I always enjoy when my mother-in-law visits; she brings photographs that spark discussion of the “good old days.” Learning family stories is an enriching experience for all family members: I understand more about my husband, my husband and children learn about their roots and their family culture, and the storytellers enjoy reminiscing.
On a recent visit to my in-laws’ house, Renee, my mother-in-law, talked about wanting to write about some of her childhood memories. I was so pleased that my children would have these stories preserved. My mother-in-law is just over eighty years old and not very computer savvy, but understands some of the computer basics: how to open and close programs, how to use the keyboard, and how to use a mouse. She is a good writer and storyteller and wants to record her memories before they fade. I sat down with her and within about 30 minutes set up LifeJournal for her and explained the basics so she could start writing without difficulty. She loved it, enjoyed learning a new skill, and felt great about embarking on this new project. See the article below for specifics on setting up LifeJournal for those who are computer novices.
LifeJournal may be the perfect gift for your mother, mother-in-law or sisters on Mother’s Day or as a gift when next you visit. And, of course, fathers, father-in-law, and brothers would also enjoy receiving LifeJournal. (You may be surprised to know that almost half–45%–of our customers are men!) Remember we have the originalLifeJournal, plus specialized editions LifeJournal for Writers, LifeJournal for Educators, Christian LifeJournal and LifeJournal for Staying Sober.
Also in this newsletter Sheila Bender, our content partner for LifeJournal for Writers, introduces her new set of e-prompts called, “Writer’s Notebook: Bringing Writing Alive with Observations.” Using e-Prompts is a great way to motivate you to create the time to focus on a new skill and receiving the e-prompts three times weekly via e-mail gently reminds to you to write.
We also share some questions that we have received in our mail box along with answers that we provided.
Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!
P.S. Writers–from aspiring to professionals–you can recharge your batteries, learn new skills, and work with the best! Sign up for Sheila Bender’s writing conference near the end of June in the beautiful Olympic peninsula in Washington.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Set up LifeJournal so Even your Computer-Novice Mother can Use It
Set up LifeJournal so Even your Computer-Novice Mother can Use It
Here’s how I set up LifeJournal to help my mother-in-law Renee get started writing. When I was in the “Create a Writer” dialog that appears after first installing the program, I set it up without a password, so she wouldn’t have to worry about remembering it. Then I went to the File menu>Preferences>Startup tab and selected “Journal Entry” under “Feature to open when starting.” Then I selected “Always open the entry that was last saved.” I showed Renee how to open a new Life History entry and then sat with her while she began writing about the time in kindergarten she was eating lunch with her best friend Lenore . Renee asked questions while getting familiar with typing in a LifeJournal entry. Then, I showed her how to change the date of the entry, so she could assign the proper date to the story. We closed the entry and then closed the program.
I sat by as Renee easily re-opened LifeJournal and magically the Life History journal entry appeared that she had been working on. I had set up the preferences so Renee didn’t have to think about what she had to do when the program opened: everything would be set up for her so she could just start writing.I didn’t discuss assigning topics to the journal entry, as that was more information than she could absorb during the first lesson. Next time I visit her, I’ll show her how to use the Topics List to assign topics to an entry. In the meantime, Renee is writing about the time she and Lenore were giggling so hard while having lunch that they got milk up their noses and were disciplined by the school principal. Very embarrassing for two “perfect” kindergarteners and wonderful memories for a lively eighty-plus woman.
New Set of Writer’s e-Prompts: Bringing Writing Alive with Observations
Sheila Bender writes:
I describe the second set of e-prompts I developed for LifeJournal for Writers as e-Prompts to assist writers in creatively employing each of the five senses in surprising ways to fully evoke experiences, environments, viewpoints, and personas. Writing that involves the senses opens new avenues for authors and helps them overcome blocks, take new directions, and find insights. Using these prompts, your writer’s notebook will become filled with vivid, engaging writing.
There are many ways into generating writing that grabs not only readers, but you as an author, encouraging you to follow your words to insightful writing. Concentrating on developing and utilizing skill with observation will keep you surprising yourself with how much you pick up through your senses and how much the details of what you pick up offer you as a platform for developing lively writing.
Here are two sample prompts from the package:
1. Imagine giving a tour of the house or room you know well, as if you were a docent leading a group of interested tourists, and asking people to notice the smallest details that only you (or a character) really think about.
Tell why you (or the character) are having them notice the details. Write this in parts, each named for a detail; call the piece “Details.”
2. Button and unbutton or unsnap a sweater or jacket. Describe the way your (or your character’s) fingers look while doing this by comparing them to other things so you are making a list of lively metaphors–do they look like roots twisted around a stone? Do they look like people parting after the elevator doors open? You can call this list you make of (hopefully) at least five similes or metaphors something like “Unbuttoning My Jacket, Friday Morning at Work” or “After I Arrive Home, I Unbutton my Jacket.”
You can see that by concentrating on what we see but don’t usually describe, we are extending our material and the amount we can evoke for others. Each of these exercises will help you slow down and begin to put the kind of idiosyncratic information into your writing that creates voice and depth.
Right now, as I button the sweater I will wear on my drive into town to go to the supermarket, I am associating to the garden snails I saw yesterday as I weeded, the way they looked tucked into their shells and untucked. I am interested in the persona or speaker who can make that association. Perhaps she is thinking about the way she should plant vegetables this year and how she will keep the garden protected from pests without using chemicals. Perhaps I have an essay or a poem in that concern, but it might be a short story–the speaker could be going to the store to buy chemicals to rid the yard of snails and feeling badly. More of an environmentalist than her husband, she does not want to use the poison he wants her to purchase. Maybe she will come home rebellious, with an organic treatment or just start collecting the snails. Maybe her snail collection will lead to something new in her life. There is so much possibility, and I feel ready and excited to write.
To purchase a three-month subscription to this set of e-Prompts, go towww.lifejournal.com/ordering and click on “E-Prompts for Three Months” and select “Writers Notebook: Observations” from the drop down menu. The other five e-Prompts sets that you can subscribe to are (1) Writers Notebook: Openings (2) Success (3) Memories (4) Emotional Self-Care (5) Loss and Grieving. The three-month subscription costs $21.95 and you will receive an e-prompt three times every week for three months.
Q: I am trying to use the hyperlink feature. However, when I create a hyperlink I am unable to click on the hyperlink to activate the linked entry. It just appears as underlined text. Can you please assist me?
A: Hold down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard when you click on the link.
Q. When I back up my journal entries I want to be sure that everything is backed up properly so I tried to open the entries in Microsoft Word but wasn’t able to. How can I be sure that my files are properly backed up?
A. The journal files are password-protected and encrypted, so you any snoop can’t read your journal entries by opening them in MS Word. To be certain that you have fully backed up the file, I recommend that you compare the size of the two files.
To compare the file size of your journal data file and your back up, follow these steps:
“We are the only beings on the planet who lead such rich internal lives that it’s not the events that matter most to us, but rather, it’s how we interpret those events that will determine how we think about ourselves and how we will act in the future.” -Tony Robbins
How to Purchase LifeJournal, LifeJournal for Writers, LifeJournal for Educators,Christian LifeJournal, or LifeJournal for Staying Sober, and how to subscribe to e-Prompts.
There are three ways you can purchase LifeJournal 2 or upgrade to version 2.0:
1. Order online. Click a link below to go to the ordering page for the different versions:
* Christian LifeJournal: christian.lifejournal.com/ordering
To subscribe to three months of e-prompts for $21.95, go to any of the ordering pages listed above and select “E-Prompts for Three Months.” Select the category of e-Prompts you’d like to receive. You’ll receive three e-Prompts per week via e-mail.
2. Order by telephone, toll free 1-877-456-8762 from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern time, Monday to Friday.
3. Order by postal mail and pay with a check or money order payable to:
Chronicles Software Company
To learn more about upgrading to LifeJournal 2, go to our June 2005 newsletter.
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