Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekly writing coach: Oh Life! A journal that prompts you to write

I must admit that daily journaling, until recently, was one of the few writing tasks I still did by hand. But while I miss that break from the keyboard (and still pen the occasional entry), I've become a fan of Oh Life!, which emails you nightly at 8pm in your time zone to ask how your day went--and shows you a previous entry from a week or month ago to get you started. From there, all you need to do is hit "reply" and write your entry for the day.
Smart writers will know right away that this need not be a personal journal, but a tool that prompts you to work on whatever needs work on a regular basis.  Here are some ways I'd use this program to advance your writing:
  • To collect thoughts on a particular assignment (you can look at your entries online anytime, with complete security);
  • To work on a fix to your writing that needs attention, now.  Need to nail your opening lines, paragraph structure, or self-edits?  Here's a tool that will remind you to practice daily.
  • To put lines down.  Sometimes, the best way to improve your writing is just to do it, no assignment necessary. Use the journal to record what you see, what impressed you, what you want to try.
  • To record your writing accomplishments privately.  Keeping a record of what you've done well and how you did it can help you see your progress over time...and might make the basis for a well-reasoned pitch for a raise or advancement later.
  • To record ideas for pitches, articles and future projects. You've got to keep them somewhere, or you'll forget. Why not spend 5 to 15 minutes a day brainstorming and recording the results?
Of course, you can use Oh Life! as I do--a regular daily journal. It's simple and elegant enough to have taken the pen out of my hand, but help me stay consistent in my journal entries.  What do you do to journal? Share your habits and preferences in the comments.

Learn how to be a dynamic speaker in my next two-day workshop, Good on Your Feet: A dynamic speaking skills workshop, November 3 and 4 in Washington, DC.

Subscribe to For Communications Directors, my free monthly newsletter, which features content before it appears here on the blog.  Then head over to don't get caught on Facebook, where you'll see new social media trends, technology and communications issues as they crop up during the week--and great conversations with our community of communicators.

No comments: