Day One / Blog

The Way I Journal: Ross Lockwood

[Day One] Who are you and what do you do?

[Ross] My name is Ross Lockwood (@rosslockwood), I’m a PhD student and simulated Martian. I’m working towards my PhD in Condensed Matter Physics, and participating as a crew member in the 120-day long Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation (HI-SEAS.org, a NASA-funded study).

When and why did you start journaling?

I’ve been journaling on and off my entire life. I still have my first journal from when I was seven, which was given to me by my grandmother so I could document a road trip she was taking me on.

To me, journaling is essential to remembering when important events took place in my life. I don’t put a lot of faith in my own brain to keep an accurate record, so journaling helps add reliability to my memories.

What is your journaling routine?

Typically I’ll start the day by writing a little bit of what I expect to accomplish and what’s on my mind, just so that I can calm some of the chatter in my head. This is often the bulk of my routine, and occupies from two to twenty minutes of my time, depending upon how inspired I feel.

Lately, I’ve also taken to writing a few hundred words before bed as well, just so that I can capture the most important parts of the past day. This part of my routine rarely lasts more than two minutes, about the time it takes me to brush my teeth.

Do you focus on longform writing, or in capturing small memories of life?

I mostly focus on capturing small memories, but there are times that longform writing is necessary to get a complete description of events. Typicially I’ll put more effort into writing an entry the newer and more unusual an experience is. For example, my entries during the HI-SEAS mission have been several hundred words longer than my average entry prior to the mission.

Do you have a favorite spot where you like to journal?

My all time favourite place to journal was the lab that I worked in as a graduate student. I would arrive early and have the entire lab to myself for several hours. It was a quiet and peaceful way to start my day. Of course, my crew quarters in the HI-SEAS habitat will likely grow on me when the mission ends.

What was your first entry in Day One?

That’s difficult to say! I imported some old journal entries from another service when I discovered Day One, so the first entry that I have is a short story that I wrote on April 20th, 2011. The actual first entry I did in Day One is from January 24th, 2012 (I know because I wrote, “This is my first entry in this new program, Day One.”). In the entry I’m complaining about a lack of a word counter in Day One, something that I’m no longer preoccupied with.

How many entries do you have in your journal?

Current count is 357 entries, with 80 of those being made in the last 120 days.

What is your favorite or most-used feature in Day One?

Search, by a big margin, is my most commonly-used feature. One of the differentiating factors between Day One and other services is iCloud sync, which allows me to pull up past entries when I need them most.

Do you write mostly on the iPhone, iPad, or the Mac?

Whatever is conveniently in front of me. If I’m travelling, it will most likely be my iPad, if I’m around home, my Mac. I’ve found that the iPhone is the quickest way to attach a photo, though.

Do you follow any journal organization rules?

I only follow one rule: just write.

Have you ever relied on Day One for something unexpected, or used it to recall details about a specific event or date?

During the HI-SEAS mission we do a battery of daily surveys to assess our psychological well-being. Instead of letting all the writing disappear into the void, I copied most of it to Day One so that I could look it up later. It will certainly be interesting looking back on my experience at HI-SEAS and seeing what my thoughts were during the mission.

You can read about the HI-SEAS mission on HI-SEAS.org, follow my experiences on my personal blog, spincrisis.net.

About the Interviewer

Dallas Petersen is Day One’s product manager by day (and some nights). When he’s not working, he’s hanging out with his wife and five kids and/or playing board games.