature for editing and reviewing, and other features of Word we don’t have in The Journal. I have a little trouble remembering how to import and export the files from Journal to Word and Word to Journal, but it’s been a mainly good solution.
For keeping records of things like the names of projects, clients, deadlines, etc., I prefer a more conventional database structure such as Microsoft Outlook.
I use The Journal for my personal journal too, and the categories/tabs change from time to time. I have one for “Daily” in which I record events of the day and what I have accomplished (like everyone, I sometimes have to remind myself), another for health info (struggling with some chronic problems and am always looking things up that I want to remember), finances, monthly summaries, just about anything I want to keep notes on.
I do have one for a novel I’m working on in The Journal. I use a separate journal, with a category for each chapter. Also, there are categories to keep notes for each character, one for just general “notes”, others for things like “structure” and so on. As with technical writing, I find it easier to go from tab to tab than from window to window.
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.