April 1, 2020

Making Day One permanent

In Thoughs vs Records as Notes I didn’t address journaling directly, but I implied that journals fall into the Record category so work best as plain text. And for a long time I’ve used Org-journal, which is a fantastic way to keep a journal in text(ish) files.

Lately, however, I’ve been writing again in Day One1. You see, the thing about Day One is that it’s a really great app for doing one thing, journaling. I like images in my journal. I like the automatic location, weather, and health information. I like the On this day” feature. I like occasionally dictating an entry, just to hear my own voice :). I love that I can create printed books from a selected period of time. Anyway, you get the gist. Day One makes my journal useful and fun.

Some of this is reproducible using Org-mode or other plain text formats, but none of it is easier or better in plain text.

But what if Day One goes away? That’s a great question, and it reminds one that there’s nothing like plain text for keeping records for the long term. Here’s what I do to alleviate that fear.

I occasionally print books from my entries. It’s so nice having a copy of my journal in book form. I’ve only made a couple of these so far but plan to print maybe one per quarter.

Books are pretty permanent, but what about search? On the first of every month, I export the prior months journal to PDF. I import that PDF into DEVONthink. Now that’s searchable!

I also export to JSON because that way I (or someone) could create tools to process the JSON files and make something out of them.

So if Day One were to disappear, my journals would no longer be as immediately useful or fun to play with, but I’d still have everything I’ve ever written in formats that leave me plenty of options, and nothing would actually be lost.


  1. After a brief foray with Diarly


Journaling Day One Archiving


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