LifeJournal™ Newsletter – March 2002

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is upon us, with a sense of rebirth, renewal, and recharging. If you have taken some time off, this may be a good time to rededicate yourself to journal writing.


Ruth Folit
Chronicles Software Company

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Journal Technique: The Unsent Letter
Tip: When to Highlight
Tip: Selecting Topics within the Search Dialog box
Mailbag: LifeJournal Works with Dictation Software
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Journal Technique: The Unsent Letter

The Unsent Letter is a journal writing technique that is just what its moniker implies—composing a letter without sending it.  The letter could be addressed to a person about whom you have strong feelings—anger, admiration, gratitude, fear, and resentment.  Although you could communicate directly to that person, letting your full depth of emotion might jeopardize some relationship. With no concern of what impact your words may have on an addressee, you may express yourself fully and perhaps gain clarity about ideas and issues.

Although you may address an Unsent Letter to a person with whom you have a current relationship, you may address one, for example, to someone who has died, to an ex-spouse you divorced years ago, to a childhood nemesis, or to an enigmatic character in a dream. A teacher friend of mine uses Unsent Letter to vent about a particularly irksome student.  Using the Unsent Letter is a great tool to release unexpressed words, to resolve unfinished business, and to let go of unresolved emotion.

Personal productivity consultant David Allen believes in clearing the mind to free it for productive and creative thinking. As Allen says, “Your mind should be used to think about things, not to keep thinking of them.” So additionally, the Unsent Letter may be an excellent technique to purge yourself of outdated, fruitless, and unproductive thoughts and feelings so that you open interior space to move forward in your life.

Tip: When to Highlight

One of the questions LifeJournalers often ask concerns highlighting text: “When should I highlight text of a journal entry?”  (Remember, highlighting refers to assigning a topic to a passage of text. For more information about how to “Make the Most of Highlighting,” visit .)

The purpose of highlighting text is to select the most meaningful and insightful passages that you’ve written, so that you can go back and quickly and easily perform a Search and Review and find the “gems” that you have buried within your journal.  (For more information about using Search and Review, visit .)

Because you want to express yourself freely when you write in your journal, don’t become preoccupied with what you might want to highlight. Write the journal entry without even thinking about highlighting. When I write a journal entry, I rarely have any pre-determined goal to it. I just do a brain dump onto the keyboard. THEN I go back and re-read it—either directly after writing it, or days or even weeks later.  At that point I assign topics to the entire entry (creating a bookmark) or to a passage of an entry (creating a highlight). The significant, insightful passages jump out, and it becomes evident what text should be highlighted—what sentences have important information that I might want to read later.

Select the text (click and drag the mouse over the appropriate text) and click the topic in the Topics List that you want to assign to the passage. That’s all there is to it! You have highlighted a passage that will appear when you perform a Search and Review and select the Retrieve only highlighted passages option. If you re-read that journal entry at a different time, and other sentences offer you special meaning, you can easily highlight those passages as well.

Tip: Selecting Topics within the Search Dialog box

In the Search Dialog box, under topics there is a  plus sign, “+, ” to the left of each topic folder. If you click the plus sign to the left of the topic folder, it will open the folder and show the topics within it. Click on a topic to select it and a red check will indicate that that topic is selected. However, if you click the folder itself, it will select all topics within the folder. Click a topic to toggle between selected and not-selected.

Mailbag: LifeJournal works with Dictation Software

A LifeJournal customer writes:

” You may already know this, but in case not, the new version 6 of Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software will allow you to dictate directly into LifeJournal. You don’t get all the control and formatting, but the basic material goes in directly with high accuracy, and then can be formatted later. It makes the journal very much easier to use. Dragon Naturally Speaking 6 has been completely redesigned and will dictate into just about anything – Word, WordPerfect, email, Wordpad, etc.”

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How do I know what I think until I see what I say?

~E. M. Forster


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·   Order by postal mail and pay with a check or money order payable to:
Chronicles Software Company
PO Box 220
Sarasota, FL 34230

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