Having an open communication with yourself will give you fruitful rewards so I highly recommend it.
A wandering thought suddenly crossed my mind as I was preparing myself for work: should I start searching for a 2021 Journal?
Normally, in the beginning of November, I’d start collecting Starbucks stickers for their annual journal, if the journal design was worth the cheapest cup of coffee multiplied by the number of sticker requirement. Should a random, generic bookstore journal prove to serve my purpose–which often does, I just use the journal as a freebie to my coffee, really,–I wouldn’t hesitate picking that up instead.
Since the several reinforcements of quarantine in my city, I have only visited Starbucks twice so definitely, earning stickers is not an option. You’d think it’s easier to decide now after an option has been eliminated. Alas! With the folly of a person with access to eCommerce, I am left with a number of factors affecting my decision between traditional and digital journals:
Accessibility and Consistency
Like any other person affected by the work from home set up and currently enjoying it, I spend more time with my laptop more than with real notebooks and pens. I still have an affinity for traditional writing instruments although I no longer hoard them (Read Top 10 Things I don’t Buy Anymore). The time I usually spend on journaling (about thirty minutes a day) I spend on my PS4 console when I’m not working – a necessary distraction, I might add. However, I can’t always reflect on an article I’ve read or a line from a book or a movie I like by conversing with my playable character.
What makes a digital journal handy is with a swipe of my fingers, I may easily access my journal and type away. Writing on a fresh page of paper is quite therapeutic though that a tablet and smart pencil cannot provide- I can’t actually sniff my tablet when I turn a new page, can I?
Templated or DIY
Not for lack of trying but I think it is so much easier when I don’t have to think about dates or creating calendars so I lean towards dated planners and diaries. The dates also help psych me up to write more. The downside to them is, I waste a ton of paper every year since I can’t fill all pages which is counterproductive.
You might have surmised by the pattern of my post updates, I may not be the best example of a person who values consistency. Achieving consistency in writing is one of my ultimate goals. How I get to that goal is another issue. So far, I only commit myself to one blog post at a time. Dated planners and journals, digital or traditional, appeal to that overachiever side of me that wants to comply with a requirement.
I cannot deny however, that DIY journals particularly the bullet journals are hyped for a reason. They do foster creativity and productivity among those who practice them so they serve their purpose.
Privacy and Storage
There are things an individual who is into journaling or diary keeping does not want to share with anyone. Why document those thoughts in the first place? Believe it or not, my head feels it is about to burst when I try to hold everything in. It needs and deserves an outlet that is safe from prying eyes. Traditional journaling is quite prone to invasion of privacy – we’ve learned this from television series that exploited the idea that one’s identity can be certified by a diary (Read What’s the difference between a diary and a journal?). Does a digital option sound better now? A free application sounds promising? I’m pretty lazy reading those privacy clauses that can easily trap anyone who isn’t familiar with how encrypted data can still be decrypted. I’ve also learned from some known Cloud security breaches that only the lack of celebrity status can keep my information safe. Would hackers actually spend time reading through files and data of a nondescript person like me and earn money from it?
Digital journals, free or paid, DO offer something better than traditional ones: the long term storage. Traditional journals and planners, even when they are hardbound, can be torn, wet, set on fire, lost, or scrawled on–the last by one’s niece or nephew. I wouldn’t want to spend so much time making my journal and risking it getting destroyed or thrown away after five years, would I? With cloud storage, apart from the privacy concerns, I am assured that no matter what device I use, I can access my journal any time–as long as I remember my password in the next five or ten years.
I’m still on the fence about what to choose for 2021: must I go with a DIY Journal (inspo available in Pinterest and Youtube) or simply take advantage of Google Calendar as that’s free and very much available. Stay tuned for updates on this one. You don’t have to wait long as we only have one month left for 2020, the year when time has flown so fast.