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Apps to Watch Out For: The Best in Virtual Journaling

In the vast universe of the digital age, paper has become obsolete. Many people's only interaction with pen and paper is through signing receipts. (Even now, receipts are often emailed, so some people can't remember the last time they smelled the sweet wood of a Dixon Ticonderoga.) For me, writing is essential, and I've made a practice of keeping a journal for many years. There's nothing quite like a journal, but it can be difficult to carry around and I always fear losing it. Well, the app world has something to say about that.

Day One, a virtual journaling app, is taking journaling into the twenty-first century. Without sacrificing artistic integrity (but rather, adding to it), the app allows you to store tons of data, share entries, and even add photos. The clean interface makes it easy and distraction-free to jot down your quickest thoughts on the go. A problem I was having with traditional journaling was not having my journal on me when I had ideas. But with the app, as long as I have my phone with me, that's all I need.

Among other cool features, Day One has a privacy passcode (to keep the intruders out) and automatically tracks the temperature and weather, the locations you've been to, the time and date, the music you're playing, and even cool things like your motion and step count. This helps make the journaling experience substantiated by environmental evidence. Now you can have so many more details than with just pen and paper.

Day One gives you customized writing reminders, prompts and inspiring quotes to help you through any bout of writer's block. Once you've written your post, you can browse your entries by date and location, create tags and hashtags, and search by keyword. You can tweet your entries, share your location through Foursquare, or email entries to your friends and family.

But perhaps the greatest part about Day One is your ability to sync your journal with Dropbox or the iCloud. You can export entries to PDFs, and you're provided with automated local backups. You never have to worry about losing your precious thoughts, ideas and memories.

For people that already journal, or for people that want to pick up a new healthy habit, Day One is the best way to do it. Get writing!