The Way I Journal: Bakari Chavanu

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

[Bakari] My name is Bakari Chavanu @Bakari45, and I’m a freelance writer, blogger, author, and staff writer for I sometimes wear a few other hats, including a professional meeting facilitator. I’m happy to announce that I recently published my first iBook, Starting From Day One: Using the Day One Journaling App to Record and Enrich Your Life. And this past January I started a new blog and project called National Journal Writing Month. NaJoWriMo will be held again in April, July, and October.

When and why did you start journaling?

I started journal writing back in 1980 as a part an English course assignment, and I continued the habit of journaling throughout my college and teaching years. I realized that journal writing was and is a powerful tool for personal growth, problem solving, monitoring goals, and documenting my life over time.

What is your journaling routine?

I try to write in my journal on a daily basis, either in the morning or in the evening. I often use journal writing most when working on a long range project (as a motivation and processing tool) or taking on a monthly journal writing challenge with prompts created by me or other journal writers. I also mostly dictate my journal entries on my iMac, using Dragon Dictate. Since I do a lot of typing, it’s a nice relief to voice dictate sometimes twice as much as I would manually typing. I’m also fortunate to have Day One installed on my iPhone, my iPad Air and iPad mini, and my Mac computers, all of which keeps Day One accessible wherever I go.

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

I do both. I like writing lists, occasional daily logs of my work day, descriptions of events and personal experiences in my life, and longform, often stream of consciousness, entries about issues that are bothering me. I use journaling to work through problems.

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

When I have the time, I prefer journal writing on my iPad mini, while sitting in bed, or in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. For some reason, typing on my iPad mini with an external keyboard makes it feel like I’m writing in a paper notebook, though that shouldn’t matter because I rarely write with pen and paper any more. Unfortunately, however, I don’t always have to the time to actually write using the iPad mini.

What was your first entry in Day One?

My first entry was January 29th, 2011, shortly after the death of my mother. That entry was about her passing away, and how I felt about it. But I didn’t actually start using Day One on a regular basis until the photo feature was added.

How many entries do you have in your journal?

As of this writing, 1,521. Last year I only missed like four days of writing in Day One.

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

I totally like tagging my entries. (I devote a chapter to tagging in my book.) Tagging is the best way to filter entries and export them to PDF for reading and printing. Because of the tags feature I don’t feel that Day One particularly needs a folder or multiple journal feature. Each tag or set of tags constitutes a set of journal entries.

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

I mostly write on my iMac, and browse and read entries on my iPad Air.

Do you follow any journal organization rules?

I try to be honest with myself when writing. I try not to allow the thoughts of my family members reading my journals after I die to get in the way of writing honestly. I’m still not sure, though, if I’ll ever delete my journal, or that I may delete entries I don’t want my family to read.

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

Sometimes browsing back in my journal I do discover small experiences or bits of information that have slipped my mind. And I always use Day One at the end of the year to look back and review what I accomplished, and what challenges I faced.

You’ve recently created a book about journaling and Day One. Can you tell us a little more about that? What was your motivation for creating it?

I was inspired by David Sparks to write a multimedia eBook. I felt the iBooks format would be perfect for writing about Day One and digital journaling. I wanted my book to be browsable, whereby readers could use it more as a guide than a book that needs to be read from cover to cover. Using the iBooks image gallery widgets and pop-ups made writing about the Day One features a littler easier to explain, and again readers can simply go to chapters about application features and journal writing strategies and tips they need to know about. I hope the book will be useful for those new to Day One, and that it will will provide journaling ideas for those who want to develop and maintain the journal writing habit.

Win a Copy of “Starting From Day One”

The first 10 readers to retweet this article will receive a promo code to download Bakari’s new iBook. Enjoy!

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.

Journal from here, there, everywhere.

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