Tricks for keeping a journal that improves with age

  1. Your job is to document what’s happened, and how it affected you
  2. A good journal isn’t about revenge
  3. Stick to the facts
  4. Don’t accuse or speculate with the intent to accuse. Blaming others leads to a victim mentality. Yes, sometimes we are victimized, but wallowing in the mentality doesn’t help.
  5. No name calling
  6. Capture some detail
  7. Draw. Even a bad drawing is better than no drawing.
  8. Write what you can use – plans, lists, etc.
  9. Read your journal from time to time. If you don’t read it you won’t improve, and you won’t get a lot of the value it can provide. You also won’t learn what content is most valuable to you.
  10. Try not to write for the sake of writing, or for some kind of effect – journalling is not an effective way of getting attention, and all that stuff is annoying to wade through when you’re reading it later.
  11. Be honest about yourself. You are the primary audience, are you fooling yourself?
  12. You probably won’t appreciate the drama you write
  13. Don’t use an adjective unless you must. This is useful advice for all writing.

We all have moments when we just need to vent and poop all over the page. Fine, do it on a legal pad, fold the sheet and stick it in your journal. Look at it a month later and if you really think it’s got value leave it in there. Most of the time you’ll roll your eyes and toss it, and it’s gone.

Following these rules will give you a journal that has more value in the future with the added benefit of being less of a liability today.

Parker Sonnet Ballpoint Review

I bought the Parker Sonnet because I wanted a nicer looking pen for an upcoming business trip, and I didn’t want to take a fountain pen, and I wanted the pen to take Parker refills.

Amazon had it on sale, so I ordered the black and gold version:

The girth is medium, perhaps a bit thick for a ballpoint but medium for pens in general. Not a tight fit for most of the pen sleeves in the bags I use these days. It’s twist operated, so opening it one handed is no problem.

The clip is fairly firm, but has little reveal, so digging this out of a deep sleeve could be difficult. My current bags all have short sleeves so it’s not an issue. The clip does flex a bit side to side, which I don’t care for.

The gold section at the end and the black barrel shift ever so slightly while writing. It’s so slight that I’m still not 100% sure it’s happening, because when I try to shift them with two hands can’t detect it. Only while writing. It’s a minor thing really.

Unscrewing the two halves opens the pen for refill replacement and there is no spring or other parts coming out of either side. I like this.

I got the pen in late 2019, and I’ve been using it exclusively since then, which is why it looks a bit worn in the photo. It’s comfortable, and the mechanism operates the same as it did when I got it. Will it last forever? Hmmmm…probably not, but the nice thing about ballpoints is that I don’t feel like they have to.

So if you’re looking for a decent ballpoint that is formal in a generic sort of way, that is nice to hold this could be a good choice.

[UPDATE 1/15/2023] I don’t know if it is just the unit I got, or a chronic flaw in Sonnet ballpoints, but mine has developed a looseness between the upper barrel and the lower barrel. When the point is extended the looseness is gone but a there’s a gap that shows up (just to the left of the gold band in the photo).

Basically the threaded portion in the upper barrel is coming loose. I can send the pen back for repair, but it’s now out of warranty.

Recording Thoughts Reboot

Welcome to the reboot of Recording Thoughts!

Back in March of 2005 I started a blog called Recording Thoughts where I wrote about pens and paper, journaling and writing, and how to record thoughts in general. I posted off and on up until about 2016 when life circumstances meant I just couldn’t writ much. It limped along until I shut it down in 2020.

The photo from the header on the first layout I used. Remember when Palm Pilots were a thing?

Well life has calmed down quite a bit and I miss writing about these things, so I decided to restart the blog. Unfortunately, between changing hosts a few times and other challenges the backups I’d made before the shutting the site down were far from usable so it’s going to be more of a reboot than a restart!