First, here’s some quick news on upcoming classes and telechats:
In this month’s newsletter we have two articles and a testimonial from a long time LifeJournal writer. One article is about the power of story, and the other is a tip for both LifeJournal for Windows and LifeJournal Online about how to change an entry from one journal type/notebook to another.
To your writing,
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by Ruth Folit
“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”—Muriel Rukeyser
Before I designed LifeJournal software I worked in the field of coastal ecology and policy. When there’s an issue related to Sarasota Bay in my neighborhood—such as a proposed too-long residential dock or permitting dredging of a long channel to a private residence through productive bay bottom—I often get involved.The usual procedure is to first read the 1-2 inch thick binder of bureaucratic paperwork to learn the details about the proposed project. Then a few of us in the neighborhood wade, canoe or kayak to the bay site and try to figure out what is going on: find where the proposed structure would be; check the presented facts; and decide whether we think that in balance it’s a project worth defending or disputing.
Typically we each then prepare a five-minute statement which we present to a city board of civic-minded volunteers who listen to both sides and make the decision. Although the board deals with many zoning issues they rarely handle coastal matters, and discussions can get bogged down in dry technical minutiae obscuring the big picture and the critical issues. The challenge is to convey our findings and opinions meaningfully and memorably.
This week in a five-minute presentation before the board I conjectured what a blindfolded person who was walking in knee-deep water at the proposed site would know. And then I talked about what that person would learn once he/she removed the blindfold.
I have referenced the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes to convey the visceral feeling of a public charade when the facts presented by the opposing party are different than what others perceive as reality.
Another time I mentioned in a presentation that the applicants had just moved from the urban northeastern United States into a house with a stunning bay view and that they might not have realized how their proposed structure would damage what was happening below the dancing surface of our Florida bay. Bringing in that personal context was a perfect segue into describing some of the details of the harm the proposed way-too-long dock would cause and also softened the blame felt by these Sarasota newbies.
The funny thing is that it was just a few days ago, a day after my public statement (and years after I have delivered several others) that I suddenly realized what I was doing that made my presentations stand out. I was going beyond reciting facts but telling a story and building a narrative, which is what made my presentations meaningful, memorable and persuasive. (So far the board has agreed with us on every ruling!) The work that I have been doing in the world of writing quietly crept into more effective communication in the world of environmental protection. The power of story goes beyond journal writing as I learned.
How does what you have learned during journal writing positively overflow into other areas of your life?
In LifeJournal for Windows there are “journal types;” in LifeJournal Online the name of this feature has been renamed to “notebooks.” Both incorporate the same function: to allow people to keep separate journals for different kind of writing. In both versions of LifeJournal there are three default types/notebooks: Daily, Dream and Life History. (You can add and remove journal types/notebooks: In LJ for Windows, go to the File menu> Manage Journal Types. In LJ Online, go to the Preferences link in the top right navigation bar>Journal Notebook tab.)
Here is how to change a journal entry from an existing type/notebook to another:
In LifeJournal for Windows, open the Journal Entry you wish to change. Go to the Journal Entry Edit menu>Change Journal Type> select the [New Journal Type].
In LifeJournal Online, open the Journal Entry you wish to change. In the first row of the entry, you’ll see the title, then the date, and then a dropdown box with the Journal Entry notebook listed. Click that dropdown box and you can select a different notebook.
“I journaled daily from 2000 to 2010, at which point I pulled all the material together and self-published my memoir, Legacy of Resilience. That was the biggest challenge in my life to date! I felt such relief and sense of accomplishment when it was done, and I learned things about my family that I had never known before. And I was glad to have a password-protected place (LifeJournal!) to keep all of the information well organized. I am so glad to have found this resource and have suggested to several people that they might do the same thing!”–Pat Pape
“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” –Madeleine L’Engle
“The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.” –C.G. Jung
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” — Philip Pullman
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” — Sue Monk Kidd
Click here to try LifeJournal for Windows.
To buy add-ons to LifeJournal Online, log in to your LJO, click the Add-On link in the top navigation bar and you can buy any Add-On.
Click here to buy Add-Ons to LifeJournal for Windows, if you already have a key to LJ for Windows.
To order or if you have questions, call, toll free 877-456-8762.