Journal Journey: Will That Be Paper or Digital?

Journals are for cool kids–and adults.

I kept a diary when I was a kid, several in fact. My favorite was one I received for Christmas that was pink with brown, quarter horses all over it, and it had a lock. I religiously wrote down every angsty, preteen thought I had in it. Then, when I was a teenager, I kept a series of spiral-bound notebooks. The drama that filled those pages could fuel a million theater productions.

However, when I became an adult, it became increasingly difficult to write in a paper journal.

I struggle with blank page anxiety.

I feel like whatever I’m going to write is going to somehow “ruin” the pristine paper. So, I sit staring at the blank page, pen in hand, fill up with anxiety, and then I begin to wonder about things like the sustainability of paper production and recycling, and whether paper will eventually go away all together. Then, I close my journal, put it away, and repeat the same cycle over and over again. I’ve only managed to write in about 1/3 of the paper journal I have.

(For those of you wondering, paper making isn’t great for the environment. Obviously, because it consists of cutting down trees, but also because of the chemicals and energy that go into its production and recycling. The general consensus seems to be that recycled paper is marginally better for the environment because it is less of a chemical process.)

Long story short, I am terrible at journaling every day. Though, I am actively trying to be better, because I feel like it is a good way to get out thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner, plus, I think there is something to intention or mindset journaling that seems like it can be beneficial to keeping goals at the forefront of your mind.

I will eventually fill my paper journal, but in the meantime, I have found a less wasteful and space-saving alternative to a paper journal that seems to be working a little better for me.

I have been using an app on my iPad called GoodNotes.

GoodNotes is an excellent way to turn your iPad into paper! You are able to customize your journals, or you can buy fancy journals from crafty people on Etsy. Plus, even if you use the apple pencil and handwrite everything in the journal, you can still do searches, so that you’re always able to go back and reference what you wrote.

GoodNotes also goes beyond journals, you can use it for note taking, planning, etc. It eliminates the use of paper, but you still get that pen to paper feel with the apple pencil. You can also use it in “dark mode,” which is amazing, if you’re like me and have sensitive eyes and a dark heart.

I feel like it keeps me more motivated to journal, because what I write can be easily deleted, so I don’t have as much of that blank page anxiety. (I think I have issues leaving any trace of my existence. I would have made an excellent spy. Don’t worry, I’ll bring this up with my therapist asap.)

There are other journaling apps out there, but I chose GoodNotes because it has a pretty mellow interface that is clear and straightforward.

Anyway, electronic journaling is a great paper alternative, and worth checking out if you have an iPad, or another tablet device.

Do you journal? Is it paper or digital?

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