Streak Stories

800 Days with Amelia Amuso

Amelia Amuso, a dedicated teacher from Melbourne, Australia, has a profound relationship with journaling. From her early experiences of using journaling as a tool to process emotions during childhood transitions, to her discovery of Day One and its transformational impact on her life, Amelia’s story is a testament to the power of reflection and self-discovery.

With 22 separate journals documenting various aspects of her life, including travel adventures and professional reflections, Amelia unveils how journaling has become her anchor, providing clarity and capturing the essence of treasured moments.

How long have you been keeping a journal?

I’ve had sporadic periods of journaling throughout my life. Journaling was something I came to rely on in early childhood after moving from Adelaide to Melbourne as a way to process how I was feeling. Of course, I didn’t realise that was what I was doing at the time, but it helped me make sense of what was happening and felt very natural to me.

I picked up the habit again late in high school and kept a handwritten journal. I found Day One in 2013 just before my first trip overseas and intended to use it just to travel journal, but I’ve found that my journaling habits have expanded with my life since then.

What makes journaling important to you? 

It compliments all aspects of my life. When I first started using Day One, I wanted a way to remember the small moments and document my travels. I took an iPad, I took a photo and wrote about it, trying to jam as much detail into those entries as I could. I wanted to remember exactly how it felt to fly over the Grand Canyon in sheer disbelief of how vast it was, or how it felt driving into New York on a coach for the first time. I wanted to capture the conversations I had with people just going about their life so that they would remain with me forever. Those moments were incredibly important to me. It was probably the first time I was every truly present in my life and gave me a wider appreciation of the need to remain present everyday. Journaling serves as the anchor to myself I never knew I needed. 

“It was probably the first time I was every truly present in my life and gave me a wider appreciation of the need to remain present everyday. Journaling serves as the anchor to myself I never knew I needed.”

What do you usually journal about?

The three journals with the most entries are my travel journal, my work journal and one I’ve named ‘mates’. 

I’ve printed six Day One books for trips I’ve taken. One thing I love about looking back over these books, aside from the memories, is the process of trial and error I can see about the type of journaling I am doing and what form feels most natural. I settled with a pretty simple template that outlines where I am, what I’m doing, the key take-aways or recommendations, as well as the feeling I’m left with. I find that gives me a quite a spectrum of experience to document in addition to the photos I can attach to them.

As a teacher, reflection is so important as part of my practice. Earlier in my career, I would spend quite a bit of time at the end of each day reflecting on class lessons, the successes or the ‘wins’ I called them, the failures, and some focus on my next steps. On my toughest days, it was nice just to be reminded that I had experienced success and that the feeling was temporary.

In Australia, 1 in 5 graduate teachers leave the profession within the first five years. Knowing this, and being uncertain of how long of a career in teaching I would have, I really wanted to make sure that I had something to show for the years I’d chosen to dedicate to teaching. Not just to have something fond to look back on, but also to document the things I found really challenging about being a teacher early in the profession and to process and explore ways of overcoming those challenges.

Seven years on, and one pandemic later, I have more than I could have ever bargained for in terms of evidence of my time teaching. My work journaling  these days often takes the form of professional reading reflections with some discussion about incorporating different pedagogies into my practice. Of late, I’m experimenting with experiential learning and learning through movement, but I find I rely on this practice as much if not more today than I did when I first started. It is an integral part of keeping teaching fresh and interesting for me.

When do you journal each day?

I will often journal at the end of the day – once the day is done and I’ve had a second to unpack the day. Some days I’ll simply mark in my journal what I want to do and spend some time in the morning on a weekend to reflect. 

What tips or advice would you give others who want to build a journaling habit?

My advice would be to try not to be a perfectionist about it. If you’re looking to develop a habit, find a way to journal that is natural to you and allow it to grow as you want it to and as life ebbs and flows. There might be topics you don’t write about for months and others you write about everyday. That’s one thing I really enjoy about journaling – it’s flexible and moves with you. If you’re wanting to develop a streak my suggestion would be to try a gratitude journal. Everyone can find one thing they can be grateful for each day. 

What have you learned from keeping a journal?

I’ve learned a lot about myself through journaling. Writing has definitely been a lifeline for me throughout my years of journaling. It has been really empowering for me to find a way to process life events that works for me and allows me ease to look back on how far I’ve come.

What is your favorite thing about the Day One app?

I have always loved the way Day One collects and displays location data. Since I began using Day One to document my travels, I found this feature really complimented my journaling. The pins on Map View are like little footprints showing me where I’ve lived my life. 

Map View of Amelia’s travels in the Day One Mac app

What specific templates, prompts, shortcuts, or reminders do you use on a regular basis (if any?)

One of the goals I’ve set for myself over the last three years is to read more. Initially, it started with nonfiction, but this year, I’ve challenged myself to read more fiction and to read more books than I did last year (20) which I’ve already achieved.

Amelia’s Book Library journal

One of the ways I use Day One daily is to log or record these reading reflections. I use the pin function on the timeline view to list the books on my TBR list and that forms the basis of my reflections when I start reading that book. I just copy and paste the template when I’m ready to read the book.

Amelia’s reading reflections

Another way I use day one daily is to tick off my to-do list. I will often spend some time in the evening writing the things I need to get done by the end of the next day and gradually tick them off as I complete them. Sometimes I’ll list the meetings and prep work I need to complete for work, other days it’s all about the life admin I need the motivation to complete. There’s something about the satisfaction of ticking off those items that makes it incredibly motivating for me. 

How has Day One helped you journal more consistently? 

Ease of access has been huge. Since the beginning, I’ve always had both the iOS version and the Mac version. I preferred the iOS app to reflect at the end of the day, and would do much of my long form journaling on my iPad or MacBook. Always having it ‘there’ means it’s never far when inspiration or the need to journal strikes. 

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Journal from here there and everywhere mobile devices image.Journal from here there and everywhere mobile devices image.