I hope you heard the news from our previous newsletters that LifeJournal Online (LJO) is now available. With LifeJournal Online you can access your journal anytime, anywhere with Internet access. LifeJournal Online runs on all four major browsers: Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. It runs on PCs and Macs–desktop and laptops–and yes, it even runs on iPads and other tablets. Try it out here for no cost!
A LifeJournal customer who also has the Writers’ Add-On describes what he loves about the journal app:
“I am a playwright that demands layers of emotions and depth in every character in every scene. Ideas flow so fast that without LifeJournal many of my best ideas get lost. Also, and just as important, I am constantly juggling current projects with new ideas to flush out. Again, LifeJournal keeps everything in balance, so nothing gets forgotten. I am so grateful for this easy to use; yet powerful software program.” RK, Los Angeles
You’ll find two articles below: One about LifeJournal Add-Ons and the other about how to make your journaling most useful to you–by making a shift.
To your writing,
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The Shift Key: The Key to Productive Journal Writing
By Ruth Folit
Did you ever play office as a kid? I remember as a seven or eight year old pretending to be a worker in an office with an old typewriter that we had tucked away in our hall linen closet. I’d set up my work area in our suburban NYC living room on an Edward Wormley end table—not knowing how chic that little piece of furniture was. I’d sit there with my hands on the keys, not really having anything to type.
In fact I can’t even remember what I wrote; it was as much about the fascination of sliding the paper in and rolling it up aligned properly, tapping the keys and then watching the metal hammer strike the black ribbon and leaving an imprint on the white paper as it was about writing. Watching the ribbon move forward, hitting the carriage return, listening to the clicks and bells: What a cool thing that was! I’m not sure if I ever wrote a story, or if I was pretending to do some important adult “work” or what. Perhaps I was just writing gibberish!
But I digress. I am really thinking more about the Shift key. It was a real hand-stretching stunt, extending the limits of coordination and strength to manipulate both of my hands simultaneously. I had to use two pointer fingers and just forget about my pinkie. I didn’t have the strength to push hard on that Shift key with my wimpy little pinkie. Way too hard.
It turns out my early struggles with the Shift Key is filled with metaphor for me today. Journaling is about finding and using the metaphoric Shift key. We know–perhaps by personal experience or by understanding the scores of research studies about expressive writing–that writing about meaningful life stories definitively helps people in so many ways, such as visiting doctors less, increasing chances of getting a job, reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels. And that the key is to shift *aha!!* your thinking during the writing process.
Sure, rant and rave and rage an in your journal. But please don’t do it forever and over and over re-traumatizing yourself and enraging or damaging yourself. Better to give yourself a time limit. How about 15 minutes of kvetching, and then SHIFT: HIT THE SHIFT KEY. Find another way to look at the issue: From another person’s point of view. From a different angle—from a bird’s eye view, from two steps back. From tomorrow, or next year. Through a different writing style—use poetry instead of prose. From the point of view of a narrator or from the voice of the issue at hand. (a la Dr. Seuss: I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!) From the emotional lens to the rational.
Look at the trauma, the focal point, the central issue perhaps as a piece of humor, or a play or a movie, or a chapter in a book. Change a character, write the other person’s imagined subtext. Use the power of language to reshape, refine, redefine, rearrange, re-contextualize, the difficult event.
The key is to shift.
In a conversation I had with expressive writing researcher and professor Dr. Jamie Pennebaker, he told his experience of going to annual neighborhood cocktail parties. People, knowing he was a psychologist, would talk to him about some difficult issue they were encountering. Then a year later, the same people would come up to him at the next party and tell him the same story, with little change. They were stuck in the same old story, retold a year or two later. They were grinding through the same path, creating a deeper well-worn rut, and these people were still complaining. Nothing had changed during the interim.
Pennebaker’s research conclusions (once uncovered) make great sense: The process of writing about a story often broadens your understanding and perspective because the writer takes the time to focus on the many interrelated and complex parts—not just the writer’s—and change perspectives.
So when you are journaling, remember to notice and use the SHIFT key. It’s the key to making the inner changes necessary to get off the well-worn emotional track and see your world from new vantage points. It’s healing in oh so many ways. And the good news: there are two big Shift Keys on most keyboards to help you remember.
© Ruth Folit
People keep journals for all kinds of reasons–and those reasons change as their lives do. Some use their journal for balancing their emotions; some for improving their writing; some for igniting and sustaining their creativity; others for deepening their spiritual connection.
Over the years we’ve teamed with different experts who have created the content to help journal writers focus on their particular interests. These extra content pieces which are mixed in within LifeJournal, and expand the guidance available within your LifeJournal are called Add-Ons.
Add-Ons flavor your journal so that the extra content–whether it’s Emotional Balance, Writer’s, Creativity, Spirituality, Sobriety, Educators, Christian, or Divorce–is found throughout the program. Within the Prompts catgories, there is a category or two just for your Add-On topic. And generously sprinkled within the Quotes and Tips features are many related to the Add-On subject area. You’ll find more Types/Notebooks added, more Topics in the Topics List, more default Scales in the Daily Pulse,
Add-Ons work with LifeJournal Online and LifeJournal for Windows. Click here to learn more about Add-Ons.
“You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.”
“There are no facts, only interpretations.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”— Abraham Lincoln
“Changing yourself changes everything.” –Bryant McGill
How To Try and Buy LifeJournal Online and LifeJournal for Windows
To order online:
To order by mail, send a check payable to Chronicles Software, and mail to:
PO Box 220
Sarasota, FL 34230-0220