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Many people assume that women are more likely than men to keep a journal. In a recent survey of our LifeJournal customer database, reviewing the data of a random selection of 200 customers, I’ve found that about 42% are men. This result jives with other surveys I have done that show that the numbers of men and women who keep journals are comparable, with only slightly more women than men keeping journals. So, keep this in mind as Father’s Day approaches. There are plenty of dads who will welcome the chance to write their memoirs, reflect on their lives, or keep track of their health, projects, or feelings using LifeJournal. Order by June 7th (domestic shipping via US Mail) or June 14th (shipping overnight) to make sure your dad receives the LifeJournal CD in time.
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This newsletter contains information of interest to journal writers and tips about how best to use LifeJournal. It focuses on the Search feature in LifeJournal, features an interview with long-time journal writer Ellen Moore, and provides tips about how to change the “look” of the screen to suit you.
Chronicles Software Company
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Basics and Beyond: Search and Review
One of the most powerful features of LifeJournal is its ability to quickly search and review your journal entries. The Search and Review feature allows you to efficiently find a collection of entries that meets a set of criteria that you define
For example, if you wanted to see what your days looked like when your energy levels were high you could quickly find those entries. You’d learn more about what circumstances are energizing for you.
Or, you may want to find a particular dream entry that you had written that you had entitled Morse Code, Coded, Dream Coding or something along those lines. But you’re not sure what the title was exactly.
Or if you wanted to look back at all the Life History entries that you had written about the time you were in elementary school, you could perform a Search and quickly find exactly those entries that you are looking for.
The possibilities are clearly endless and depend on your needs, the kinds of topics you have assigned to entries, and the information you seek to uncover.
To open the Search dialog box, click the sixth circular button with the eye icon. (You may also use the Tools menu>Search/review command, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F.) In defining your search you can choose from five categories: (1) Journal Location, (2) Word or Phrase, (3) Dates, (4) the Daily Pulse, and (5) Topics. You can use these categories singly or in any combination.
The category journal location includes the Daily, Dream, and Life History entries. By default, they are all selected. If you want to look ONLY at your Dream journal entries, deselect the Daily and Life History entries. Click theSearch button at the bottom right of the Search dialog box and a list of all your Dream journal entries will appear at the results grid at bottom of the screen.
Once you define your search, you can easily review the entries in the results grid, which is a listing of all the journal entries that meet the criteria that you entered in the Search dialog box. At the top of each column is a label identifying the information contained in the cells of the column. (You can click the column labels to sort from A-Z or Z-A.) You can double click on a row and the associated entry will open. Note that there is a Previous and Next button at the bottom of each journal entry (if there is more than one entry listed) that lets you open the next or previous entry on the results grid.
The next category you can choose from in defining the search is a word or phrase. Enter a word, phrase, or part of a word and use the check boxes to select whether you want to search for it in the title of entry, the text, or both. Click the Search button and those entries that have that word or phrase in the portion of the entry that you chose will appear below in the results grid.
Let’s go back to the example of the Morse Code dream. You vaguely remembered that you had written about a dream relating to some kind of code, but didn’t remember when you wrote it or what it was titled exactly. To find that entry you would deselect Daily and Life History under Journal Location, leaving just the Dream category checked. Then in the Word category, enter “cod” and in addition, you may want to deselect Search text, so that you are only searching the titles. (By using “cod” rather than “code” you are including titles that my have the word “coding” in the title.) Click the Search button, and the Dream entry you were looking for will probably appear.
Use the date category to find entries written on particular dates. Referring to the earlier example about how to find all the journal entries that you had written about your elementary school days:
|First, enter the dates when you started and finished elementary school,|
|Then deselect the Daily and Dream entries and keep Life History entries selected, and finally,|
|Click the Search button.|
Only those entries written about your days at elementary school appear. Remember that for Life History entries, the date of the event that you are writing about is the date of the entry, not the date that you wrote about the event.
The Daily Pulse criteria lets you choose a range of Daily Pulse ratings. By default the entire range of pulses (1 to 10) are included. Use the drop down boxes to narrow the range of numbers.
If you want to see what your life is like when your energy levels are high, select7 to 10 in the Energy parameter. Click the Search button and you’ll see the set of entries that you wrote on days when you had lots of energy. Double click on one of the titles to open an entry and read all of them by using the Previousand Next buttons. You might want to review those entries when you are in the doldrums not only to remind yourself that you do have days that you are energized and productive, but to find clues about how you can return to a higher energy state.
On the right side of the Search dialog box is a set of topics that is identical to the List of Topics that you created. Remember to click the ‘+’ to the left of the folder to open it. Click the folder itself to select all of the topics in that folder. A red check appears when you have selected a topic within a folder.
Note that below the topics there is a line of text that says, “Entries contain any/all selected topics.” When you select the word any you are indicating that you want to search for entries that have any of the topics included. For example, if you want to find the entries that have either the topic Mother orFather assigned to them, select the topics Mother and Father and the wordany. If however, you want only the entries that have BOTH topics Mother and Father, select the word all.
TIP: If you want you can print or export a set of entries. To print the set of entries go to the File menu>Print> Entries on Search Result List. All the entries listed will be printed continuously, with the title and date included.
You can also export a set of entries, so that you can open them in a word processing program such as Word, Word Perfect, or Word Pad. They will appear as one document with the title and date included for each entry. Go to the File menu>Export>Entries on Search Result List to export a set of entries
|Also note that there is checkbox above the Topics listed that lets youretrieve only the highlighted passages. If you check that box along with at least one topic, a document will appear with only the highlighted passages about that topic. When you double click on any text within the document the entire associated journal entry will appear. (See related information about this feature in the article Highlighting-Basics and Beyond in our February newsletter at https://www.lifejournal.com/feb01newsletter.html.)
The more you become familiar with the Search tool, the more skilled you’ll become in ways to uncover information about yourself.
An Interview with writer, teacher, and long time journal writer Ellen Moore, Ph.D.
LJ (LifeJournal): How long have you been journaling? What got you started on keeping a journal?
EM (Ellen Moore): The year was 1977, and I was a single mother teaching high-school British literature. I was always a voracious reader, and in addition to the standard repertoire of English and American authors I loved, I was just exploring world literature. I was really caught up in Hermann Hesse, both his novels and short stories, but especially because of the story of his difficult mid-life and serene old age.
I finally admitted to myself that one of the deepest desires of my heart was to be a writer. I confronted myself and said: “What do writers do?” They write. “How often do they write?” They write every day.
I had wanted to start a journal for many years, but “knew” I didn’t have enough self-discipline. Instead, I’d been writing on the backs of envelopes and on little slips of paper that seemed to scatter themselves everywhere.
So I took a deep breath and bought a notebook and began writing observations and descriptions and story pieces. It was fun, nice, OK. It felt good.
After a couple of weeks with the journal, I went into the hospital for a biopsy. The man I thought was my “significant other” simply disappeared from my life. No calls, no cards, and he didn’t return my phone calls. Turns out I was having a relationship with him, but he wasn’t having one with me. (He later told me he “didn’t like hospitals,” and “just couldn’t handle the situation.”)
The doctor gave me a “benign” report, but in the meantime I felt incredibly confused, hurt, and angry. I picked up the journal and wrote 15 pages (spewed might be a better description) without stopping. It was a whole different process and at a different level from what I’d been writing in the “literary” journal. After that cathartic writing session, it felt as if a door had opened. I was hooked.
After that, I no longer needed self-discipline. Writing called me and furnished its own motivation and energy.
LJ: What do you most enjoy about keeping a journal?
EM: Everything! Seriously, it’s been my most important method for coping, celebrating, and rewriting my life. It’s central to everything I am and do. In the last few years, journaling has emerged as one of my most important ways of dealing with chronic illnesses.
LJ: You seem to have strong focus on stories, in particular life stories. Can you give us some more information about this?
EM: I grew up in an extended family of readers and storytellers. They told stories from Greek mythology and the bible, recited hours of memorized poetry, and gathered and created the most amazing narratives of all kinds. The family history stories were particularly important, and I began to notice that some of the stories gave “underground permission” to be imperfect in the context of an otherwise prim and puritanical teaching.
When I went back to school to study psychology, I began to see how people really do use life stories to create themselves and make real the world they perceive. I find it fascinating to observe the process unroll itself over time in real life. One of my favorite classes to teach is adult development because it’s such a practical help to people in dealing with issues pertaining to life stages. Around my 50th birthday, I woke up with the phrases “rewriting your life” and “new life stories” on my lips. I really “got” that everything in my life so far was a rough draft and that it’s never too late to edit. Since that time, I’ve seen some unexpectedly wonderful changes in my life.
LJ: What general recommendations do you have regarding keeping a journal?
EM: The two questions I keep hearing over and over have to do with frequency of writing and those pesky inner critics that sabotage our writing life and tell us we’re no good.
I think we need to honor the silences in our lives and not force ourselves to write just because we think we “should.” There’s a rhythm to our lives, so it’s “live a little, write a little, live a little, write a little.” When it’s time, the journal will call us. In the meantime, maybe we need to get busy living in order to have something to write about. Who needs any more guilt?
Those inner critics can be a life-long issue, can’t they? The good news is that there are lots of concrete and effective ways of working with them. I’m of the philosophy that we need to befriend them and put them to work–but only after we’ve gotten our material onto the page.
LJ: Do you have any specific tips or techniques about ways that you have discovered enhance your journaling experience?
EM: I love going back and forth between paper journals and the computer. I have a suspicion that using both hands to write may engage both sides of the brain and promote connections between the two hemispheres.
I adore my paper journals, but do about 90% of my writing on computer. For one thing, searching for words and phrases is so much easier. And I’m just starting an autobiography and memoir project in LifeJournal. It’s so easy to “file” things in the Life History Timeline. I’m looking forward to having a “bird’s eye view” of my life that I’ve never had before. A life story really does look different when you can see it in perspective. Themes emerge and events and people often take on new meanings.
Letter to the Future is another great feature of LifeJournal! I’m working on a project right now that involves a re-visioning of my future, and that’s an exciting tool. I get a sense of present and future as more connected, and can see how the actions of today really do build the future.
About the author: Ellen Moore, Ph.D. writes and ponders the mysteries early in the morning and late at night. She has just retired from teaching life-span development at a small, northeastern college. Now she conducts New Life Stories classes and workshops. She also writes and publishes New Life Story Seeds, a juicy newsletter for people who write and think. https://www.newlifestories.com.
Mail Bag: I can imagine some people love the neutral tones of LifeJournal. I don’t. How can I minimize the amount of brown that I see?
Under the View menu, there are four commands that let you select and deselect navigation and other tools–the toolbar, the command bar (the 7 circular buttons), the Topics List, and the Timer. If you deselect all of them, only the menu bar and the journal entry window appear. You can maximize the size of the journal entry window, by clicking the button with the rectangle in it, in the top right corner of the entry window (next to the ‘X’ close button). Now the journal entry takes up the entire screen and there is very little brown left.
In the next version of LifeJournal, which will be coming out this summer, you will be able to customize the color of the background, the color of the highlights, and the color of the font. We’ll be able to remove the entire brown background in the following upgrade, planned for early 2002 release.
From author of two dozen books on child development and family life, Eda LeShan: “When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care far more profoundly about other people. The more alert and sensitive we are to our own needs, the more loving and generous we can be toward others.”
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LifeJournal interview with Ellen Moore, ©Ellen Moore, PhD and Chronicles Software Company, 2001
©Chronicles Software Company, 2001. All rights reserved.