Many people find keeping a written journal a really helpful way of thinking about what is going on, recording and reflecting on what has happened, remembering answers to prayer, and much more. This article explores how you can use Verbum Notes to do this and outlines some of the features that can enhance the process.
Before reading through this article, it would be useful to have a general familiarity with the Notes Tool. If you are not already familiar with it, please visit the Notes article before continuing.
At its simplest, to set up the journal you need to create a Verbum Notebook and then create a new Note for each journal entry.
- Open the Notes Tool from the Notes menu.
- Create a new Notebook and title it My Journal.
To do this, switch to the Notebooks tab, click the icon, and enter the title.
- Scroll down to your new notebook and select it.
Note that this now shows as the live Notebook at the top of the Tool as well as renaming the Notes Tool tab itself to show that there is an active Notebook.
- Create your first journal entry.
To do this, click the filters icon to switch back to the Filters view, and click New note to create a blank note, ready for your first journal entry.
If you wish, change the Note icon and Highlight Style settings:
As these notes are not (currently) linked to any resource, it makes sense to set both of these parameters to None. Enter the content for this entry - as shown in the example below:
Note that I’ve used bold text for the entry header but you can format the text as you wish.
- Add additional journal entries for each day.
You can sort the entries in a number of ways and, for this type of application, sorting by creation date is ideal.
Selecting this causes the most recent journal entry to appear at the top of the Notebook.
Then, whenever you want to refer back to a journal entry you can scroll through the list of notes.
Enhancing the Process
Having established the basic approach, there are a number of things you can do to make the journaling process richer. These include:
- Anchoring each note to a specific date
- Using a journal template
- Including text from resources in your journal entries
- Linking to documents
- Link to a diagram in the Canvas tool
- Link to topics using tags
- Create a layout for quick access to your journal
Anchoring each note to a specific date
The process outlined above included manually adding the journal date to each entry. An alternative is to anchor the note to a date. This can be done by using a resource with an inbuilt calendar such as a daily devotional.
To find such a resource, open your Library and filter by Calendar Devotional. Then click one to open it.
Note that the resource is tagged with the current date.
Now, go back to the Notes Tool and click New note.
The note is automatically created with an anchor specifying the date. This is a much simpler way of specifying the date for the entry.
Using a Journal Template
If you want each journal entry to have a consistent format, or at least to start in that way, it is worth setting up a template that you can replicate for each entry.
To do this, open another instance of the Notes Tool, create a new Notebook called Templates and select it. Then, create a note in that Notebook and enter the general layout you want to use in your journal entries.
Now, copy that text and paste it into a note back in your journal notebook.
Repeat this process for each day to provide that standard format.
Including Text from Resources in Your Journal Entries
You might want to keep your journal entries entirely for your own ideas, but you might also find it useful to copy in small portions of your Verbum resources.
To do this, copy a portion of text and then paste it into the journal entry:
In addition to pasting the actual text, Verbum also places a link in the Note so that you can easily get back to the resource.
Linking to Documents
Alternatively, instead of copying information from a resource, you might find it helpful to create a link to Docs you have created previously in Verbum. For example, you might have created a Passage List and want to link out to it in one of your journal entries.
With your Passage List open, click to open the Panel Menu, and then select Copy location as URL.
Then add that link to a section of text in your journal entry:
Click Save to complete the link:
Now that text in your journal entry is linked to the Passage List, you can click it to open your passage list directly:
Link to a diagram in the Canvas tool
You might want to include your thoughts on a Bible passage in a journal entry, and choose to do that as some form of diagram. You can create such a diagram using the Canvas Tool and then save your work as an image.
You can then add that image into your journal entry either by clicking the Insert media icon or just dragging the picture from your computer into the note.
The image is now displayed in your journal entry:
Link to topics using tags
If you want to quickly and easily find journal entries that refer to common themes, then it is a good idea to use tags in the Notes Tool. You can add tags to any note at the bottom of the Note as shown below:
This causes a Tags filter to appear in the Notebook:
Adding relevant tags to journal entries results in a corresponding list of tag entries displaying in the filter sidebar:
Now, to review entries that refer to Discipleship, click that tag:
To restore all entries, click the x to remove the tag filter from the top:
Create a layout for quick access to your journal
The techniques outlined above involved having two instances of the Notes Tool open as well as a Calendar Devotional. To make it easy to open your journal whenever you want to, create a Layout with those elements open.
Then, give it a name such as My Journal.
Whenever you want to update your journal, you can open the Layout and carry on where you left off.