11th July 2019

After just over 6 months, I’m stopping writing my daily journal entries.

Originally I was aiming to complete an entire year, and then rethink what I was going to do with it. However, it’s been about a week that I haven’t written a single entry, and surprisingly I’ve been totally fine with it. And as it’s reached the 6-month milestone, it feels like a good time to stop, have some time off, and refocus on the next thing.

Stats

Just because I can, here are a few quick stats:

  • 183 total entries
  • 30,579 total words
  • 167 averages words per post

And some additional graphs:

Average Number of Words in Each Journal Entry by Month

Number of Words in Each Journal Entry

What I’ve Learned

I’ve certainly learned a few things from the process though. Mainly that I like writing and especially personal logs, that I can write down quite easily, without a ton of research.

Something that made it really easy was automation, obviously. I’ve written about my automation before on the blog. First with “How I Automate My Daily Journal”, where I discussed the way I reminded myself to write, and also to generate a new file based upon a template. And also with “How I Automate Publishing Blog Posts”, where I go through how I take a markdown file and publish it to the blog.

However, even though it was relatively friction-free to write and publish journal entries to my blog, sometimes it just felt like a chore. Especially when a day was simply too boring to write about, where I was just forcing myself to write something.

What It Means for the Future

If I’m going to take anything away from this for the future of this blog, it’s that I enjoy writing about more personal experiences. So while I’m not promising anything, that’s the direction I want to go down.

I also want to combine that with some more photography of mine. I take tons of photos, and I just don’t feel that Instagram is a good place to host all of that. After trips, I’ve shared photos on the blog before, where I select a handful of my favourites, and this is the style I will most likely continue.

But in general, I want this blog to feel more like my blog. I’m steering away from generic tech review and Apple news. Because there are so many good writers covering that stuff already, and I’m fine with reading what they have to say, rather than me repeating most of what’s already out there. So hopefully I can start living up to the appropriately named “Chris Hannah” blog.

You’ll also notice that the Journal category has been moved from the top navigation menu to the sidebar.

17th May 2019

Since the start of this year, I’ve been writing a daily journal on a separate part of this blog.

After I started writing the entries, I realised I didn’t want the boring task of creating the file in a specific directory, and creating the same title/header over and over again. So I added a tiny bit of automation.

Things Task

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The first thing I did was to set up a task in Things, that repeated every day, simply to tell me to write my journal. After a while, I noticed that I would sometimes get very close to 12 before remembering about it. So I added a reminder for 11 pm, which gives me a bit of time to delay and still get it done in time.

Journal Template Shortcut

To take the hassle out of creating the initial file, I created a relatively small shortcut that creates the template and opens it in iA Writer.

I have a specific directory for my journal entries, and this keeps them all in one place.

It also uses the current date to create the filename and the heading for the post.

From there, it opens iA Writer, so I can jot down what I did in that day. And it’s ready to be published

You can download my “Journal Template” shortcut for reference.

Linking the Shortcut to the Things Task

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While Things is useful enough to help me remember I need to write my entry, and the shortcut helps to create the initial file, I also linked these together.

I did that by adding a custom URL into the body of the Things task, so whenever it notified me, I could tap on the task and then on the link. It would then launch the shortcut, and lets me immediately start writing.

It also allows me to not starting right away, as sometimes I’m not in the best place to do it, or I just want to put it off a bit longer.

The url is quite simple, and is in the following format:

shortcuts://run-shortcut?name={name}

{name} is the name of the Shortcut, but URL encoded. You may be able to work this out yourself, but my app Text Case can also do this for you.

More Automation

After I finish writing my journal entry for the day, I then publish it to my blog. I use the built-in “New Draft on WordPress” share extension, which then opens the draft in Safari where I can add the category, and publish.

It’s a reasonably quick task, but something else I plan on automating. So in the near future, I will be creating another shortcut, that can take the latest journal entry and publish it to my blog using the specific category and time I like.