This list is not to tell you that you have to keep all 5, or that my way should be your way. I am hoping that my journaling process may spark an idea in you that will get you to at least document something. Maybe that means one journal project for you. GREAT! Start there. Your awesome if you can do that. Do what your lifestyle accommodates. I am a very busy lady, and I have always kept journals, but for a long time my journaling and photo journaling was not pretty. I would just write as much as I could into composition books and my photos just went onto CD’s and hard drives. I wasn’t real happy with it but it is all I could do. Life got easier, and although my system is ever evolving and changing, I have finally come up with the way I would like to record my time here on earth.
Let me explain a little about each journal I keep…
1. My Personal Photo-journal
For this I use the app called Dayone. Dayone has been heaven sent for me. I go into more detain about this app here, but I will summarize it for you.
One of the greatest things about a journaling app on your phone is that when something happens that I want to remember, it is so easy to instantly snap a photo and record the moment or story to your daily log. A cool thing about Dayone is that it need not be only text. Photos. Locations. Weather. Tags and sorting. We have these computers in our pockets at all times. For a long time I would only journal at night because my leather paper journal was in my night stand. I love that I can journal anytime of the day now; sitting in a carpool line, while I’m eating lunch etc.
Day One combines the simple daily log, event log, activity log, and the best part is the photo album, and long-form writing available.
I can hear you right now saying, “Through Twitter, Instagram, email, and other such apps, my days documented with photos and captions. I consider this my journal.” But how many of your tweets or Instagram photos tell the whole story. If you are like me, when I post on Instagram I am usually thinking, “what would my friends care about this photo?” or “No one wants to know about this…”
So where is this moment being documented for you? For your children? I’m worried we are going to end up with whole generations where the history of us as people is captured in over-filtered, exaggerated, partial story, and lets be honest, staged Instagram posts. This is how I use Dayone. It is my personal journal. My private thoughts, opinions, triumphs, & failures. I am open and vulnerable here. This isn’t really a journal that I leave laying around for friends to look through.
I’m a sucker for a good looking app, and Day One is extremely well-designed — the typography, and the overall design is really clean;
Day One is a work horse. For a classy journaling app that works on all your devices, you can’t do better than Day One.
Over the past 3 years I have been using Day One regularly. Some of my entries are nothing more than a photo and perhaps a quick descriptive sentence. Some days My journaling goes on and on. I love that I’m not worried about if it will be boring to someone. This journal is just for me. That, combined with the automatic location and weather logging, means I’m creating worthwhile journal entries with very little effort on my part.
I can add a journal entry from my home computer, my phone, or even my apple watch.
I can know what the weather was like that day, I can know where I was when I wrote that entry, I can know how many miles I walked at the time of the entry, (all of these can be turned off also) and I can export my entire journal as a Plain Text file or PDF that will be readable 20 years from now. I am also all about quick and time efficient… I love love love that I can just turn on my auto type on my phone and just talk into my journal. SO much easier! Yes there are mistakes and funny words here and there, but I don’t really care. I always take a quick glance back through and fix anything horrible, but I don’t stress too much about this journal. It’s personal, and to be honest it can’t be anywhere near how bad my handwritten journals are. I can’t spell worth crap and I’m pretty sure I’m dyslexic. (I can’t imagine the good laugh my kids will get out of me someday when I am gone and they are reading those).
Done is better then perfect!
But here is the best part!! At the end of the year, with a few clicks, I can order my whole journal in a hard-bound beautiful Journal. The quality is surprisingly so nice! It is the easiest journal I keep by far, which is why dayone is my choice for my personal journal. I knew it had to be easy so that I would be sure to keep it up.
2. All about me photo-journal
This is also a personal journal, however this is something that I am fine with leaving on the coffee table and letting friends and family take a flip through. It’s a journal that I put my photo-challenges in like…
Day In the Life- (take photos through the day of the simple everyday things that capture the way I live)
Word of the Year-(I include photos and things I have written about my word for that year)
This is me- a list of favorites and opinions at this moment
“My People”- I include in this photo-journal a photo and my thoughts about people in my life that are important to me. (friends, mentors, spiritual leaders, etc)
I try to capture what my lifestyle is like at this moment in time through photo and the written word. For this photo-journal I use “Blurb”. I am a fan of the 8×10 portrait size hardbound book for this project. I don’t work on this daily (unless I am doing a challenge like… “a photo a day for 1 week”)
I mostly work on this here and there when I have time.
3. Family annual photo-journal
For this project I also use “Blurb” but I love the 12 x 12 hardbound book for this journal. There is just something about a square that is yummy to me. This Journal is a documentary of my family and our yearly adventures. In this photo-journal is a log of our travels, big events, small accomplishments, and it’s a look into what our life is like at a certain moment in time. This is the journal I spend the most time on and keeps most of our memories. It is mostly Photos and some text when it’s needed to tell the story. Sometimes I have no text and sometimes I need a full 12×12 page to write the whole story.
4. “book of remembrance” photo-journal for each of my kids.
It is a sort of “book of remembrance”. In this journal I have all sorts of things…
Photos of them
My own journaling about them
Some of their personal journaling
Scanned documents such as an award that was really important to them
Lists; favorite things, hobbies, friends, etc
Photos of the things that are important to them; there toys when they are little, projects they’ve done or made, something they created, their environment, such as their room, class room, or hangout.
For this project I also use Blurb. I like the 8×10 size for this also. This journal is another journal that I work on when I have time. If I stay organized with my photos, it makes this much more manageable. When I am importing photos to my computer, if I come across something that I want to be put in one of my kids books, then I tag is with the tag “Cozie-book” or “Rock-book”. It is very nice when I want to work on their books to just search for that tag and the photos that I want to use are all together.
Again, I don’t spend a lot of time on each page. No way! My books are simple and classy. Photos, words, no embellishments. I try to stick to my guns and not obsess about perfection. That will peralize you and keep this project from moving forward.
5. handwritten personal photo-journal
The last journal that I keep is kind of a random. This may not resinate with most, but it was something I wanted to keep up on. I have a journal that I keep with strictly one photo per page and my own handwritten journaling (spelling mistakes and all). I have a box of photos that I am in love with… only my favorite photos that I have taken go in there. Sometimes it’s because they are a REALLY good photo, and sometimes it’s not really national geographic quality, but it speaks something deep to me. I save these photos and when I have a moment, I will take out a photo, glue it into my black leather book, and write. It is almost always in letter style to the person in the photo. There are occasions when I will just talk about what place, occasion, or person in the photo means to me.
I keep this journal partly because I love seeing things written by people who have now passed. Reading a card that my grandma wrote me when I was little, or a recipe in her handwriting is so cool to me. Another reason for this journal is that it is so rewarding. I can glue a photo to the page… take my book out to the beach and write. I can bring a chair and my journal and pen to the middle of the forest and reflect without distraction. There is just something peaceful to me about writing, PEN TO PAPER, and I wanted to keep a little part of it still in this process.
Oh! I lied… there are 6 photo journals I keep.
This one is one I work on once a year. In fact it could be included into our family annual photo-journal, but I did decide to keep this separate.
In my family annual I include just about 2 or 3 double spreads of Christmas memories at the end. The problem is that there is no way that I could really tell the story of what Christmas means to our family in 3 spreads. Therefore, I have a photo-journal that I keep our Christmas memories in called….
It is a beautiful documentary about how we celebrate Christmas. It is an ongoing book that I will print out with about 5 years in each book. This is something I have done for 2 years now. I still need to go back and put past Christmas’s into it. I can’t wait to get this one printed and have a photo-book that I just get out during the holidays. I can see my children, when they are grown, coming home for Christmas and just loving reminiscing about what Christmas was like for them as a child. I can’t wait to share with you how this turns out. So, this book is something I work on for just about 1 week in January each year. But I am very mindful about it all through December.