Journaling is a great way to build your writing skills, express your thoughts, and record your life. Everybody would benefit from keeping a private journal. And in this technological age, digital journaling sounds better than pen and paper.
A digital journal is better than the physical alternative in several ways. It’s more accessible and more private. It can save photos, audio clips, and videos. And it’s easier to organize your memories with tags and search features.
Here’s how to start a digital journal on your smartphone, computer, or web browser.
How to Choose the Best Digital Journal App
The biggest downside to digital journaling is the overwhelming number of apps you have to choose from. With a physical journal, any notebook will get the job done. But with digital journaling, you need to make a big decision before you can even get started.
Take a look at our rundown of the best digital journaling apps to get an idea of some popular options. Most digital journaling apps are free, but you might need to pay for a premium account to unlock every feature.
Compare your favorite apps with the features below to ensure they offer everything you need. If you don’t fancy the research, one of the best digital journaling apps is Day One. You can use it on iOS, macOS, Android, and web browsers.
What to Write in Your Digital Journal
Getting started with a digital journal is easy. All you need to do is type exactly what you would normally write in a physical journal. If you aren’t sure how to start your digital journal, try some free-flow writing without worrying about what you want to say.
Another benefit of digital journaling is that you can always edit your entries at a later date.
If you need more ideas on how to start your electronic journal, take a look online for digital journaling templates. These offer prompts and questions you can answer to fill out your journal entries.
Lots of digital journaling apps even let you save the template so it appears each time you create a new entry.
Access Your Journal Across Any Platform
You can only write in a paper journal when you physically have it with you but a good digital journaling app lets you access it on your smartphone, computer, or through a web browser when you’re out and about. Just make sure you sign out again afterward.
Think about which devices (and which operating systems) you want to be able to use your digital journal with. A mobile app is the most portable, but many of us are slower to type on the touchscreen keyboard. A desktop app offers more control with better focus, but it’s not as portable.
You should be able to sync your journal to the cloud, which means you can view and access entries from any of your devices. Make sure the app you use to create your digital journal supports the platforms you use.
Use Notifications to Build a Journaling Habit
One of the most important aspects of beginning a journal, physical or digital, is that you build a habit to regularly write in it. The easiest way to form a good habit is to write in your journal at the same time in the same place, each and every day.
Thanks to built-in notifications from most digital journaling apps, it’s easy to set up alerts that remind you when you need to write in your journal. You can even track your word count and set yourself a target to reach with each entry.
Before long, your ingrained habits will make you write in your journal without depending on notifications.
Add Photos and Media to Your Digital Journal
Digital journaling lets you add much more than just the written word to your journal entries. Use photos, audio clips, and videos to fill out your journal. The added color and sound works to bring you memories to life when you read back through it.
One picture is worth a thousand words, after all.
Many digital journaling apps also add other metadata to your journal entries. These show more about your day without you needing to write it. They could include your step count, location, time of entry, and even the music you’re listening to while you write.
Use Social Integration to Capture Your Whole Life
Many of us spend a substantial portion of our time on social media. Thanks to social integration, you can create automated systems to add this side of your life to your digital journal as well.
Every time you post a tweet, get tagged in a photo, or update your Instagram story, these systems create a new entry to capture it in your journal. If the digital journaling app you use doesn’t offer built-in social integration, use IFTTT to get the job done instead.
Keep Your Journal Organized With Tags
Finding a particular entry is far easier with a digital journal than a physical one. Say goodbye to rifling through the pages of countless dusty diaries and start using a search bar to find the memories you’re looking for instead.
You can also add an extra layer of organization by tagging your journal entries. Create useful categories like “Work,” “Family,” or “News.” Then you can view all your work-related entries, for example, by selecting the “Work” tag.
Some apps even let you create multiple journals to use alongside each other. This is a great idea if you want to create a dream journal or a work journal and keep them separate from your personal day-to-day entries.
Digital Journaling Is Private and Archivable
Anybody can jimmy open the padlock on a physical diary. But people are going to have a hard time cracking into your digital journal if you lock it with a six-digit passcode or your fingerprint. If you want to keep your inner thoughts private, an encrypted digital journal is the best option available.
On a similar note, many digital journaling apps offer a backup service, which means you never need to worry about losing your journal. If you don’t trust cloud services, you can also export your journal as a PDF and manually archive it yourself.
In fact, we recommend that you do this to back up your journal in case the digital journaling app eventually gets discontinued.
Make It Easier to Start Journaling
Starting a new journal can be a daunting prospect, especially when you have all these extra features to consider for your new digital journal. But it doesn’t always need to be so complicated.
Some digital journaling apps are dedicated to offering a simplified journaling experience. If that sounds like something you need, take a look at our list of the best apps to start a new diary.
Read the full article: How to Start a Digital Journal: A Quick Guide for Beginners