Please Print (A Journaling Rant)

In these historic times, many people have turned to journalling as a way of keeping account for the next generation. So when the grandkids ask what it was like to live through the 2020 Pandemic, you’ll be able grab your pipe, sit them on your lap, and regale them with yarns spun from your own written words.

I see so many that I know discussing how important their digital journalling app of choice has become for this purpose and… my heart sinks. I feel so sad for them. The reason….

None of these apps will be around.

Likely not in 10 years. Certainly not in 20 or 30 or 50.

Take it from a 52 year old who has lost more writing in his 30 years of computing than he has been able to save. The reason? They are on ZIP Disks in my basement using Clarisworks or it was into a BBS system that died silently or they are on a Colorado 250MB Tape Backup of my first computer (A home-brew 486/50 PC) or…


The history of computing has copious evidence to back me up on that bold statement. The evidence shows that Day One (who I will note bills themselves as a “journal for life”) will likely be long gone in 20 years (Go ahead and bookmark this post and come see me then if I’m wrong). Maybe when the company dies they’ll give you an exit plan to save your work or maybe they won’t. Even if you still have the files twenty years from now you won’t have a working app to open them with. Like those ZIP Disks in my basement, your best hope will be to have some old computers with the right app to be able to open them up and print them out.

Yes. Print. On paper. Why? Because, unlike your app, paper has a proven track record for lasting thousands of years if the conditions are right.

I still have the first piece of writing I ever published as a second grader in my elementary school newsletter because my Mom saved her mimeographed copy of it and gave it to me a few years ago. And, you know what? Unlike any of the digital formats I mentioned, I’ll be able to show it to my grandkids and they’ll be able to show it to theirs.

So please, I implore you, if you insist on journalling using any digital tool, please also regularly print what you are writing. Stick it somewhere cool and dry. Even print a couple of copies and put one somewhere offsite for extra security. If you really want to preserve this important history, and you really care about it, you’ll print it.

Or, you could save yourself a lot of trouble and just simply get a good notebook and write by hand. Use good paper. Use good ink. It’ll last for generations. The Library of Congress has a good guide on paper preservation worth checking out. But, even with none of those things, most paper should last hundreds of years if undisturbed.

09/01/2020, 08:52 – Colin Walker

Colin Walker is Writing by Hand

“There is something unexpectedly liberating about putting pen to paper in this manner, something I’ve not felt in a long time. It was previously a struggle to choose such an option over typing on the phone but I realise that was because I had the wrong tools. I was simply trying to force the issue rather than let it happen naturally.”

Tools that you love are tools that you’ll use.

How this Japanese method of saving money changed my life—and made me richer

How this Japanese method of saving money changed my life—and made me richer

What sets kakeibo apart, however, is that it doesn’t involve any budgeting software, apps or Excel sheets. Similar to bullet journaling, it emphasizes the importance of physically writing things down — as a meditative way to process and observe your spending habits.

A personal budgeting method that is kept by hand? What we believe in.

The linked article explains the “why’s” behind the system but not so much the “how’s”. This one does a fairly good job of that.

Note cards the size of a credit card – usem note cards

Note cards the size of a credit card – usem note cards

I was recently sent a package with a selection of Usem Note Cards. They are made of thick, high-quality, paper and 4-5 of them stacked are about the thickness of a credit card. Very easy to slip into a wallet so I always have something to jot down a quick note without having to carry a notebook. Really great if you have to jot down something to hand off to someone.

Stamps, Scientific Charts, and Hand-Drawn Maps Occupy Every Inch of Travel Notebooks by José Naranja | Colossal

Stamps, Scientific Charts, and Hand-Drawn Maps Occupy Every Inch of Travel Notebooks by José Naranja | Colossal

“Author and artist José Naranja ensures he won’t forget any detail of his year-round travels across the globe through a meticulous and unique documentation process. Formerly an aeronautic engineer, Naranja now archives his thoughts while visiting foreign countries by hand-crafting journals replete with items like collected stamps, an illustration of the periodic table, and a study of fountain pens. Each mixed-media page centers on a theme, such as the culture surrounding eating a bowl of ramen or the flamingos found in a zoo.”

Wow! These are just beautiful. Click through the link for more photos.

The French Paper Mill That Sold to Dalí and Picasso – YouTube

For 700 years, the Richard de Bas paper mill has produced some of the world’s finest paper. The French constitution is printed on paper from this mill. And artists like Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall were customers. Emmanuel runs the business today. His great grandfather bought the mill in Ambert, France, during World War II, and it has stayed in the family ever since. It’s one of the last in France where paper is made by hand.

(via Kottke)