From Kay’s Journal: Review of Journal to Health

 

KJournalWe have come to the end of the 30-Day Digital Journaling Challenge. The brainchild of Journalverse member and Journal to the Self certified instructor Nathan Ohren of EasyJournaling.com and write4life.us, the 30-Day Challenge has brought together more than 1200 writers from around the globe, each engaged for the month of October 2014 in a collective process of writing a journal on a computer, tablet, smart phone, or cloud.

My digital journal of choice is Journal to Health (JTH) , a secure online journaling site that features privacy, convenience, instant retrievability, and an odd sort of intimacy with the digital page, not unlike the feel of a paper journal. JTH’s creator is “Dr. J.” (Jackie) Swensen, a New York psychoanalyst (and Journalverse member) who says, “I call Journal to Health ‘a site for self-discovery’ because I agree with Aristotle, that ‘knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.’ Journal writing helps us know ourselves.”

I volunteered to be a beta-tester of JTH in its first release last summer. I was given a 60-day pass and the instruction to customize it to meet my tastes and use it as much I wanted. I admit to some trepidation; I’m a devoted handwriter, and I like my journal time curled up on the couch, or out on the porch, with coffee. I was secretly sure I wouldn’t be able to sustain a regular digital journal.

Dr. Jacqueline Swensen, founder, Journal to Health

Dr. Jacqueline Swensen, founder, Journal to Health

I was wrong.

Instead of failing, I fell in love.

Immediately I became enchanted by the daily quote about writing/journals/life that appears in my emailbox while I am still dreaming. When I awaken, I pour my first coffee, savor the quote (today’s: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” by the ever-inspiring Annie Dillard), and click the link  in the email that takes me to my own JTH journal.

From there, it’s a familiar and comfy slide. I  choose my topic from a comprehensive list that includes my own categories and themes. Individualized subtopics provide another layer of detail, metaphor, context — whatever strikes my mood, write, intention, or fancy.

I click the timer in the left column, pre-set for 15 minutes (I can set it for more time, or less.) I write, mindful of time, shooting to get my personal goal of 450 words in.  When I have been writing for 15 minutes, my computer erupts in a wild burst of cheers and applause. That little five-second sound clip is my favorite addiction.

keyboardThe stylish touches of JTH — the wallpaper (background) patterns, the “paper” (writing surface), the fonts that actually do look a little bit like my own printing — all add up to the same sort of comfort and nurturing that I associate with my handwritten journal.

About halfway through my 60-day trial, I started looking for the place I could subscribe. It wasn’t available yet. I tried not to worry, but I worried. I was hooked. I didn’t want my JTH experience to disappear. Fortunately, around Day 50,  a subscription box appeared, and I instantly clicked the button for a $42.95 annual subscription. (I could have also chosen a $3.95 monthly charge.) I spend well over that in paper journals each year — why wouldn’t I gift myself with a year-long digital journal?

There’s a lot to love about Journal to Health. (Need one more? All US military veterans and families get FREE subscriptions.) You can sign up for your own 30-day free subscription HERE and see if it’s for you.

6 Responses to From Kay’s Journal: Review of Journal to Health

  1. Jackie October 30, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    What a wonderful review! It’s so great to know that you appreciate all the work that went into developing Journal to Health™. I, too, feel an “intimacy” when I’m journaling. The customization we offer is for the people, like me, who are detail oriented (maybe a little OCD?). But there’s no need to do anything but turn on your timer and start journaling after you sign up. Thank you, Kay!

    • Kathleen Adams October 31, 2014 at 6:44 am #

      I do appreciate all the work, Jackie (and I know just how much work it is!) You’ve given us a terrific cloud-based option.

  2. Nathan Ohren October 31, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    Wonderful review! May I repost this on the EasyJournaling website? We will soon be updating the app reviews on the site, and this would make a lovely addition.

    Also, I wanted to make it clear that while the 30-Day Digital Journaling Challenge was first launched in October, it is STILL ACTIVE. Anyone who wants to take the Challenge for themselves is welcome to do so at http://www.EasyJournaling.com/30DayChallenge. It is FREE, and a great way to explore the tips and tools of electronic journaling.

    Thank you, Kay and Dr. J. for being sponsors of this ongoing event, and for your support and input.

    • Kathleen Adams October 31, 2014 at 6:45 am #

      Sure, Nathan, post away! Thanks for pointing out that the 30-Day Challenge hasn’t gone dormant just because the first 30 days are over.

  3. Carol Roberts August 24, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    Here I am now just reading these posts in 2017. Don’t know whether I’ll take you up on this challenge or not–I’m into three separate ones at the moment: one prayer journal in the morning, one as I write along with a book I’m reading in the evening, and one as I journal along with my new classes.

    But you do (did) make this sound tempting!

    • Kay Adams August 28, 2017 at 8:42 am #

      I had to look back at the post to find out what 30-Day Challenge I’d offered! Sad to say the Journal to Health program didn’t last — really too bad because it was a fine project by a gifted practitioner.

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