Why I turned to digital journaling

Journaling remains a major force in my life. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t write a journal entry.  I find the time to write down at leastMadeline-Sharples-312x250 no matter where I am.

M. Shannon Hernandez recently posted my thoughts on digital journaling at her The Writing Whisperer blog. I feel so honored to be her guest poster. Here’s

Why I Turned to Digital Journaling 

Writing for Healing

I turned to journaling regularly in 1993 just after my son Paul was diagnosed bipolar, and I continued on after his suicide death in 1999. Journaling became my therapy. Keeping my fingers moving across the page was both an obsession and a healing balm. It gave me a way to organize my fears, pain, and thoughts. As a result I have become a huge proponent of journaling as a way to heal. I still journal every day.

At first I wrote in notebooks the finer the better. I especially love the ones I bought in France and later found at Banner Stationer’s in El Segundo California Clairefontaine. The pages are very thick and slick and don’t show through to the backside when written on in ink. Also the covers are in beautiful jewel-tones. I always felt like I wrote in a very special place when I wrote in those notebooks.

Lost Memories

However, a few years ago after being so careful to clutch my notebooks close to my chest any time I was out and about I left one in the seat pocket in front of me while on a flight home. And personally going to the airline’s lost and found didn’t get the notebook back. Now I use my notebooks for taking workshop notes. I write my journal entries on my computer.

The Decision to Go Digital

When I look back at that decision to write my journal entries digitally, I realized that digital journaling would have made writing my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, so much easier. My hand-written journal entries were source material for my memoir, and as such, I had to painstakingly read through my notebooks, underline appropriate entries, and then type them into computer book files one word at a time. This task took months. By the way, journaling is a good way to kick start any kind of writing piece.

Even the physical act of writing is helpful. When I used a pen I wrote until my hand cramped. Now when I type, I sometimes pound my fingers on my computer’s keyboard. That really works to heal some kind of stress. Also when I wrote by hand I found that I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. Now when I write on the computer I sometimes type 500 to 750 words in a matter of minutes. I just tap away with no stopping for editing. It’s total stream of consciousness. My fingers just seem to fly in time with what I have on my mind.

Private Entries

Keeping our precious and secret journals private is also easier when journaling digitally. The computer gives me the ability to have complete privacy the key to honest and open journaling. I keep my journal entries in a password-protected locked document file, which seems so much safer than the risk of losing a journal notebook someplace where anyone can get their hands and eyes on it.  But no matter how we journal either digitally or by hand I recommend everyone try it and learn the power that can be gained from journaling.

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