That nagging feeling about digital journal apps

Posted on Feb 3, 2020

I have to write this all down to get it out of my head and make some sense out of it. I have that persistent, nagging feeling that all of my journal notes are splintering (because they are). It’d be funny to diagram this out like they do for rock band personnel timelines in Wikipedia.

  • First there was Momento on iOS. Its layout from about 2011 is still my favorite digital journal layout ever.
  • After that stopped being updated, I switched to plaintext journal entries in the filesystem.
  • Then Day One got really good and I started trusting it for everything that seemed like a diary entry.
    • All of the Momento stuff was imported into Day One and I retired Momento.
    • Then I stopped trusting Day One when there were sync problems, and went back to plaintext journal entries in files.
    • And then I went back to Day One when the sync problems were fixed.
  • Now most things are starting as Field Notes memo book bullet journal entries. That’s where I’ve journaled the most, by far.
    • From there, most entries never make it out of the paper bullet journal.
    • But a few whole notebooks have been scanned into PDFs.
    • Some entries went into org-journal.
    • Some entries went into Day One.
    • A few entries have gone into Roam, but Roam isn’t trustworthy enough to be a system of record yet.
  • Recently I dumped everything from Day One into Diarly to test it, and have added a few new entries to it, but maybe importing everything from Day One into Diarly was a mistake, because now as I’ve added a few new entries to Diarly, that’s effectively become a forked universe branching off of Day One. Crap.
    • And as nice looking as Diarly is, it’s still written by just one guy (I think?), so I’m skittish about relying on it.
  • So now I don’t know where to put new digital journal entries, other than to keep writing them down first with paper and a pen in the bullet journal. And I don’t know where to “process” them to (if I even bother).
  • Oh yeah, and all of the above is just for “journal/event” entries. Complaining about where the “task” items originate and get processed to would be another whole outline.

You know who didn’t worry about where to write things down? Jo Hopper.