7 Ways to Keep a Personal Journal

Aaron Couch 02-02-2013

how to keep a journalJournaling is an exercise for the mind and it has several proven benefits, but it can also seem difficult to do. This is primarily due to the overwhelming feeling of having to journal – it shouldn’t be like that. Instead, it should be something you look forward to doing every day. It should be a task that inspires you for the day ahead and/or relieves you of the day you have just had.


Also, there’s no precise form to journaling – you should structure it how you want and to your own lifestyle. Perhaps you want to start the day off with it or maybe end the day with it or even both! How you organize your journal can vary too. The most important thing about journaling is to actually journal and be consistent if you’re going to do it. The methods of journaling that we’ll cover in this article will allow you to do all of these things.

Use A Word Processor Or Notepad Application

Let’s start simple. One of the easiest ways to start journaling now is with something you already have and we all have a word processor or notepad application.

Your local options

how to keep a journal

To specify, I’m referring to the local applications on your computer and not web apps . When you think “word processor,” I can almost guarantee that Microsoft Word comes to mind, but there are several alternatives which are simpler and even free. Some free alternatives include LibreOffice (which we’ve also reviewed individually LibreOffice - A Free Office Suite For Windows, Linux & Mac Read More ), OpenOffice, FreeOffice and Kingsoft Office Suite Free. To read more about them, take a look at the article 9 Of The Best Free & Low-Cost Alternatives To Microsoft Office The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives Microsoft Office is the king of office suites, but that doesn't mean it's the right one for you. Here are some other office suites you might like better! Read More .

keep a journal


Notepad applications are also an excellent way to journal. Although very simplistic, when staring at a blank screen with no other distractions, you already feel compelled to write. You can use the default program that came with your system or check out any of the notepad alternatives we’ve written about.

For either of these, the idea would be that you use one file per day (or week or month). But be sure to keep them organized in some fashion. For more info on organization, see –  Creating Order From Chaos- 9 Great Ideas For Managing Your Computer Files 9 Key Tips for Managing and Organizing Your Computer Files There's no perfect way when it comes to computer file management, but these tips will help you create order from chaos. Read More . For an added benefit, sync your journal entries with a program like Dropbox or SugarSync SugarSync: The Most Well-Rounded Free File Backup & Syncing Service File backup is not a new conversation or topic by any means. If you search Google for “file backup” you will likely be overwhelmed by services and articles on the topic. It is a vast... Read More so you can access and edit them from anywhere, even if you don’t have your computer with you How To Be Completely Portable Without Your Own Computer Or Smartphone This day and age it’s pretty uncommon to not see someone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop in a public place like a library. We’ve become quite reliant on them, wouldn’t you say? So reliant,... Read More .

Your options online

keep a journal

There are a lot of web apps for journaling (we’ll explore those more in a bit), but this is specifically concerning online office suites. We know most of them already: Google Docs, Microsoft Web Apps, Zoho Office, etc. The purpose that these would have over your local options would be that it’s all online, so you can journal anywhere. Also, it’s about what works for you – if the web, specifically a certain service like Google Docs, is the primary place where you do most of your work, then that should be where you journal too. This is because you want to make it as easy to do it as possible.


Just before the “online office suites” section started it was mentioned that a workaround for accessing your local files was to use a cloud synchronization program. Google Docs and Microsoft Web Apps both have local programs that provide a similar effect: Google Drive and SkyDrive.

Organize Your Journal Entries With A Note App

The problem with word processors and notepad applications is that your journal entries (files) aren’t organized in the sense that the said program provides easy access to them via its interface. Instead, you have to navigate away from your “journal page” to look in a folder for previous entries that you’ve logged. This is where note applications, like Evernote or OneNote 10 Awesome OneNote Tips You Should Be Using All the Time Microsoft OneNote is just as good as Evernote. OneNote is the digital equivalent of a binder, giving you more organizational control. We show you effective note-taking tweaks you'll love. Read More , come in handy. Both come in local applications, although Evernote is also known very well for its cloud-syncing and mobile capabilities. You should know, however, that OneNote also syncs to the cloud How SkyDrive And OneNote Web App Can Help Your Online Research I was really excited to learn was that SkyDrive provides you with a free OneNote web app that you can use to do just about everything you do with your desktop OneNote application. When it... Read More through SkyDrive and has both a web and mobile apps as well.

keep a journal

However, Evernote and OneNote aren’t the only ones in this category. So if you’re looking at all your options look at the alternatives, specifically Evernote’s Ditching Evernote? Check Out 5 Free Web Clipping Alternatives Read More . Also, if you’re interested in a visual note app for your journaling, Springpad is an excellent option Springpad vs Evernote: Why Visual Orientation Matters in an Online Notebook It's easy to understand why there are tons of online and software notebooks out there to choose from: mainly because there is so much information to manage, bookmark, and share in our online and mobile... Read More .


Set Up A Private Blog

why keep a journal

When we think “blogging,” we often think of something public, where the world can see everything about us – at least everything that we tell it about us. But blogs can also be made private. Often at times you can set it up with a password that any visitors must enter to be able to access what you’ve posted. But if you don’t want to share anything with anyone, that is fine too. In fact, that’s why it makes such a great method for journaling.

The blogging platforms which I feel are the best for this are WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous, Blogger and Livescribe. If you already have a blog or website using one of these platforms, then just create another private blog on that same platform so you can have it all in one place.

Create A Private Twitter Account

why keep a journal


Usually, I wouldn’t recommend using social networking to journal. For those of you who’ve read other articles which cover any realm of social media might find the following phrase familiar:

Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t shout into a megaphone on a crowded street corner.

And perhaps for that reason, online journaling shouldn’t be done. However, that advice is mostly for people who share too much and contribute to our social media annoyances How To Drive All Your Facebook Friends & Twitter Followers Crazy Have you ever wanted to drive everyone crazy on your social networks? For a long time this has been a goal of mine that I have aspired for. It takes a lot of hard work,... Read More .

All of that aside, Twitter is a great way to privately journal online. You obviously can only share entries of 140 characters, so it isn’t for everyone and it depends on your journaling style.

For more info on this, read the Twitter page about public and protected tweets and check out the MakeUseOf article 5 Ways To Use Twitter As An Online Private Diary 5 Ways To Use Twitter As An Online Private Diary Read More .

Use A Web Service Specifically For Journaling

why keep a journal

There are several services out there that are great for journaling. What makes them so great is they cater to that precise use. There is something about using something that is only for that. It helps you separate everything else from that task, in this case journaling. We’ve shared about some ways to quickly and simply journal online 5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals Read More . However, that article certainly doesn’t cover them all. Below is a list of three excellent services to try, along with a link to their MakeUseOf article:

In addition to those, there is one more service that isn’t technically a journal-specific service, but it can definitely be used for it (and I this is the closest category it falls into, to be honest). This service is iDoneThis, which is a tool to log your productivity and track your progress 12 Productive Ideas for a Shared Google Calendar Google Calendar is a phenomenal productivity tool. These 12 ideas should give you some inspiration to start thinking creatively when it comes to Google Calendar. Read More . However, don’t let that scare you away. If you just want something to type out what you did while you reflect on your day, this is an excellent tool for that.

7 Ways to Keep a Personal Journal iDoneThis

Having Trouble Focusing? Try A Distraction-Free Writing App

7 Ways to Keep a Personal Journal Distracted Young Boy At Computer

If you’ve been in the boat where you seem to always struggle with getting distracted whenever you sit down to journal, perhaps you should consider a tool that is aimed at a distraction-free writing experience. We’ve covered several of these tools already in articles like Write In Peace With These Distraction-Free Editors Write In Peace With These Distraction-Free Editors I have felt it. Visual clutter – thanks to menus and other markup features – have often cemented my writer’s block. So, I have tried out quite a few distraction-free text editors in a grand... Read More where Saikat covered excellent tools like Q10, Ommwriter Meet Your Writing Deadlines In A Distraction-Free Writing Environment With OmmWriter OmmWriter is a writing application for Windows, Mac, and the iPad. It is based on the philosophy that in order to concentrate and be creative, we need a calm and largely distraction-free surrounding. Unfortunately, our... Read More , WriteMonkey WriteMonkey - A Simple Text Editor For The Easily Distracted Read More and FocusWriter Reduce Distractions and Achieve Writing Goals with FocusWriter Read More , as well as others.

7 Ways to Keep a Personal Journal Ommwriter

If you prefer an online option, there are many to choose from, such as:

Lastly, another excellent distraction-free online tool is Writer, which I mentioned in the article 5 Web-Based Tools For Any Browser That Every Writer Should Use 5 Web-Based Tools for Any Browser That Every Writer Should Use As writers, there are a lot of tools at our disposal. And since I’m also interested in technology, I’m constantly finding applications and techniques that are helpful. I wanted to keep it simple by providing... Read More .

For more help on overcoming the distractions when writing, I’d like to refer you to following articles:

7 Ways to Keep a Personal Journal Happy Playful Students At Home And Smiling

Also, get away from people while writing and journaling. Nothing ever gets done whenever a pillow fight is on.

Last, But NEVER Least: Pen And Paper

7 Ways to Keep a Personal Journal Notepad With Pen

As much as society is pushing everything to go paperless, there is still a need for pen and paper occasionally. And journaling is a prime example of that. In the previous section we talked about distraction-free writing. Well… you can’t get more distraction-free than away from a computer altogether – in a quiet, cozy and dimly lit little corner somewhere. As much as we’d like to argue that technology has more benefits than not, one thing that is a fact is that it can be very distracting. And in this day and age we are reliant on it, which might not be a good thing if it is a weakness for you.

Nonetheless, if you need a break from the overwhelming number of bright-screened devices that you have, journaling with a pen and paper just might suffice and fill that gap.


how to keep a journal

Journaling isn’t an easy task and I don’t want to make it out to be so. It requires purpose to consistently write every day. You might (or might not) be thinking “This guy sounds like an avid journaler.” But I’ll be honest, I’m not as consistent as I should be. So if you’re that type of person who’s had trouble – I can relate.

If you are an avid journaler, what method (or methods?) do you prefer? Have you found one is exceptionally better over the others? And if you aren’t an avid journaler, what do you feel would help you become one? Share your thoughts below!

For more info about journaling, be sure to check out the following MakeUseOf articles:

Image Credits: Wooden Tablet Notebook With Pages via Shutterstock, Notepad With Pen via Shutterstock, Notebook, Pen And Tablet via Shutterstock, Distracted Young Boy At Computer via Shutterstock, Happy Playful Students At Home And Smiling via Shutterstock

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  1. Jack
    October 12, 2017 at 10:19 am

  2. Elliott J.
    January 20, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    This is my personal reason why I would never have an online journal. Above all else, the feeling of insecurity, etc...this is my #1 reason:

    OhLife has shut down as of October 19, 2014.

    We started OhLife to help people remember what's happened in their life. But since then we weren't able to grow our user base or make OhLife financially stable. Because of both these reasons we decided to shut OhLife down. We appreciate everyone that's used OhLife and supported us.

    We're extremely sorry for shutting the site down.

  3. Gerhard Tinned
    February 13, 2013 at 11:13 am

    What about MacJournal ... better then a Notepad Application!!

  4. Guy McDowell
    February 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    This Aaron Couch kid is going to make waves. Just watch. He writes more thoughtfully than writers twice his age. Very fluid learner as well.

    Keep it up Aaron. Good job.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Ha! Guy, you just made my day! Thank you for that! I like your work a lot too, just so you know.

  5. Peri Allen
    February 6, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Love this information i am really into journal and this helps a lot now I have other ways to journal till my hearts content.

  6. Ross
    February 6, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Here is one that has been around since 1996. Not a freeby but feature rich:

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm


      Thanks for this suggestion. It is unfortunate that it's not free, but I really like the idea of providing discounts for all sorts of people. I was pretty surprised to see a few of them on there. So it's actually quite intriguing from that standpoint.

      Thanks for reading.

  7. Ken Harthun
    February 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I have kept journals and diaries in various forms for years since the early 1980's (Yes, I'm an old Geek). Your article was a good one and had some good suggestions, but I would NEVER consider keeping an electronic journal. I have always, and will continue as long as I am alive, kept my journals in bound books, using my own handwriting and my my 30+ year old Cross brand fountain pen as the writing instrument.

    Consider this: an electronic journal can be hacked and altered, regardless of its form, unless it is encrypted and digitally signed; and, the author can be lax in sequencing and file naming, etc. I guess you could forge my handwriting and add pages in a brand new journal, but my bound book has a definite sequence and you would have a hard time duplicating my handwriting exactly.

    In my opinion, the best way to keep a journal is to write it in your own hand. And if your handwriting isn't legible, well, mine wasn't at one time either, so I fixed that problem.

    One of my greatest joys is writing in my journals and desk diaries using my favorite pens. I suggest you discover the joy of penmanship, too.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm


      Excellent comment and thank you for your insight on this! I think you're an inspiration to many journalers out there and I hope that some have/will become inspired by you.

      I would have to agree that the best way to journal IS with a pen and paper... specifically the way you do with bound notebooks and a Cross fountain pen :P

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts!

      • Ken Harthun
        February 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm


        Thank you for your reply, and I do hope that some journalers get inspiration from my comments. I fear that handwriting is going away (at least cursive longhand) in this digital society. It is my sincere hope that the new digirati (invented word) at least preserve digital versions of calligraphic art. Still, nothing can replace a beautiful, manually produced cursive.

        And FWIW, any pen, pencil, charcoal stick, crayon, whatever is perfect for journaling as long as you love writing with it.


  8. Rj
    February 5, 2013 at 7:27 am

  9. Ms Hanson
    February 5, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Libre Office is so awesome that when I swapped the old one for a new SSD hard drive, I didn't bother to reinstall MS Office. I'm 6 months in, and couldn't be happier. 5 Stars, 2 Thumbs Up.

  10. Ron Ruth
    February 5, 2013 at 12:53 am

    For local use suggest iDailyDiary - free.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm


      Thanks for the suggestion! iDailyDiary seems like an excellent tool as well.

      Thanks for reading!

  11. Tom
    February 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    no mention of encryption??

  12. Lynne
    February 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    750words works great for me. It's got a great distraction-free interface, cool metadata, can easily be saved and searched.

  13. Joann
    February 4, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Evernote for me. One note per day, in a folder only for my journal. One huge plus is that you can include other sorts of file types, such as a photograph or two, a video or audio recording, or a scan of some memorabilia.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Sounds like a great system, Joann! Thanks for sharing!

  14. aggie
    February 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I have been using Notability on my ipad and I love it because it lets you organize your journal entries but even better, you can also handwrite your entries. I use the Jot and it's wonderful. Smooth even writing, drawing if you like... just LOVE IT!

  15. CB
    February 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Interesting article. You left out the best though. Quicknote

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm


      Thanks for the suggestion! Quicknote does seem a tad bit dated, but that doesn't mean it lacks features or usability. I also noticed that the website does seem updated as there was a "Copyright 2012" at the bottom, so that's a good sign that Quicknote is still being developed, which was what my worry was.

      Hopefully some will benefit from your suggestion.

      Thanks for reading!

  16. Rubis Song
    February 4, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Thank you for this article Aaron. I have always used a pen and a paper to write down my journal and only recently switched to a tablet since i bought my blackberry playbook. I have received good advices from you.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm


      I'm glad it helped! How do you like the transition between pen and paper and tablet so far? Any challenges which you've encountered?

      Thanks for reading!

  17. Russ Knopp
    February 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Evernote has an iPad app (Evernote Journal) that makes journaling fun and easy for iPad users. Entries are saved in Evernote as user chooses periodically or at the end of the day. Great way to journal!

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm


      I agree. I wish I had an iPad so that I could have covered that more in this article. Thanks for your input though. I sure hope that iPad owners who are interested in journaling do take a look at Evernote Journal.

      Thanks for reading and for your input!

  18. Kylee Kanavas
    February 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Maybe i should start doing this.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Maaaayyybe you should ;)

  19. Jeannine Berube
    February 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I've been a "traditional" journal writer for years (pen and paper/book). Any suggestions where to actually start on techno journal writing? I'm distracted (LOL) by all of the options! I'm thinking of portability because some of my best thoughts happen when away from the computer...

    • Aaron Couch
      February 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm


      I know exactly what you mean. Do you use Evernote? That is a great option because even if you don't have a smartphone you can use it.

      There is a personal email that you get when you create an account. Simply add that into your phone's contacts and whenever you get an idea, send a text to that email (no Internet required).

      Let me know if this helps. Thanks for your comment!

      • Jeannine
        February 4, 2013 at 1:46 am

        Thanks Aaron, for the tip.
        No, I've not used Evernote before. I've thought of it, but something always seemed to stop me. So, I actually went journal searching on the app store and found one called myPath. It was unique, in that I can write, take pictures, create audio files, pinpoint my location and even import photos, all PRIVATELY (only drawback is must have wifi). It's kind of fun, and different than just the more traditional writing.
        I will give Evernote another look though. And thanks for the reply. In the meantime, try myPath and let me know what you think.... :o)

    • Vampie C.
      February 4, 2013 at 8:16 am

      Hi Jeannine,

      I found good info on this site:

      Just look around, there are articles for Android and for iOS.

      I 've personally use but switched to recently.
      It syncs with dropbox. :-)

      GL on the search.

  20. Randy Menard
    February 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Started years ago with Franklin Planner. Finally have switched to Google Calendar.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm


      You use Google Calendar for journaling? I'm just curious, how do you use it in that way? Thanks for the comment!

      • Randy Menard
        February 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm

        I use the description box in events for details on that particular event. I use the note portion of a task for details there. If something is special or of significance, I add an additional event to record details.

        Hope this helps.

  21. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    February 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I've always wanted to keep daily journal to record my thoughts, but so far I can't keep it more than a week due to lack of motivation. It's like the words are clear in my mind but once I face the blank page, I'm struggling to force them out.
    I think pen and paper suits me the best. I do all my writings digitally except for this, although now I'm considering services like OhLife and Penzu that can remind you to write via email. There's a distinct sensation of seeing handwritten notes and smelling the ink-tangible testament of your memories.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 3, 2013 at 2:39 pm


      That's what it is all about. I struggle with this too, so I'm not a hypocrite, but instead an experienced procrastinator.

      I think you're on the right track with talking to others who journal, like Caroline. But another tip to help you with your "blank page anxiety" is to not think about ALL that you have to write.

      Instead, aim for writing ONE SENTENCE a day. That's all. If you feel compelled to write more, but don't pressure yourself.

      Also, I stare at blank pages every day when writing for MakeUseOf. It's a tough battle sometimes to think of an intriguing way to write an introduction because you want it to be engaging and catch the reader's eye. With journaling though, YOU are the only person who is going to be reading them (which is fun to do and perhaps you could use that as a little motivation). You don't have to worry about what others will think. So, just start! Start writing. The great thing about modern day is we don't use ink and a feather or even a typewriter. We have pencils with erasers and keyboards with delete buttons, so there's always changes you can make after writing the first draft.

      One last tip, don't edit what you're going to write BEFORE you write it. This can really kill creativity. Instead, follow my advice about "just starting" and don't think about what it sounds or looks like.

      I hope this helps Lisa! Thanks for your comment!

      • Jeannine Berube
        February 4, 2013 at 1:52 am
      • Jeannine Berube
        February 4, 2013 at 1:58 am

        From my experiences, I've found that once I get a first sentence on a page, the thoughts will begin to flow. The discipline is in the making of time to get started!
        However, I also try to write as if I'm telling a story to a friend rather than just to myself so that details and feelings, thoughts, actions and reactions are clear. Written thoughts become purposeful, succinct, even...deliberate that way.

    • Caroline West
      February 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Firstly, Big Apologies for a major late reply - I had big changes that came up.

      And now in answer to your question. I've gotten myself into a routine. For 'Morning Pages' (750 words) it is kept as a non-edited flow like Aaron was talking about, you just have to start by writing absolutely anything that pops in your mind and not even think about correct spelling and grammar and keep writing, even if the sentence is "I don't know what to write" will funnily enough, bring some new topic up - it really works.

      Also I have bought a few diverse journalling books from the internet that are different in their own way so the boredom doesn't set in. Having them around gives you a kick start from the journalling prompts inside.

      Try as many books and sites to find the one's style that suits you the most. Use Aaron's links. Try 280Daily, and check out Amazon for some jounalling books.

      But you gotta just write! And don't give up if you have missed a day either, I miss day's when I am so busy but I try to not make too much of a big deal out of it (though sometimes I do). and then just pick it up again, It's also practice.

      For me, the motivation is there because I know how beneficial journalling is. That's another thing you could do, is to read articles on the benefits of journalling and they will give you a deeper understanding of its benefits.

      I hope this helps. And again, sorry for the late reply.

  22. Caroline West
    February 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Great article Aaron! I am a major journaller and used many of the types to do so that you mentioned. Finding a free software is not that easy if you want lots of categories so it never ever entered my mind to use free Evernote for that!

    At the moment I use WriteMonkey to do my 750 words in the mornings. I've used too which has a nice writing environment. I like the distraction free editors very much.

    Then for some areas of journalling that I do, I stick to the good old pen and paper. It's nice to have options if you're a keen journaller like myself.

    Using a blogging platform set to private does concern me a little, I don't know why but it does make me feel my journal blog won't be 100% secure. I guess I feel a bit paranoid that the platform may know my private details and somehow my journal will get accidentally made public.

    What I like about offline writers like WriteMonkey and Focus Writer is that you can save an entry to your own PC or delete the whole thing.

    If I was ever to write a personal memoir which would need categories, now that I know, I will use Evernote.

    I want to throw out a question: "How secure do you believe online journalling tools really are"?

    Thanks again for a great Article! :-)

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Online journalling tools are only as secure as your password. If you're a renowned person, for example, and you tell people you use 'site A' to journal, there might be someone trying to hack your account. For we normal civilians, it's safer, but you have to decide the truthworthiness of the service you use. Do they actually delete that journal when I press delete? Or are they trying to farm information from your journal?
      That aside, I should ask you this: how do you motivate yourself to maintain your journals and write your thoughts down regularly?

    • Aaron Couch
      February 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm


      First off thank YOU for sharing your knowledge and experience of journaling in a thorough, well thought-out comment!

      In many ways your question doesn't just concern journaling, but all of these online services that we are using: social networks, cloud storage, etc.

      Right now I'm reading the ebook "lol...OMG! What Every Student Needs to Know About Online Reputation Management, Digital Citizenship and Cyberbullying" ( and in it the author talks about how young the Internet is still, yet we are treating it like it's been around forever.

      Because of this, we are running into problems. Many of us, like yourself, are starting to be concerned about what we put on the Internet.

      So my answer to your question is... I don't really have an idea. I don't think anyone really does. We can speculate and guess the problems which could happen, but the Internet really hasn't been around long enough for us to "figure it out" completely.

      Sure, there are things we can do, like Lisa mentioned, with securing our password, but as you said, can/should we really trust these online journals for keeping our data safe? How do we know if they're going to not use it to sell?

      I guess one thing you can do is read their terms of service thoroughly. I'm not good about doing this and should more. I think far too often we just assume it's safe and they mean no harm. And that's probably true most of the time. But you never know.

      I know that wasn't a DIRECT answer to your question, but I hope it helps somewhat. Great conversation topic!

      • Caroline West
        February 24, 2013 at 9:18 am

        Yeah, I agree with you - just how long will a service be around for. Even some Cloud storage comps longevity worry me.

        Anyone with hacking capabilities could crack your password - even if it's only a 0.01% chance of it happening, and the fact that we mere mortals aren't in the public eye, still raises worries for me about the online site.

        I agree with the author of the book you read; The Internet is still in its infancy and already we are reading news stories of countries pulling the plug on it, The US President having the authority (though denied) to shut it off completely. So if that is going on now, what will happen in 10, 20 years time - 'Food for Thought'!

  23. Mac Witty
    February 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I have used MacJournal for some years - have not seen any reason to change and I'm a bit lazy.

    I think you are right about tools - it is like the answer "the one you have at hand" to question "what is the best camera" - so use something to get you writing every day. No, I do not reach the goal all the year around.

    I think privacy/security also is important when it comes to apps and storing the content on your local disc or in the cloud for backup/syncing. I'm less "worried" of "international hackers" or government agencies than thieves and "Foes". Also think of anything happen to me - do I want my relatives to read it? My answer is no.

    • Caroline West
      February 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      I'm a big worrier of writing my journal that is online or in the cloud for similar reasons that you wrote. I much prefer to use a distraction-free editor which allows me to either save an entry or delete it altogether. Using a blogging platform for instance, does worry me that 'someone' may get their hands on it so writing names, dates, details et cetera is a cause for worry. So I'm with you on that one.

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        February 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        Exactly why I prefer the traditional pen and paper approach. Besides, writing with good pen gives so much pleasure.

        • Macwitty
          February 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

          I do not argue against you but one good thing with using computer, on or off line, is that we have seen more boys/men writing journals.

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          February 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

          You're right. Without having to hide a notebook somewhere and praying no one ever find it, they relax more and focus on writing what's important. It helps to encourage writing culture. Do you keep a journal?

        • Macwitty
          February 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm

          @Lisa Santika Onggrid Coud not reply ON your post below - why I write it here

          But there was also something nice being a girl having a diary with small padlock :) Still have some of mine from my childhood.

          Yes, I keep my journal. I do it in an encrypted folder where I store the documents not be read after me, ie the password is not saved so that relatives can find it.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      You mentioned security. I remember reading that all tweets are automatically archived by Library of Congress. Do they spare private accounts? If not, it's seriously the worst place to journal.

      • Ron Lister
        February 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm

        You are right Lisa. Here is the post from the Library of Congress' own blog.
        All public tweets are archived in the Library of Congress and any one can research any "public" tweet ever posted and ever to be posted since Twitters inception in march 06. Not realy sure if the "private" tweets will be archived or if they will be accessable. Something to think about.

  24. Andrew W
    February 2, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Similar to iDoneThis (which I use), I'd recommend Joe's Goals (which I also use):

    Joe's Goals differs from iDoneThis in that it allows you to set up things you want to do every day as a checklist. Every check can have a log entry associated with it.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Very cool Andrew! I'm going to look into that. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  25. Only Me
    February 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Of course if using notepad, it is one of the fastest methods of data entry. You may also like to consider auto date and time entry if using the text editor. Just pres F5 and it automatically enters it for you saving a little time and helping the flow.

    • Aaron Couch
      February 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Very cool tip! Good to know. I'll have to try that. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Schvenn Meister
    February 2, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Fore a barebones alternative, you can use

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      I'm seriously considering the service. I like how it sounds-replying email is so natural and it feels like writing to your friends. However, it'd be much better if I can export my journal into PDF/EPUB with the exact same layout as the online version. Currently it's just TXT, if I'm not mistaken?
      Of course, they can open a printing service as their business model.

      • Schvenn
        February 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        Yes, plain text.

  27. Schvenn Meister
    February 2, 2013 at 10:40 am
  28. Chanaka Hettige
    February 2, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Or you could use Cozi [] which got a Journal, Calender, To-Do-Lists, Shopping lists and many more!

  29. Tony Karakashian
    February 2, 2013 at 4:23 am

    My own preference is for Evernote simply because of the assortment of ways to get information into it. Using, for example, I ca get all of my Facebook post, 4S checkins, etc all fed into it automatically.

    • Rick
      February 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Evernote might be more complex, but if you're already using it, it makes perfect sense to also use it for journal purposes. Just create a new notebook and call it 'journal.' You can even set it as a local-only notebook if you don't want any of it on the web. Open up Notepad, write your business, and drag and drop if you don't want to use the native editor (that layout is pretty busy).

      By using Evernote this way, you can add more than text (or not) and have your information instantly retrievable with a simple search. Also, Evernote is a rock-solid company. Some of these other upstarts may or may not be around in a few years.

    • Tony Karakashian
      February 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      It's true that if all you're doing is keeping a basic journal, then Evernote might be overkill for you. But, I use it for a lot more than just the journal. To continue on my previous comment, though, I only occasionally used Evernote prior to using it for a journal. The ability to have so many things automatically imported into the journal was the main selling point for me. At the end of each day, I simply go into my staging area (a notebook setup to catch all of the things that are automatically thrown in) and merge the notes together. I add a few words or expand on some things and I'm done.

      Evernote might be more complex, but using it ends up being simpler than using something simpler.

  30. Alex Downs
    February 2, 2013 at 3:49 am

    I love 750words, I'm on a 140 streak as of today. A journal is the beast way to describe it, plus I love the Wall of Awesome and the statistics it gives you.