Software I can’t live without – The Journal


I write in a journal almost every single day.  Sometimes it’s about nothing in particular – just random thoughts, or ideas, or lines for a poem I may work on later.  My journal is full of me — happy, sad, angry, hurt, grieving, excited, in love, in hate.. it’s all me.

I use various tools when I write – plain notebooks such as the type for school; composition notebooks; the hardbound-lined journals (such as the type you can find at a Borders); leather journals like the ones there above, (that top one is almost an exact match to one I am currently using).  But.. for the most part, all of my journaling is done on a computer.

The Journal

When I first started to journal using a computer, I used notepad — not a fancy way, but just something to write my thoughts down with.  But I wanted something better, and something that I could really use, and not have a bunch of documents in some directory.  And, I wanted some privacy – these were my own thoughts and I didn’t feel I needed to share them with anyone who might use my computer.  So I started testing out different freeware & shareware apps to see what would best suit me.

My own needs for a journal were few, at the time.

  • Be able to lock it, and password protect it
  • Be able to create a document by day/month, but also just random documents, preferably with some sort of categorization

And in 1997, that wasn’t readily available – and what was available was lacking a lot.   I kept writing in my paper journals as well as using notepad until I stumbled across ‘The Journal’, in 1998 and if you could have a love affair with a piece of software, this was it for me (and still is, to this day).


The Journal started out pretty simply, but has, over the years, become everything from a daily diary, a daily journal, a place where I keep most of my poetry (some was lost when a hd died – those notepad files), reminders, calendar things, etc. etc.  But it also houses ideas, to-do lists, concepts I want to work on, snippits of code, software testing notes, serial numbers, phone numbers, work information, photos, collages, tax information.. you name it, I swear it can be put here, nicely locked away with a pretty decent level of security and encryption.  (Screen shots here)

You can begin right away, after install, as the ‘daily‘ entry and a ‘notebook‘ sections are nicely set up.  The ‘daily’ entry is just that — you open the journal, and a blank sheet is ready for that days’ entry.  You can look back, or forward via the calendar, as well as create old posts, and future posts. You can have multiple daily tabs, for such things as a daily journal, a diet journal, a wedding journal, a gratitude journal, and on and on.  Different backgrounds, fonts, and images can create individualtiy between all the daily journals, making it fun to write in.

From the web site:  “The Notebook category is a loose-leaf category. Unlike the Daily Journal category, the Notebook category entries are not tied to dates. Instead, the entries are named.”  For me, the notebook feature is for topics such as “Poetry” or “To Do List”, thematic writings, etc.  You can create tons of ‘notebooks’ each with their own individual characteristics, with sub categories, and more.

I’ve created virtual ‘collages’ within The Journal, as well as written stories, terrible prose, horrific (and pretty decent) poetry, lists weird lists of weird thoughts… nothing is secret from myself within the safety of this journal.

I have now 10+ years of my journal, thoughts, writings, poems and my life within The Journal — and it really is something I couldn’t live without.

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