Recording My Introvert Life

journal-prompts-12I took on a new project this weekend.  I wanted to find a way to keep my journals safe and accessible without having to print them on paper.  I keep a daily journal, and I do it electronically.  My handwriting is awful, and my typing can keep up with my thinking better than scrawling words by hand.  I have a favorite wring app that allows me to type distraction free on my iPad. (iA Writer).  It’s like whispering secrets to my best friend.  The trouble is that I’m left with a lot of individual files and no good way to organize them.  So this weekend I started putting them in a document that I can save as a PDF.  I can even include pictures.

I’ve always loved reading the published works of journal writers and diarists but it’s only been in recent years that I’ve started my own practice of daily writing.  It serves me in a number of ways.  I get to offload things that might be troubling me and celebrate my successes.  But beyond that, my daily journals let me know when I’m too much in my own head.  It’s a common affliction of introverts.  We don’t do such a good job of talking out loud about personal things.  Instead, we tend to keep mulling them over and over again in our heads, thinking that with enough analysis the secrets of the Universe will be revealed to us.  Such hubris!

I’ve found that when I go for a couple of days without writing, I’m in trouble.  I’m avoiding myself, and when I do that, I avoid others, too.  I’m usually overwhelmed by something that I haven’t really identified, and I’m getting buried alive without being consciously aware of it.  It’s my signal to me that I need to talk out loud so I can get some clarity.

I never planned on going back to read the old entries, but from time to time I have started to do that.  It’s interesting to see me growing.  It’s incredible to see when the major shifts in my life occurred and how I perceived them, reacted to them.  Mostly it’s just plain fun.  I can laugh at myself when I thought something was a disaster, enjoy the good memories, be amazed at how my thinking has shifted.

I’m putting February of 2011 into my book right now.  I was trying something new, spending a couple of minutes right before bed making a list to answer this sentence:  Today was a good day because…

Some days the list was long.  Sometimes it was very short.  But long or short, the lists showed my appreciation for my life.  I don’t know when I started the practice.  I’ve lost those journals.  I don’t know when I stopped it.  I haven’t gotten to those entries yet.  I think it’s something that I have to start up again, because gratitude and appreciation are healthy practices.  My journal tonight will include a new list of today’s good things, like the fun of pulling up crabgrass near the dahlias and spreading more mulch, watching the goji berries get bigger and fatter, being entertained by the maple tree seed that is caught in a spider web out near the bird feeder.  It’s like watching a kite as it spins higher, gets to the end of the web and swirls down, then darts back up again.  Maple seeds are designed to be wind borne, and they dance nicely from the tendrils of a spider web.  I should probably take a picture of it to include in my journal for today.

Do you journal?  Do you reread your journals?

What made today a good day for you?

 Hi.  I’m Chris.  I’m an introvert.  All of my postings tend to reflect my introvert world in some way or another.  Join me and like minded introverts for a special slant on the world.

5 thoughts on “Recording My Introvert Life

  1. I’ve journaled for years and love it for so many reasons. I enjoyed reading your take on it!

    This year, I’m using a Moleskine that’s the seven days / week on the left and a full page on the right. It’s working surprisingly well and when I want to do more, I have my regular journal. I totally agree with you about doing it on the computer, but some nights I just don’t feel like turning it on. They are fun to go back and reread, although I’ve been much more careful about not dwelling over and over on my problems. I don’t want to read that in ten years. I want to know what I enjoyed, the good things that happened, the precious little memories. Or as you succinctly put it – what made it a good day?

    Nancy

    http://livingtheseasons.com/2011/01/01/why-i-keep-a-journal/

    • I think Moleskin is fabulous, even the virtual version. It’s a great product.

      I agree with not dwelling on the past. I tend to live in the moment, so I never thought I would reread my journals. I find I’m enjoying them. What’s interesting to me is that when I read ones from times that were troubled, I find there is very little about that in my journals. A few passing references is all. So I guess I’ve always known to focus on the best. The rest is transitory.

      Love your blog!

  2. I have been keeping a journal for some years now. Like you I would like to print the recent years’ entries which have been done in an app called Day One. I can print off individual days but not a block of entries in one go to double-side them. Can I ask about the process you use to print your entries?

    • I’ve been writing in iA Writer, which is just a simple text editor. I tried Day One a while ago but forget why I didn’t like it. I also tried MacJournal but it doesn’t sync well between the mobile and desktop apps, which is something Writer does beautifully. Chapters is a good app, too, and it lets you create multiple books if you want to journal about different things in your life.

      So I have a lot of content, but it was only saving one day at a time. I haven’t found anything that will let me do what I want to do, so I’ve started putting the text into iBooks Author and saving it as a PDF. You can add pictures, which will probably appeal to the scrapbooker in you. Then you can read the PDF on your computer / tablet / phone or print it out as a PDF. It’s a bit labor intensive to move all that old text in, but I have it down to a science now so it’s going much more quickly. You could just write inside of iBooks Author, too, for new entries, I suppose.

      Send me a note via my contact form (see link on the top menu) and I’ll email you a sample of what I’ve done.

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