The Way I Journal: Cecily Walker

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

[Cecily] My name is Cecily Walker @skeskali, and I’m a public librarian and emerging front-end developer based in Vancouver, BC. I’ve also worked as a user experience professional. I’m also on the editorial board of In The Library with the Lead Pipe, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of library and information science. Although these things are what I do for money and to contribute to the profession, I’m a polymath at heart. I love learning, being in a state of growth and development, and challenging myself to learn new things.

When and why did you start journaling?

I can’t think of a time when I didn’t keep a journal of some sort. I’ve done it for most of my life. My problem has been consistency and — to be frank — boredom. I started because of an elementary school assignment. Our teacher wanted to help us improve our writing skills and to feel like we could write without judgment (although we had to submit our journals for credit) so that we would be free to write about whatever we wanted. I don’t really remember what those early entries were about, but I remember I liked making the time to sit down and reflect and work on finding a better, more polished way to convey my thoughts and emotions.

What is your journaling routine?

I don’t really have a routine. I tend to write when I need to think a solution thorugh, whether personal or professional. For awhile I used a daily journal Launch Center Pro action to force me into capturing the little details of my day, but the rigid structure of those kinds of entries didn’t appeal for very long. I’ve pretty much moved to Day One for journal keeping instead of paper journals. I still keep a notebook for recording meeting notes and action items for work, but for my personal use, I only ever write digitally. I type faster than I can write longhand, and since being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, writing longhand for any stretch of time is quite painful. I’ve read writing advice that suggests you should only write in longhand and only at the start of each day. Those hard and fast rules have never worked for me. I almost always have my MacBook, my iMac, my iPhone or iPad nearby, so Day One has lowered the barrier to writing. When my preferred tool is at my fingertips, I write more.

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

I mostly capture small memories, thoughts, or fleeting (yet interesting) images that float through my day. I’ve used Day One to help me formulate longer blog posts (which, for me, is anything over 1,000 words). I envy people who can focus on one type of writing and do that really, really well. I’m more of a mood writer.

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

In my office at work, which overlooks one of Vancouver’s busiest streets and which, on clear days, provides the tiniest sliver of a mountain view. Watching people move through the city, or looking at the sun shining down on snow-capped mountains helps me organize my thoughts.

What was your first entry in Day One?

A photo entry of young boy on a bike as he rode around the seawall near my apartment. The title is “Summer’s On The Way.” It was unseasonably warm and the days had become noticeably longer.

How many entries do you have in your journal?

312 entries, 181 photos.

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

Probably photo importing, though I wish it were possible to add more than one photo (I know this is possible with HTML and/or Markdown, but it would be great if that wasn’t needed). The automatic geolocation is probably my second-most used feature. It means I don’t have to capture those details myself.

The Day One team is developing multiple photo support for entries. Once that is available how will it change the way you journal?

Sometimes instead of writing, I like to create visual stories. Stringing a series of photos together is the way I like to do that. Being able to use Day One in this way would make creating these stories easier. I also think it would make it more likely that I would use Day One to capture more memories/moments from the day.

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

Mostly on the iPhone because a lot of my entries are only photos, no text.

Do you follow any journal organization rules?

None. I like a little anarchy in my life. 😉

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

I’ve been using Day One to keep track of my rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups and my thoughts about possible environmental triggers, like diet, amount of sleep, and stress. It’s been really helpful to have this information immediately available during the appointments with the rheumatologist.

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.

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