For Tracy Schuster, a retired science and technology teacher, journaling is more than a mere pastime; it is an artful symphony of memories, musings, and creativity.
In this interview, we explore how Tracy’s journal became a cherished time capsule, blending laughter and nostalgia, all carefully curated with the Day One app.
How long have you been keeping a journal?
I started in 2013 after falling on a mountain bike ride in Moab, UT and needing something to fill the creative void left when I couldn’t make a big video production of the trip (as I usually did) due to the 18 stitches in my knee.
What makes journaling important to you?
Journaling with Day One is how my husband and I have tracked what we’ve done over the last 10 years. I send out a cartoon with our plastic skeleton and/or our dogs each day to a subscribing group and Day One keeps them organized and stored as well as providing a way for me to send them out.
Now that we are retired my husband and I sit down every morning and read over that day in history to see what we were up to each year and reminisce about our past life or just laugh at the cartoon. It’s a wonderful way to see where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, and remember fun, cute, and sometimes painful things that have made up our lives for the last decade. Making epic videos of our travels turned into making cartoons and writing about the day and a chance encounter with a 20” plastic skeleton on the clearance isle after Halloween 2013 has become a daily “job” that I love to engage in!
“My husband and I sit down every morning and read over that day in history to see what we were up to each year and reminisce about our past life or just laugh at the cartoon. It’s a wonderful way to see where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, and remember fun, cute, and sometimes painful things that have made up our lives for the last decade.”
What do you usually journal about?
Our journal is a combination of what we did each day as well as every day having a cartoon episode and commentary that I email out to followers. The cartoon is now 9 1/2 years along and it involves a 20” plastic skeleton named Heinrich and our new puppy Bennett along with other “friends” he has.
The cartoon episodes started as funny comics of our former dogs that I would make and send to my husband in the summer while I was off and he was at work and then morphed into “Hanging with Heinrich” after the skeleton joined our household in November of 2013. The episodes are generally related to things we are doing (so they also describe our daily lives and thoughts) or they encompass our take on various National Day Holidays.
When do you journal each day?
When I worked, it was at 4:30 in the morning before having to get ready for work, during my down time at work, or in the afternoon while waiting for my husband to come home. Now I fit it in any time I can, generally in the morning, lunch time, or mid afternoon if we are not busy. Often I will also add information and thoughts anytime throughout the day that they hit me.
What tips or advice would you give others who want to build a journaling habit?
For me, it was nice to have an audience (which at first was just my husband and now is many more people). I have a mother who is a career counselor and even wrote a book about journaling and she was always telling me I should start a journal (the rest of my family does journal). I balked at the idea – writing about my innermost thoughts and feelings just wasn’t up my alley.
Once I found a way to make journaling my own, and gave it a purpose I believed in, it’s been easy to carry on every day for over 9 1/2 years. The biggest suggestion is to make it your own and if nothing is coming to you on any given day, just take a picture and describe where it was or why you like it as a commitment to storing your days for possible future perusal.
What have you learned from keeping a journal?
That having the ability to look back and see where you where and what you were thinking is fascinating!! It has really helped me (and my husband) to remember all of the things and details of our life which would otherwise be frosted over by time.
What is your favorite thing about the Day One app?
The fact that we can click the On This Day widget on our home screen and read/view all of the entries for up to the last 10 years (I didn’t keep the journal daily until September of 2013 – there are some gaps). Seeing, reading, and often reliving the past so clearly is something I never thought I’d get into, but we really enjoy reading the last 10 years of entries and talking about the “Oh, remember…” that comes to us. I also appreciate the ability to quickly export my text and photos to other apps so I can send the daily episodes and commentary to my readers.
How has Day One helped you journal consistently?
The timeline shows you every day at a quick glance, and after a while you really feel like you need to keep the streak going so you can remember EVERY day, not just the big or particularly striking stuff along the way.
Journaling in Day One has been a lifesaver for keeping all of my thoughts and episodes in one, well organized place. Once I realized that journals can be what YOU want them to be, and that keeping a journal that is meaningful to you is beyond enjoyable and rewarding, I can’t imagine missing a day!
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The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit. Daily journaling reminders, daily writing prompts, and journal streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.