I think so.
Starting off with pen and paper journals, after a week or so of writing, I found that long-form writing was not only hurting, but that I could type faster than I could write, which would allow me better flow when getting my thoughts out on the page. So, I looked to switch to software instead.
Journal Software I Tried Over the Years
This was my first journaling app (it looks pretty different now). It was pretty basic, but I still got excited about the prospect of a digital journal and used it for a few months. For whatever reason I can’t remember, something was missing, so I searched for a different app.
This was my next journaling suite and I used it for about 4 years. It was good software and packed with features, but ultimately the wealth of features made the process more complex than it needed to be for me. The interface aged badly and felt more like old Microsoft word processing software than journal software.
When I began using Ubuntu-based laptops alongside my windows machine, I switched Rednotebook. It was very streamlined and fast to use, but the problems with Rednotebook were that inline tags made journal entries look messy. Support for images was there, but if you then viewed them on another device, they were missing.
Then in 2019, I stumbled across Diarium which I could use on my Windows desktop and on my phone. The rest is history.
What I Like About Diarium
It Looks Good
I strongly believe that to encourage regular use, software has to look and feel good. Of course it has to function, but just as it’s nicer to write in a high-quality journal with a really good pen, the same goes for software.
Diarium presents your journal in an attractive format with light and dark themes. You can opt for Timeline or Calendar View to see your entries. I like calendar view as it provides a thumbnails from your first entry of each day across the calendar grid. This provides a basic visual reference for each month.
On top of that, the actual writing interface is very clean and easy to use. The developer Timo Partl is keen to prevent feature bloat in the software an new features are thought about a lot before being implemented, and five years later, the interface has undergone some small changes and is wonderfully functional and has actually improved from an already great interface.
It Runs Fast
Even on my ageing Asus Zenpad (which is sloooow), Diarium runs smoothly whether I’m simply writing, or browsing media and entries. There’s nothing worse than trying to write a journal entry and having the cursor lag behind your typing. This does not happen with Diarium.
Multiple Entries Per Day
Before Diarium, I used to write a single entry each day with time-stamps to separate things. Diarium allows for multiple separate entries per day and this feature actually changed how I journal.
Now, having the option of multiple entries a day keeps my journaling cleaner and more focussed. Each entry can have its own title, photos, tags, and location information making it perfect for use as a travel journal. But it also keeps my journal more organised because I can easily separate entries by topic.
Excellent Media Support
Previous journal software I used didn’t do a great job of handling photos. As a keen photographer, I took thousands of photos alongside keeping a journal, but until I started using Diarium, they were separate. Diarium handles photos so easily that now my journal is full of them providing a visual record of life alongside the written word. Some days have a lot written, and others perhaps contain just few photos that speak just as much as words. With the recently added Attachment view, I can also scroll through all my photos in my journal.
Short of reading every entry through, it’s hard to get much use out of a journal spanning over a decade. However, with tagging, you can assign subject tags, and people tags to entries. You can view all entries with a particular tag, and search allows you to cross reference “search for: Mum & Birthday”. This means if you want to read back over a particular subject in your journal, it’s easy to do so with tags. Tags are neatly displayed at the bottom of each entry in the editing view, and in the timeline.
On This Day
A fun feature of Diarium is ‘On This Day’. Similar to the way Facebook will serve up posts from previous years, you can view all your entries for today from previous years.
Multiple Device Cloud Sync
Diarium syncs across devices using a cloud account. I have Diarium on my main desktop PC, android phone, and a old laptop and use Dropbox to sync between the three. Most of my journaling is done on my desktop, but bullet-point logs of the day’s activities are done on my phone. Diarium stores your journal offline so you’re not reliant on an internet connection to look back at entries or to write new ones. A basic 2GB free cloud account is plenty to get started with Diarium.
One Time Payment – Incredible Value
Diarium is a one-time payment instead of a subscription. You pay for each platform’s app as needed.
Now, there is a lot of whining on the Diarium forums from users who complain about the fact you need to pay for each app separately, and unfortunately Timo wastes a lot of his time defending his pricing. This pricing is beyond fair. If you use an Android tablet and phone for journaling, you just pay for the Android app and use it on both. The same goes for the Windows or Mac app. If you need both, you pay once for each of those.
I can’t remember exactly what I paid 5 years ago – I think it was around £12 for the Windows app and £8 for the Android App. With 5 years of daily use of Diarium, this works out at a penny a day. Go figure!
There are some changes/additions I would like to see before describing Diarium as perfect. I’ll detail those in a future post. But as it currently stands, Diarium is still incredible software for keeping a diary or journaling. The fact I’ve been using it daily for 5 years without feeling the need to move on to a different app is testament to that.