Keeping journals, diaries, thoughts private and any templates, ideas to get started????

I am eager to get started on a journal / potential biography that is 100% truthful, since I have always wanted to write a book. I like the process of doing it w/ paper and pen, not online, but maybe online is a safer idea. Any good paper templates out there, ways/ideas to get started and/or websites that let them selves to creative journaling?

My fears, that I will lose a paper journal or someone will read it. Do they make LOCKED journals for adults. This is EMBARASSING TO ASK, but perhaps someone has the same FEARS????

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My solution

My fears, that I will lose a paper journal or someone will read it. Do they make LOCKED journals for adults. This is EMBARASSING TO ASK, but perhaps someone has the same FEARS????

I use one of my workstations and type anything sensistive. It is then encrypted with military-grade encryption for which only I know the password. No fear of anyone looking at my private material.

You might want to look at GNU Privacy Guard which for legal reasons is not hosted in the US. There are versions for pretty much every operating system including the common one that has very poor security features. And if you have something that isn't supported out of the box then the source code is available so you can build your own version. Oh yeah, and as it's free software it doesn't cost you anything and because it's also open source software you can check the code tomake sure that there aren't any backdoors in it as some of its commerical equivalents were rumoured to contain.

If you're using a Mac with OS X you can do something similar by trying on File Vault ... but that encrypts the entire contents of a disc, which could be a performance killer and you can't be sure there isn't a bookdoor for FBI/CBI snoops to use.

Hm.....

And if you have something that isn't supported out of the box then the source code is available so you can build your own version. Oh yeah, and as it's free software it doesn't cost you anything and because it's also open source software you can check the code tomake sure that there aren't any backdoors in it as some of its commerical equivalents were rumoured to contain.

Reep-

I hate to say it, but I suspect that approximately 100% of the people reading this couldn't hope to do the above. I also suspect that few of them are worried about the FBI. ;-) I suspect, therefore, that the simpler tricks--password-protected Word documents, etc. probably suffice. :-)

Now, as to the paper journal. My thought? Get a Moleskin, and put a label on the outside that says something silly, like "Recipes" or "Shopping List", and then, inside the cover, make sure your contact info is right there, and visible. Next, make the first page or three actually _look_ like the cover says (recipes, or shopping lists, with checked off, and scribbled-over items). And then, hope that nobody gets past the first couple pages. It's more the "purloined letter" approach, but that often works better than screaming out "I'm TOP SECRET!"

-Jon

It's what I would do

Get a Moleskine, or something of the sort, if I were hoping to do such a thing. I can't possibly think of a reason why I'd want to hide and proof what I write that much.

I'm sure that somewhere (like Barnes and Nobles) there are paper journals with locks that don't look like they were made for a 7-year-old.

This said, there is hack potential there. Like a leather cover with a lock...

Not quite ...

I hate to say it, but I suspect that approximately 100% of the people reading this couldn't hope to do the above.

Jon, you're almost right :-) but it's 99.9% not 100%; I did check the gpg code before I installed it on the Linux workstation where I keep my not-for-anyone-else materials. :-) The use of military-grade encryption is a little over the top I will admit but it depends upon how fearful one is of other people's prying eyes. And paranoia about the FBI/CIA may be over the top but you never know. I want to see my MI5/6 file.

Personally I've heard too many horror stories of password protected Word documents becoming corrupted to trust that one. Plus what are implications of the Microsoft switch to OpenXML as Word's native format? It's a plain text XML-format so how does it work with password protection. Also that password scheme is trivially broken; as is the one used for PDF.

(lulu, as Jon may recall from reading my earlier posts here, I was a computing scientist who worked on document management/retrieval systems for many years so my focus is probably tighter than your's.)

Now, as to the paper journal. My thought? Get a Moleskin, and put a label on the outside that says something silly, like "Recipes" or "Shopping List", and then, inside the cover, make sure your contact info is right there, and visible.

Such a "hide in plain sight" approach to secrecy is okay until someone is actually looking for recipes or shopping lists. They innocently go looking for something and find a bunch of secrets instead. The content may be tasty but would leave lulu with a bitter taste. Plus paper has the whole "lost book" problem.

Me too

I also use GPG.

--
Steff
[ blog | photos ]

You got me...

Jon, you're almost right :-) but it's 99.9% not 100%;

But if I had written what I originally meant to write (but somehow, between the idea and the writing, the words got changed...), "100% of _your_ readers" would exclude you! ;-)

-Jon

Write me about it ...

between the idea and the writing, the words got changed...

I know that problem only too well. :-) One of the reasons that I so dislike keeping journals --- especially when forced to do so --- the written form of my ideas never quite matches the imagined form.

Use a locking drawer or firesafe?

You could ignore the locking of the book itself if you had a secure place for storage, something like a locking drawer or a small document firesafe.

Who are you afraid will find your intimate thoughts -- parents? your child? a friend? As far as I know, my spouse has never read my journal -- and there are some things that could have potentially upset her -- things she has never "thrown in my face".

I like paper and ink rather than computers. I am forced to use computers all day. At home, I prefer simpler choices. And a book is completely portable and can be accessed anywhere. AND, I can tell by my handwriting the mood of some writings -- sometimes the words are okay, but the penmanship shows the tension.... I hope in many years when I have gone to my eternal reward that my precious grandson will find in my handwritten words a real human being who struggled to do what was right and sought to honor his commitments to spouse and God. Somehow, a document output doesn't conjure the same warm mental images.

The Passionate Pilgrim
-- Excellence through Simplicity

what's wrong with ruled paper?

I would definitely not put it online. If you really, really want to do it in electronic form, you could possibly use a notetaking program on the computer that allows password protection (sorry, I have no recommendations). But my vote is still with the paper. You don't have to worry about your hard drive crashing and losing it all.

I'm not sure you need any special template for journaling Just get yourself a nice notebook and good pen and some place to lock it up.

-Kenny

The paper version ...

You don't have to worry about your hard drive crashing and losing it all.

The security risks are different for paper. Flood, fire, theft. At least with a hard drive there will be a backup; we all do backup our hard drives don't we. And even if we don't there are data recovery cmpanies who can retrieve the information off the deadest drive. Hard to retrieve information from a pile of ashes.

And with ruled paper there's still the possiblity that someone will look at the content, which lulu doesn't want to happen, whether by accident or design.

Writing a book?

...a journal / potential biography that is 100% truthful, since I have always wanted to write a book
Are you intending to publish your biography someday? If so, then I suggest that you make it as honest as you can but not so scathingly truthful (from your point of view) as to greatly hurt or defame someone.

If you're writing it for yourself but are concerned that someone may read it, then I suggest you come up with a list of pseudonyms for the people you're being very truthful about.

Back in middle school or so,

Back in middle school or so, my cousin had a small locking safe that housed her journal and such. Would that be an option for you?

The size you got would depend on how many past journals you might want to keep in there as well, I suppose.

Triple Scorpio Paranoia

Funny you should bring this up...I just started a journal. I am determined to keep this one going. The thing is, part of my resistance to journaling is that I don't want it to be read by anyone. It's not a case of writing trash about anybody, it's that I'm private.
I don't want to know everyone's intimate thoughts and I really don't want my navel-gazing known. I recognize the value of self-examination, though and that's my motivation. That, and that my not-remotely a snooper husband just gifted me with 4 creamy dreamy Eccolo journals!

Use WinZip's encryption

I put a similar question here: http://www.diyplanner.com/node/5547

Since then, I discovered that good ol' WinZip allows great encryption capabilities. Word and Excel's password protection are probably good enough for protection from room-mates or family members but true encryption really secures your data. My bottom line, no one is going to read my private stuff. Not only is my journal encrypted but also my Word doc containing account passwords.

Journal in Agenda

I use a Circa Agenda and put in a few blank sheets in one of the sections. Once I write a few pages, I transfer them to my "archive" book at home. That way I never have more than a few pages of my journal on me at a time and it's sort of hiding in plain view since it's in just a section in my agenda.

If you want to go the online route, I'd suggest either livejournal or wordpress. Both sites allow for entries marked as private only.