Journalling Selection Box: Online and offline journalling tools


OK, so Christmas is still many months away (and apparently the whole chocolatey selection box tradition is a UK thing) but off timing and cultural obscurity aside, here is another kind of selection box: helpful journalling tools!Journalling is awesome (see why here) and thanks to the internet there are now more websites, apps and software than ever to help. Most are online but some can be downloaded and accessed offline too. If you've enjoyed a journalling tool that isn't listed here, please add it to the comments section below!Online750 Words 750 words is a free online journalling service* that encourages users to write at least 750 words every day. Users can view personalised stats and are rewarded with badges for writing several days in a row, not getting distracted and being a speedy typist.Click here for a full review of 750 words and here for an interview with its creator.*New members signing up after 1st May 2013 now get a 30-day free trial and are required to sign up to a $5 per month subscription to continue writing beyond that. Anyone who signed up before 1st May 2013 has a free lifetime account.PenzuPenzu comes in both free and paid versions. Users pay a monthly premium for added security and extra features. However, there is a free version which seems to work just as well.With a screen designed to look like paper, the site allows journallers to insert pictures into their entries and publish to blogs or websites. Penzu would be great for people who want to make a scrapbook-type journal and it’s perfect for those who want to use online applications without giving up on the good old A4 lined pad.My Therapy JournalThis journalling site is a subscription service, costing between $7.95 per month and $14.95 per month depending on how long you want to subscribe for. They also offer a 14-day free trial to try out all the features before deciding if you want to pay.Before starting a journal entry, there are different ‘writing moods’ to choose from, such as freestyle, 5 minute sprint and dreams etc. You can also add tags to each post searching for certain entries easier.Once you’re done with your main journal entry, you’ll get reminder questions or prompts. These encourage you to think more deeply about certain areas of your life and include topics like gratitude, joy and grief. The topics are customisable, and questions include things like ‘Since your last entry, have you felt grateful about some part of your life?’ with multiple choice answers (never/seldom/sometimes/often). The page also contains diagnostic questions centred around certain mental health issues, although personally I don’t believe these are helpful as professional help might be more appropriate for some of the conditions they describe.When you’ve answered the questions, you can view a progress graph which gives you an idea of how your responses have changed since you started journalling. It’s a nice way of charting ups, downs and progressions, and useful for spotting emotional patterns.This site uses encryption to keep data secure and was founded and run by a group of people who think journalling is the bee’s knees. If you’re OK about spending the money, the site has some interesting features and could be a valuable self-development tool.Joe’s LogbookThis is a very basic website that offers more of a ‘Getting Things Done’ approach to journalling. The dated design might be offensive to the more aesthetically-minded viewers, but it still has its uses. The site comes with separate sections for goal-tracking and journalling and is more user-friendly towards those who prefer to journal with notes rather than long passages.Content is shareable and users can choose to receive alerts to remind them to keep tracking their goals. While the other apps and sites on this page are geared towards long journal entries, this would be most useful for those who are focusing on a particular aspect of their life that they want to keep tabs on, for instance an exercise programme, diet or some other routine. The service is free so if you’re interested, it’s worth checking out.Offline There is some good software available for Mac users. If you’re a PC person, the choices are limited but hey, that's the way things are these days...*sigh*MacJournal (Mac only)MacJournal is a simple way of storing all your thoughts in one place offline. As downloadable software ($40), users can create an unlimited number of journals. Audio, pictures, video, text and even certain file types can be inserted into entries. Each post can also be labelled with tags, making it easier to filter searches.While some online programmes raise questions about security, the MacJournal has a locking function that keeps your entries safe. When turned on, this function not only password protects your writing but also encrypts the data on your hard disk (in other words, even if your laptop was lost or stolen, no one looking at the hard drive would be able to see the text).To make searching through entries easier, users can make specific journals (called Smart Journals) out of filtered tags. Other features include the ability to publish entries as podcasts or blog posts, a word count, a full-screen mode and statistics that show how frequently you use certain words.Ommwriter (Mac only)Ommwriter is journalling with zen. A basic Mac word processing programme, it provides atmospheric music and background images to bring peace and tranquillity to the writing process. I haven’t been able to try it out but the online demo looks like it could provide a rather different kind of journalling experience...WinJournal (PC only)MacJournal’s PC-based sister, WinJournal is, unfortunately, the diet coke to MacJournal's fully-sugared fizz fest. Both are made by the same software company but the lack of features in their Windows offering is pretty disappointing - especially as it costs the same.Not only does it look unfriendly but it’s basic: users can’t even tag posts. However, you can still record audio entries and lock the journal for extra security. Since it’s basic, it’s also simple to use and provides a good offline alternative (albeit one of the only alternatives) for Windows users who don’t want their journalling stored online. Image: jessleecuizon