Reasons You Should Keep An Online Journal

Young Woman Typing on a Laptop at HomeI’ve wrote before about the importance of  journaling and keeping a diary in my post setting up a coping toolbox. Many famous people throughout history have kept journals such as Anne Frank, Kurt Cobain and poet Sylvia Plath.  I’ve kept journals off and on since high school and it’s great to go back and look through some of the old ones to see how things have changed.

The other day I went back through an old journal and realized that in some situations where at the time I thought I was right, I was actually wrong, selfish and insensitive. That doesn’t mean I went and beat myself up over the past, it just gave me a better understanding of the situation and the person I was then compared to the person I am now and the person I want to become.

Journaling is a great way to express yourself, to relieve stress, to work out emotional and relationship problems from the past and present, to better understand yourself, capture life events and become more mentally and emotionally healthy. Check out 100 Benefits of Journaling.

One of main problems of keeping a traditional journal or diary is privacy. I know I’ve been reluctant to truly express myself in paper-bond journals out of fear of someone else reading it. I’ve also had the misfortune of  breaking the trust and privacy of someone I love by reading their personal journal, so I understand the fear of invasion of privacy that keeps many people from journaling altogether.

Thankful there are now many different ways to keep a journal and I encourage everyone to at least try an online journal. Sure you can keep a journal as an encrypted text file on your computer, but it is not as easily available as an online journal that is available from any computer that has internet access.

Many people try to keep journals using Google Docs or similar programs, but most good online journals have close to military grade encryption where no one, including the site owners can/will read your private thoughts. They also have easy ways you can add pictures, print your pages if you so choose to, email them to yourself, even email a page to someone else, annonymously if you want.

When it comes to online journals, there are many to choose from and feel free to do your own research, but here I’ve put my top three recommendations:

  1. Penzu– it’s what I am currently using. They offer a free and easy way to keep an online journal and promise military-grade encryption and 256-bit SSL encryption. You can upgrade to the Pro version of Penzu for $20 a year which for the most part just allows more customization, but it’s not necessary to upgrade or pay. The free version still offers many features and gives you a great place to record your private thoughts. Penzu is one of if not the most popular online journal and I highly recommend it.
  2. 750 Words– encourages you to write 750 words a day, which is about 3 pages. It is private and a simple way to just get your thoughts out. Their tag line is “Private, unfiltered, spontaneous, daily”. I like 750 words a lot and they send you simple emails everyday to remind you to write, I just couldn’t get into the habit of using it as much as I use Penzu.
  3. My Therapy Journal– this online journal is unique in the fact that it is therapy oriented and can be used by those with and without issues they may be in therapy for. For those who are actively in therapy, this is an absolutely great tool and one I actually encourage over Penzu. The one thing I do not like about My Therapy Journal is that you have to pay for a one month ($5.99 per month renewed and billed monthy), three month ($4.99 per month renewed and billed every 3 months) or annual ($2.99 per month renewed and billed annually) membership. I’m not too keen on an online journal that forces you to pay, but like I said, if you are actively in therapy then this is definitely worth it and you get 14 days to try it for free.

There are many different options out there, but these are my top three. If you have any others you would like to add please post them in the comments section.

Regular writing has many, many benefits from improved mental health to creativity. Finding a place you can trust with your thoughts is important and I hope this helps with that discovery.

3 thoughts on “Reasons You Should Keep An Online Journal

  1. Ha! I don’t even mention names on Facebook or post pictures of family. The birth date that is on there is not my real birthday. I talk a lot about my experiences on my blog but I use fake names for my daughters and when I mention my husband by name it is “Mr. Ramirez.”

    Some may benefit greatly and I encourage people suffering from depression to write but I’m not sure a journal would be my choice. I know a young woman who struggles with depression and she would be the first to say that once it’s online it would only confirm how horrible her life is. One positive for others might be having a “yardstick” by which to measure their improvement.

    Good post, my friend. 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing and commenting my friend. I agree with you about Facebook, I’m not as discreet on Facebook as you are or as I probably should be, but maybe I’ll start looking into my privacy settings and the things I post more now. The thing about this type of online journaling is it’s not supposed to be “posted” so others can read it. It’s supposed to be just a place to write sort of like a online word processor. I know some online journal sites such as livejournal.com over the ability to share your journal online with others, much like some people use blogs, but to me personally, that defeats the purpose and privacy of true journaling. Some people however like to share their lives and issues, even if anonymous. Thank you again, you always contribute great information to this blog!

      1. That it is to be kept private is good, but then why not just make Word Documents? My husband works in technology so I may be over-cautious on some issues but I have a deep-seated mistrust of anything online.

        Facebook has huge issues. They can change their policies any time they want. I know some people who use it as their photo albums since there is no apparent limit – yet. The face-recognition software and the constant pressure to identify people in the pictures is unsettling. It’s not that I have anything to hide but you KNOW crooks and pedophiles scan for info and images they can use. I may be overly concerned but the day I came across my niece’s photo of her three-year-old daughter in the bath tub I really freaked out. A man in India had gotten access to my page through a friend and when I checked out this “stranger” I discovered he liked naked little boys. I spoke to my friend and he had deceived her to gain access.

        There is another issue that concern me as far as the journaling websites. Most programs are created with back doors that permit access to the makers for various reasons, even if there is no legitimate need. Those things are not created by one person, they are produced with the collaboration of many workers. I am not paranoid, these things happen.

        😀 I may put a lot of things online but a journal with secret thoughts, no matter how ‘pure,’ would not be one of them.

        I do enjoy your blog; you have wonderful, thought provoking material. 🙂

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