NOTE: All images in this post are from my personal journals.
I’d always intended to do this post, because this is the question that always comes up when I talk about journaling. It’s the same sort of debate as e-books versus paper books. A comment from a reader on the previous post bumped this up the schedule, and I decided to do this post straight away.
Hm… I actually use my computer for my journaling. My computer it a literal bio-electric extension of my body. I can type 500 times faster than I can write. Is it bad that I don’t use paper and pencil, or is personal preference the important thing?
I gave him a short answer in the comment, but now I’m going to go into detail and explain my position on this.
First, let’s begin with rules. There is only one rule in journaling. You can tell what’s coming, right?
Yup! The rule is: There are no rules.
Journaling is a personal process. It’s an extension of our personality, and our lives. It’s a tool for our growth, and so each of our journals are as unique as us. Even if you and I sat down together, followed exactly the same prompts or guidelines for a week, wrote about the same topic, and followed the same format, our journals would still be different. That’s why I never tell anyone what their journaling should be like. It has to be whatever you want it to be.
But saying that, I’m here to share my experience and knowledge, and also to give my opinions. (Hey, it’s no fun being neutral)
It’s definitely on the rise. People who avoided journaling before for various reasons – such as bad hand-writing, too slow, didn’t want to carry a journal around – started trying journaling apps, or even just keeping it in MS Word or equivalent.
Now, with mobile phones and tablets being mainstream, and majority of us having one tool or another on the go, e-journaling has become even easier.
Another key consideration is that for a lot of people, myself included, typing is a lot faster than writing by hand. If you have bad hand-writing, e-journaling is tidier. Less chances of spelling mistakes too, especially if you are a perfectionist.
I definitely can see its advantages, and one of the biggest ones is convenience. Logically, e-journaling is a very useful way to do it in this day and age.
Logically….but if we only followed logic, we would miss out on so many things.
All my journals are hand-written. I’ve tried e-journaling, but it doesn’t work for me. This is the method I strongly advocate, and for several reasons.
The physical journal.
For me, selecting a journal I like is an emotional experience. I know that whatever I write in it is going to be important to me. These are the things I dwell on. That’s why what I mentioned about quality in the previous post is important. These days, it’s not so much selecting, as purchasing. I have tried many journals, and I still have some brand new ones that I haven’t used because they are too pretty, and I’ve got particular milestones for them. Plain moleskine is my favourite. I also like Paperblanks, as a chance from moleskine.
The act of writing.
This is where the goldmine is. I actually believe that the process of writing by hand makes a difference. It’s slower than you can type, but that means that you are connecting more with your words. I personally find that if I write something down by hand, it makes a far stronger impression on me. Of course this could be just a personality thing, but I’ve always found things easier to remember, understand or assimilate if I wrote them down.
I feel there is something special about seeing your thoughts in your own writing. It’s another way of personalising your journals. It makes them even more uniquely yours. There is the smell and feel and texture associated with each journal. Your handwriting also shows evidence of your mood, and your state of mind. Usually, my writing is neat. But sometimes, I’m either too upset, or in such a rush to get words out that it’s a mess. Sometimes, I feel like using different coloured pens, and sometimes, an entire journal is in same black ink. Sometimes, I put stickers or drawings or little memorabilia in my journals. Sometimes, I’ve post-it index sticking out of pages.
All of these, puts a stamp of my personality on it, which I don’t think e-journaling can achieve.
I’m totally a gadget girl. I love computers, and I have more than what one normal being should want or need. I love my Blackberry. I like finding nifty apps. And if I don’t talk myself out of buying a tablet, that’s going to be the next thing. The lure of gadgets…it’s stronger than buying clothes. So when I tell you that it’s not technophobia that’s keeping me from e-journaling, you can believe it’s the truth.
It comes back to what I have said before. Journaling, for me, is not just about recording my day-to-day life, or about achieving one thing. Journaling is a part of who I am and a part of my life, and so I want my journals to reflect that.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
If you haven’t tried hand-written journaling or if you haven’t tried it for a long time, give it a go. Just try it for a week. See if it achieves more result for you. You can always return to e-journaling.