Tag Archives: letter writing

[Video] Creating TOC with Evernote

If you’re a Evernote user as I am, this is a useful video from Evernote on creating a Table Of Contents.

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Why Journal?

Journaling for life, for reason, for therapy, there are no rules.

My Journal

I partially answered why I journal in a previous post on Benefits Of Journaling. In this post I wanted to get a little more detailed on what journaling means to me.

Journaling is an escape; you might say its an addiction of sorts but there is no known cure or medication. Most of my journaling is used for clarity and healing. Let me see if I can explain and I must prefeace that journaling is not blogging. Although I’m sure a lot of people use blogs as journals but I’m just as certain they don’t really journal. Bloggers have an audience of many. Journalers usually have a audience of one, themselves. Sometimes the case may be that they have an audience of two but I think that may be very rare. Most people who journal will write as if nothing they write will be published or ever read by anyone else. I say most because I’m partially the exception. I also keep a separate journal on the life events of my kids and I think of it as something like a time capsule. I will allow them to read it when they’re past their teens.

I usually start my journaling in the morning. I like to say it’s the first thing I do but it’s not. My morning usually consists of getting ready for work before doing anything else. I’m not the kind of person who can get up and pray, meditate or even journal. I need to be completely ready for the day before I do anything. Journaling is usually the first on my list when I’m ready for the day. Some days I can write three of four pages and others maybe just a paragraph.

And so the question, why journaling? Do you ever just get completely overwhelmed by work, family, bills or just life? Of course, we all do. We all get overwhelmed and most of us have something to help us “cope”. Well this is just one of those mechanisms for coping.

Keeping a journal doesn’t mean you have to log everything that happens every day. I think of it more like a place to lay all of the issues of life, good and bad, out on paper to get a clear view of what may be overwhelming you. For me, this helps me analyze areas in my life that need attention. Or it may just help me get something out of my head or “off my chest”. I often use journaling as therapy to just vent certain challenges in my life. Actually, I find the latter to be the case more often than not. Think of it as a companion who will just listen.

I’ve only scratched the surface on journaling. How do you start you ask? Well, I prefer pen to paper and if you do I suggest you get a journal (Moleskine Cahier Pocket Plain Red Cover) and just start writing. If you prefer the digital method then I suggest you just start typing. It’s easy to start and there are no rules. I’d like to hear from you so leave me a note and tell me how you journal.

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Benefits Of Journaling

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I’m often asked, why do you journal? Well, my short answer used to be because it gives me clarity. But then I started thinking more about what really are the benefits? What do I really get out of it. So here’s my list.

  1. Pure enjoyment. I love to write, pen to paper. There is something about this that I can’t explain. From some of my earliest memories as a child, I just remember the pure enjoyment of stationary, pens, pencils and creating something on paper. To me this was a way to escape.
  2. Clarity: Journaling allows me to data dump thoughts in my head onto paper. Sometimes I keep a lot of thoughts and then I need to defrag those thoughts on paper so I can get a clear picture.
  3. Lessons Learned: Along with clarity, Journaling often times reminds me that sometimes I need to learn some life lessons. Some people I know keep a index in their journals. I don’t do this but in hindsight I with I would have.

A few tips for journaling.

  1. TABS: I like to use Moleskine Journals. They’re expensive but I like them although I’m not exclusive to them. But one thing I like is most of their journals come with tabs. This allows me to mark such things as “Goals”, “Events”, “Kids”, etc. This way I just get a quick guide to these topics.
  2. TOPICS: Most of my topics are just daily struggles. This is how I data dump. But if I don’t have anything to write, I just write about what makes me happy. I write a lot about my kids and recently dedicated one journal to my kids only.
  3. WHEN: Anytime. I write whenever it comes to me. I don’t like to have a specific time. It may work for you but there is no science to what works for everyone. I find that mornings are my favorite time to write but I certainly don’t limit myself.
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Letters

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When was the last time you received a letter in the mail? Not a bill, not a card, not a newsletter. A letter from someone you know who wants to tell you something or something about themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out to abolish email, Facebook, Twitter and any other means of electronic communication. I get it, innovation is key to advancing out society. The thing is, there are still facets of our lives that we will never be able to change. Paper! Paper is a vital part of our lives and we use it and touch it everyday. All I’m saying is why not get a pen out and write a quick letter. Here’s what I want you to do. Imagine the last letter you received. Again, not the last card you received but the last letter. Do you remember how you felt when you saw something handwritten amidst the mounds of bills from the mail box? Do you remember how excited you were to open the letter? You can give that to someone else. Try it… and believe me, you will want to do it over and over and over and over…

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Writing

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Where has the lost art of writing gone? Yesterday I went into a Starbucks to write a letter. I didn’t have a laptop, Blackberry or even an iPad. All I had was a pen and pad of paper. Did you hear that kids, I said it… PAPER! So I grab my coffee and sat down. It was then I realized that I was the only one in the room without an electronic device. Just me and my paper. I wasn’t embarrassed of my pen and paper, in fact I was proud. I was inspired to write more than just one letter, I’m on a mission to write a letter a week. So I went home grabbed a pad of paper started. I looked in my address book on my computer and realized, I have a lot of friends and family. I have almost everyones address… but most of them were email addresses. WHAT? How is it I can send so many Christmas cards out and not have that many addresses? Oh ya, I sent out ecards. So, I have a few addresses so I will start with those. So off to day one.

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