How to Use Craft for Your Journal

Journaling with Craft App

First of all I should say I am a happy user of Day One journalling software. This is the best journalling software available for the Mac and iOS. I have been using it now for more than nine years and so I know what’s required of an application for good journalling. There are features within the application which mean I would be unlikely to change to using Craft. However, there could come a time when I need to reduce the number of subscriptions I pay per month. I saw on the Craft forum someone was asking how to use it for journalling. So I thought it would be interesting to see how it could be done.

Craft is excellent software and would make a great platform for your journalling activities. This is because you have the ability to create good looking text based journal posts and also include images as much as you would like to. It’s possible to include a sketch directly within the application if you’re using it on the iPad. It doesn’t have audio recording built-in, but you can record audio in another application and drag it and drop it into a Craft document. Then there is the organisational facilities you need.

Organising Your Journal in Craft

The organisational features within Craft give you a number of options and I’ll show you in the video a couple of ways to arrange your daily journal posts.

One way is to use folders and subfolders. Have a folder for the year inside a journal folder. Then put subfolders inside each year for each month. Within the subfolder for the month you have a couple of ways of creating your journal.
It could be done by having one document for the whole of the month, although if you did you wouldn’t need the subfolders per month. Within the document whether it is per month or per day you can have multiple posts. I often write more than one journal entry during any particular day.
There are a couple of ways of creating these posts within a document. The way you’ll do it will depend upon how you want your journal to look. You will want to decide how accessible the content is in Craft.


Creating Journal Entries

Let’s first have a look at this example I’ve created in Craft. I have a folder called Journal. If you are using Craft only for journalling then you won’t need to have this initial folder. I use Craft for many purposes so I’ll be using a separate folder to separate all the various subject matter I include. Inside of the journal folder I have two folders. One for the year 2020 and the other for the year 2021. Let’s look first at how I’ve set up 2021.

Within the 2021 folder I’ve got four folders for four months of the year. April through to July and I’ve given each of these folders a number at the front so they sort properly. In the left sidebar you can sort those manually, but within the main window of the folder you can have them sought automatically. This is why I put the numbers at the beginning of each of the month titles.
Notice in the sidebar I’ve used emoji icons for each of the year folders. I’ve used the generic icons included in Craft for the months. It’s easy to change these folder titles after the initial setup if you wish to. (Here is how you change the icon for the month of June.)

If we have a look in the folder for the month of April you can see I have six documents. The documents are titled using the ISO naming convention for the date. I prefer it this way because it allows for better sorting based on the name of the document within the folder. There is also an extra document which started with three zeros (For proper sorting), the name of the month and the year.
This could be the single document you use for the month of journalling. Within it you have content contained within, but is not its own document within Craft. There are two examples of this for the date 22nd of April and 25th of April. You make these sub- documents by clicking on the add content button.
Or have links which go to separate Craft documents. Create one of these documents by inserting the date after an ampersand. A window will pop up and you can click on Create or press enter. If you’ve already made to the document you use this method to link to it from the document you’re working in.
Remember that this new document will be created within the inbox. This document will be better stored within the correct folder so you’ll need to move it manually afterwards. Even when you are moving the document within your system the link you made in the initial document will still work.

Creating Your Journal Post

Whether you create the document as a sub documents within another one or as a separate craft document, you have the same options for the content of the entry.
Add a cover image to make it look pretty at the top. Use a photograph of your own to show something about your day. Or you can grab one of the stock photos just because you wanted to look good. I quite like having a cover image because it looks better when you’re using one of the tiled views in Craft.
Then add the blocks of text, images, titles and headers to create your journal post. If you’re doing this on the iPad you can also insert a sketch or diagram. Add snippets of code or maths formulas if that’s what takes your fancy. Format it so it looks nice and hey presto.
Each paragraph you add is a block and because of this you can work in a free-flowing manner. Dump your ideas into the document and arrange it to make sense of it afterwards. You also have keyboard shortcuts to move things around, group or un-group. Change a block which is a paragraph into a title by using the keyboard shortcut of Control – 2. Or change the style in the style panel on the right side for the complete block. Another way to adjust the style of the block is to use the / key to access another menu. All the same style adjustments available including the focus and block decorations, colours and fonts.
If you have some words selected in the block you can do the usual bold or italicise type of formatting in the same panel.
Change the look of your post by selecting one or more blocks and converting them to either a page or a card. Decide for yourself your system for building your journal entry so that it’s as functional and / or as pretty as you want it to be.

Documents and Sub Documents Instead of folders

Another option for your journal organisation could be to have one Craft document to contain whatever. That could be everything, all posts for the year or posts for the month. It really depends upon your level of journalling. If you are a professional you would probably go for splitting it up with at least a folder per month. If you don’t create that much journal data you could go for a document per month. Within that you could have the sub documents contained inside.

In this folder for 2020 I went for a menu document with links to separate craft documents per month. Then within each of those month documents I could have links to the separate documents or to the pages contained within pages.

There’s lots of different ways you can do this so you can choose whichever one works best for you. You just need to consider

Privacy Considerations Using Craft for Your Journal

If you’re using this on one device you will have the protection of passwords and bio controlled access such as fingerprints and face recognition. If you are using synchronisation so the data is the same on multiple devices such as your iPad, iPhone and on the Mac, you might consider extra measures. Journals are meant to be private and personal. You don’t want every man and his dog reading your sensitive data. I don’t think the data within Craft is held on the servers at Craft, but I don’t know. In any case, you should consider using encryption within your journal. At least encrypt the most sensitive parts of the data.

There are a couple of ways to do this and be protected. To encrypt text I recommend the use of the application Paranoia Text Encryption which is available for the Mac and also for iOS devices. You put your text into the application set a password and choose which version of encryption you want to use. Make a copy of the encrypted text in PTE and paste over the original data within Craft.

The other option would be to encrypt documents which you would include in your journal document. This can be any sort of document, images or text based documents. On the Mac I recommend the application called Encrypto. Drag-and-drop a document, multiple documents or a folder into Encrypto, give your password and save the file. Then drag that encrypted documents into Craft.

With both of these options and using passwords remember to use a password suitable for the level of protection you require. If you want a long password that’s okay, but put it into something like 1Password to keep it safe.


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