Penzu: Bringing my journals back online

A couple days ago, I finished one of my journal notebooks. Since I was 10 or 11, that’s the way I’ve kept them. I’ve created quite a collection of these notebooks, some nice, some not, some filled with strong personal feelings and insights, and others scribbled with To-Do lists and the like.

Problem is, while I’d like to keep the records of my thoughts, I don’t actually want to lug them around with me for the rest of my life. If I keep journaling, which I expect to do, the collection’s only going to grow.

So I need a solution that keeps the content but loses the heft of the medium. The obvious answer seems to be to take it online.

I’ve tried this before. I currently (I think) have a Live Journal account that has a couple dozen journal entries posted in it. I tried to get into Live Journal, but it never really worked. Too bulky to use when I’m just trying to jot down a quick thought in the middle of the day. After just a couple days with it, I switched back to bound paper.

This time, I’m hoping the switch will be more permanent. Yesterday, I opened an account at Penzu, another free online journal site. Penzu is different, though, for a couple reasons:

  1. Easy to access: I don’t even need to sign in to begin writing. I write first and then log in to save. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when I’m scrambling to get a thought out in words before I forget it, speed is important.
  2. Defaults to private: Live Journal was meant, well, to be live – it was built to be public. (Really, it didn’t even do that well. In my opinion, if you want to go public, go with WordPress.) Penzu was built specifically for personal journaling and privacy. With some tweaking, I can share what I write, but all the defaults automatically go to private, which gives me one less thing to worry about when I’m thinking about posting something there.

As with all online journal tools, but in contrast to desktop tools, I can access my journals from any computer with Internet access (I’ll have to pay for mobile access if I want that down the road). That gives me the flexibility to not have to worry about carrying notebooks around with me.

Penzu still isn’t perfect – I wish it had a better way to read archives instead of just seeing the headlines before clicking through. And compared to paper, it’s still not as handy right now, especially on the go.

That said, I’d like to try to make the permanent move online soon so I won’t have to transfer a bunch of hard copy. I have a lot already.

So, we’ll see how this shapes up. Just thought I’d let you know about it in case you’re in the private, online journal search. I’m not sure I can completely recommend Penzu yet, but I can definitely say it’s the best I’ve tried so far.

Do you have any recommendations? Do you have a private, online journal?

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