Resolution #4: Keep a Journal

by Larry Richman on January 4, 2013

This is one of a series of articles with suggested resolutions for the new year. See the other suggested resolutions.

The article “Thinking outside the Book” in the November New Era magazine (pages 40-42) discussed several creative ways to keep a record of your life.

The purpose of journaling is not just to make a record of your life for your posterity. A number of studies have shown that we retain things longer if we write them down, so recording our spiritual thoughts and impressions after an experience helps solidify the experience and allows the feelings we experience to become a part of who we are, accessible to us in every part of our lives.

Here are some additional ideas on how to keep a record of your life using modern technology:

Digital scrapbooking is a type of journaling. There are many online and offline ways to create digital collections of photos, e-mails, and other things that are memorable to you. Over time, paper photos, music programs, drawings, letters, postcards, and other memorabilia will fade and deteriorate. Scanning them and compiling them into a digital scrapbook is a great way to preserve them forever.

A personal blog can be a great way to capture your thoughts. You can make journal entries on a blog that you can post online and share with family and friends who have a password access to your blog; you can also publish posts with a private setting so others can’t view them publicly. Some people combine scrapbooking and blogging together to make a textual and visual record of their lives.

Social media can be part of the record of your life. Take screenshots of key social media interactions. There are also programs that let you capture and download all the posts you make on social media sites.

Notes & Journal feature (formerly called “My Study Notebook”) on LDS.org can be used to create and preserve journal entries in addition to capturing highlights and notes about scriptures and other Church publications. Learn more about the Notes & Journal feature.

Digital pictures, audio, and video recordings of your activities are certainly a great way to capture and preserve things that are important to you.

Special interest blogs can also be a way to express your knowledge or interest in a specific topic.

Word processing can be a great low-tech way to capture a record of your life. Simply type your journal entries using word processing software.

An audio recording is a way to express your thoughts vocally. Talk about what you would write if you were keeping a traditional journal. Be sure to think and speak thoughtfully, record entries in a quiet place, and say what you mean. Use a digital recorder or try free software on your computer to make a digital recording. Don’t use audio cassettes, because the recordings on tape will deteriorate.

Keep your Digital Copies Safe

Using digital means can be a great way to preserve aspects of your life to enjoy later and to pass on to your ancestors. Just be sure that you keep a safe copy in a place away from your home in case of computer failure or theft or some natural disaster such as a fire or a flood. Use an automatic back-up system such as Carbonite to keep a secure copy offsite.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike January 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Larry, I like the idea of keeping a personal blog. My preference is to keep my personal blog personal – no one gets to read it – and another blog that I’d allow selected individuals access to read and / or comment.

Do you have any recommendations for a blog service to use? Or to NOT use, for that matter?

ldswebguy January 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Mike, just about any of the services will let you set privacy. Blogger.com is very easy to use.

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