The Journal Newsletter – May 2004

The Journal Newsletter

May 2004
Volume 4 Issue 5


Welcome to The Journal Newsletter!

In addition to new writing exercises from Susan, and a new tip for using The Journal (assigning hot-keys for text styles), we have a short article describing a quick-and-easy journaling technique.

Thank you for supporting DavidRM Software’s The Journal!

Tips & Tricks

TIP: Assigning Hot-Keys to Styles

To make The Journal’s text styles even easier to use, the most recent update of The Journal (Build #45, Release 10 April, 2003) added a new style option. You can now assign hot-keys (AKA “keyboard shortcuts”) to text styles. When you press the hot-key, the associated text style is applied to the text you have selected in your entry. This can be much simpler than selecting the style from the list on the toolbar with your mouse.

There are 10 hot-keys available to be used for text styles: Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, and so on, up to Ctrl+0

Each hot-key can be assigned to only one text style, but you can assign any available hot-key to any style that you have defined.

To assign a hot-key to a text style:

1. Click on the Format menu, choosing “Styles…”

2. Select the style from the list, and click on “Edit”.

3. On the “Character” tab, choose the hot-key you want from the “Hot-Key” list. Use the “” choice to remove a hot-key from a style.

4. Click on “OK” to save your changes to that style. And then click on “Done”.

If a text style has a hot-key, it is displayed in the list, just after the name of the text style.

Writing Prompts

by Susan Michael

Free Writing Exercise – Write for 20 minutes (without editing) in any style using this as your starter: “In the event of an emergency…” Consider writing with humor.

Poetry Exercise – Write a poem about the “ultimate” poem, or what a poem “should” do.

Prose Exercise – Write a story about a person who has an obsession with shoes and claims he can predict a person’s future by the shoes they wear.

Journaling Exercise – Write about yourself as a friend, parent, child or other relationship role, focusing only on your positive qualities.

Memoir Prompt – Write about a person that you love.

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


Do I Already Know the Answer to this Question?

by David Michael

In the past year, I’ve discovered a simple way to use journaling to help me solve personal, professional, and spiritual problems. It boils down to this simple question: “Do I already know the answer to this?”

For example, I may be trying to figure out why my wife is upset at me. There I was, innocently reading a book on the sofa, and *Boom!* We have a problem. Seemingly out of nowhere. Later, after the weapons of spouse warfare have been laid aside and peace restored, I fire up The Journal and ask myself, “Is there really a mystery here? Or do I already know the answer to this question?” Often I find myself listing out what I knew all along and simply hadn’t heeded or acted on. Of course, this exercise only works if I’m honest with myself, and jot down everything I know that I know about the current situation.

I’ve used this simple question, “Do I already know the answer to this?” in numerous situations. Here are a few other examples:

  • Why aren’t I happier?
  • How can I be a better husband?
  • How can I be a better parent?
  • How can I do a better job?
  • How can I improve sales?
  • How do I end this scene/chapter/novel?

When I find myself stumped (or when I notice that I’m stumped), I stop and reflect. Am I really stumped? Do I really not know the answer? Or am I just avoiding admitting what I already know? Sometimes I really *don’t* know, but then I at least have acknowledged my ignorance and can work to solve that.

How does this exercise work? I’m no psychologist, but I’ve been a human being all my life, and as a group we all tend to *know* better than we *do*. Whether out of habit, laziness, or whatever, we prefer to do what we’ve always done, even when we know there’s a better way to go about it.

By sitting down with your journal, though, and writing down (or typing out) what you know that you know about a given situation or problem, and what you know you don’t know, you may be surprised. You may find that you already know the answer you’ve been desperately seeking.

So, next time you find you’re facing a question or problem, and you’re not sure how to solve it, sit down and ask yourself, “Do I already know the answer to this question?”

Make your possible answers as detailed as you can. And don’t just list the answers that favor you being right, or helpless. Branch out into new territory. Explore all possibilities.

Give yourself at least 10 uninterrupted minutes to answer. You may want to take longer, of course. Even if you don’t find an explicit answer, you will better understand yourself and your situation.

Maybe you already know the answer to the question or problem that has been plaguing you. Take the time to ask yourself. You might be surprised what you can tell you.

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 — 8:44 pm