Kt Anderson recently crossed the impressive milestone of 1,100 consecutive days of journaling. Kt resides in Olathe, Kansas, as an electrical engineer by day and a photographer in her free time.
In this interview, we asked Kt about the importance of journaling and for advice on how to build a long-term journaling habit.
How long have you been keeping a journal?
I kept a handwritten journal off and on as a child, in high school and in college. I was never very consistent though. I would have sporadic entries months or even years apart. One of my first “digital journals” was stored on a 3X5 floppy disk using note files. I used a hand-me-down computer to write the entries.
I started using Day One before my first baby was born in 2018. I was researching better ways to log my pregnancy and random baby facts. Some of the biggest features I desired were full resolution images (there are many apps that downgrade your images and Day One does not), being able to export my entries and printing within the app.
What makes journaling important to you?
Journaling is so important because, even at the age of 30, my memory is so bad! Even other people that remember (or think they remember) so many memories have trouble recalling the details. The details of a moment are what truly help you relive it again. For example, the morning my first daughter was born I remember how brisk the air was at 2am when we left for the hospital. It reminded me of mornings in the mountains of Colorado, where I grew up. It’s little details like that that I would never remember if I hadn’t written them down.
I have 4 little kids: 1 month, 19 months, 3 years, 4 years. Admittedly, this contributes to my memory not being the greatest. I’ve been in a fog of sleep deprivation for quite a few years. Journaling is so important to capture the funny things they say, daily moments that become traditions or all of their “firsts.” I think about how lucky I am to have this tool to write down memories of their childhood wherever I go. It may not seem like it at the time but every day I’m writing down my family history. I often think how amazing it would be to have a detailed account of moments from my grandparent’s childhood. What I write down is what will be preserved of this moment in time, their childhood and our family.
What do you usually journal about?
I journal about anything from my kids, our family outings, vacations, my own memories from childhood, photography inspiration, personal health and fitness, people I meet, and genealogy research.
When do you journal each day?
I journal throughout the day. I have a shortcut on my iPhone and a shortcut icon on my home screen to my main journal. This shortcut creates an entry for the day of the year and the time that I’m writing. Throughout the day, each time I write something new, a new paragraph will be amended to the same entry with a timestamped header above it. So, whether I’m journaling at 3am or 3pm, the future reader (my descendants?), will know what time I made that comment throughout the day.
This method allows me to put random quotes or bullet points within entries and not feel guilty about writing one liners or half thoughts.
What tips or advice would you give others who want to build a journaling habit/streak?
I really started creating the habit when I started a “365 photo journal.” My initial goal wasn’t even journalling. I wanted to take a single photo for every day of the year and put a caption at minimum. This is why my entries are labeled 1-366. My 365 project turned into a journaling habit. I still keep the habit of one photo/day almost 3 years later but in addition I write about our day.
My one piece of advice would be to just write SOMETHING. If that means adding a photo and one single line as a caption then do that. You won’t write novels of journaling every day or even most days. Some of my entries are so minimal and that’s what a habit takes. Define your minimum and stick to it. If you miss a day? Who cares, keep going.
Another piece of advice would be to “begin with the end in mind.” For me this meant knowing what I wanted to print. I print my 365 project for each year. This means each one of those entries I have a #365Pics tag. At the end of the year I only need to filter by that tag and press go on ordering a Day One Book. The book is already done for me because I put that tag on each daily entry. If you know exactly what you want your end result to look like then beginning and completing it will make it manageable.
What have you learned from keeping a journal for over 1,100 days?
I’ve learned that little moments aren’t as mundane when you start writing them down. I get inspired by my own journal entries from the past. When I smile at really simple things that I’ve written down.
For example, “We stopped by the big tree at the park today. The boys wanted to climb it. I love this tree so much.” A year later they cut the big tree at the park down. I still smile when I think about that tree and see that entry though.
What is your favorite thing about the Day One app?
“I’ve learned that little moments aren’t as mundane when you start writing them down. I get inspired by my own journal entries from the past. I smile at really simple things that I’ve written down.”
I love that I can carry all of my memories around with me. As a busy mom I love that I can add to them quickly and not have to sit with dedicated time at a desk to write them down.
How has Day One helped you journal consistently for 1,100 days?
Always having my journal with me on my phone and computer is what helps me the most. Years ago, I debated between having a handwritten journal vs having a type/text journal. I love a handwritten journal so much. When handwritten journals are handed down from grandparents or previous generations, I love the sentimentality of seeing someone’s own handwriting. However, I came to the conclusion that getting my words and everyday experiences out in any format was better than not at all. If I were to keep a physical journal then there would be very few entries during this busy season of my life.
What else you would like to share about your journaling streak?
“These are the Days” is the name of my main journal. This is to remind myself that “These are the days” no matter what stage of life I’m in. Every season is significant in its own way and it’s worth remembering. This is what motivates me to keep journaling daily about big and small moments alike.
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The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit. Daily reminders, daily writing prompts, and journaling streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.