Today I decided to start journaling. (Journal sounds posher than diary doesn’t it?)
Writing a blog is very different to writing a journal. (Well, it should be in any event. God knows we’ve all stumbled across people who over share or who write boring, long rants on their blog. One reason I try and keep this brief).
I enjoy creating a blog because I enjoy the process of collating things I like. I enjoy the process of trying to articulate my thoughts for an (imagined) audience of like minded souls. I try to share what I like in a way that is as entertaining as possible.
I want a journal so I can write down the crazy messiness of my brain once a day. Privately.
Here’s a good article about journaling from Life Hacker with some useful facts and links.
This study from Advances in Psychiatric Treatment is a solid summary of current research on the topic. The researchers note that 15-20 minutes of writing in a journal for 3-5 occasions was enough to help the study participants deal with traumatic or stressful events. It has been particularly effective in people with severe illnesses such as cancer. In fact, the practice is so well regarded, there’s a Centre for Journal Therapy dedicated to the mental health benefits of regular journaling, both in therapeutic and personal settings.
I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to get out of this experiment. For me, as a scientist, I want to give journaling a try just to see what happens. I’m not sure if the aim is to track my moods, get some insights, boost my creativity, track my food and exercise goals, improve my immune system or gain better mental clarity. I don’t know.
I am just going to give it a go, and see.
I chose to use the free Penzu app for my experiment. Why? Because of its nice user interface and because it has the best security features. If I’m going to write down the most personal recesses of my brain then I want that shit locked up tight.
I am going to trial it for a month before I decide whether to upgrade to the Pro version. It is $20 a year, which seems a bit steep to be honest. But I will see how it goes. There’s also a version of Penzu for PCs/Macs, which is free as a standalone thing. If you subscribe to the Pro version, then the mobile and desktop apps all synch up. Again, not sure if I need this yet or not.
That was a deal breaker for me as privacy was my number one concern.
I do not want anyone reading my ramblings!
Some good tips on journaling here.