The Journal Newsletter – April 2008

The Journal Newsletter

April 2008


April Fools Day came a few day early for me this year. Less than 6 hours after I sent out last month’s newsletter, with its article about the need for backups–the hard drive of my primary computer (a usually pleasant-tempered little Dell laptop I bought in 2005) suffered a catastrophic failure.

Talk about bizarre karma. And, yes, irony. 🙂

So let my stressful weekend be an object lesson for you: do regular backups. Not just of The Journal, but of all the important data on your computer.

This month’s tip is about The Journal’s built-in stopwatch and countdown timers.

Thank you for using DavidRM Software’s The Journal!

Tips & Tricks

TIP: Using The Journal’s Stopwatch and Countdown Timers

The Journal includes 2 built-in timers: a stopwatch timer (which counts up from 0:00) and a countdown timer (which counts down to 0:00). These timers can be used for just about anything, including simple reminders. The countdown timer includes an audible sound effect to let you know that it has finished.

Uses for the stopwatch timer:

  • Track how long you work on a particular project.
  • See how long you can hold your breath while typing at 50 wpm.

Uses for the countdown timer:

  • Many writing and journaling exercises want you to “just write” for a set period of time, like 10 minutes.
  • For your current writing project, you might want to write for an hour every day.
  • You can set a quick reminder (about the tea brewing in the kitchen, for example) to pop up in 5 minutes.

You can set the countdown timer to any time from 1 second to many hours. You just type in the duration you want, and hit ENTER. When the timer reaches 00:00:00, a sound is played to alert you. This sound plays even if The Journal is currently not visible or is minimized.

While either timer is counting down, you can insert the current timer value into your entry by clicking on the Insert menu and choosing Insert Timer Count (hot-key: Ctrl+Shift+i). And both timers can be paused and restarted.

NOTE: When you use the stopwatch, the countdown timer is disabled, and vice versa. You cannot use both the countdown timer and the stopwatch at the same time.

Setting durations for the countdown timer:

  • mm – Will set the timer for “mm” minutes.
  • :ss – Will set the timer for “ss” seconds.
  • mm:ss – Will set the timer for “mm” minutes and “ss” seconds.
  • hh:mm:ss – Will set the timer for “hh” hours and “mm” minutes and “ss” seconds.

Duration examples:

  • 15 – will set the timer for 15 minutes (same as 15:00).
  • :30 – will set the timer for 30 seconds.
  • 9:59 – will set the timer for 9 minutes and 59 seconds.
  • 23:59:59 – will set the timer for 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds.

Setting the countdown timer sound effect:

  1. Click on the User menu and choose “User Preferences…”
  2. On the “General” tab, you will see the option: “Countdown Timer Completed Sound”

Any sound file on your computer can be used as the alarm.

Keyboard shortcuts (hot-keys) for the timers:

Ctrl+Alt+i – Show/hide the timers
Ctrl+Shift+i – insert the current timer value at the cursor

Writing Prompts

Free Writing Prompt – Write for 20 minutes using the following as your starter: “Pest Control…”

Journaling Prompt – Write about how you expose yourself to outside ideas, interests and viewpoints. Or write about how you protect yourself from the same.

Memoir Prompt – Describe the types (and quantity) of souvenirs have you collected throughout your life. From vacations, trips, jobs, relationships, anything. Which souvenirs do you still have?

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 20, 2015 — 8:01 pm