Using Blogger as a Private Journal

For just over a year, I've been using Blogger, the blogging platform I use for this and my other blogs, to keep an online personal journal. I've simply set it up as a private blog, only viewable by the author, and send an email to it, to create entries. Here's how to set it up for yourself:
  1. Go to www.blogger.com.
  2. Signing in to Blogger:
    1. If you have a Google account, simply log in with it at the top.
    2. If you don't have a Google account, click "Create a Blog". This will take you to a form to create a Google account. Complete this step. Once complete, jump to Step 4 below.
  3. Once signed in to your Dashboard using you Google account, click "Create a Blog" at the top.
  4. The first step to creating your journal is to give it a name. I used "Personal Journal of Skyler Collins". Put your name in the space for Blog Title.
  5. For Blog Address URL, fill in something along the lines of http://journalyourname.blogspot.com. It really doesn't matter, since it can't be access by anybody that way.
  6. Fill in the Word Verification and click Continue.
  7. The next step is choosing a generic temple. You'll have more options later on. Click Continue.
  8. You'll now see a screen that says "Your blog has been created!". Click "Start Blogging". We need to change some settings before you can use it as a personal journal.
  9. It takes you to the New Post editor. There are several tabbed links at the top. Click on "Settings".
  10. Under the Settings tab, you begin at the "Basic" page. Change the following:
    1. Add your blog to our listings? - NO.
    2. Let search engines find your blog? - NO.
    3. Click Save Settings at the bottom.
  11. Click on the Formatting page link at the top, under the Settings tab. Change the following:
    1. Time Zone - Your time zone.
    2. Click Save Settings at the bottom.
  12. Click on the Comments page link at the top, under the Settings tab. Change the following:
    1. Comments - Hide.
    2. Who Can Comment? - Only members of this blog.
    3. Comments Default for Posts - New Posts Do Not Have Comments.
    4. Backlinks - Hide.
    5. Backlinks Default for Posts - New Posts Do Not Have Backlinks.
    6. Click Save Settings at the bottom.
  13. Click on the Site Feed page link at the top, under the Settings tab. Change the following:
    1. Allow Blog Feeds - None.
    2. Click Save Settings at the bottom.
  14. Click on the Email & Mobile page link at the top, under the Settings tab. Change the following:
    1. Email Posting Address - This is where you set up the email address you'll be sending your journal entries to from your mail client. For example, yourname.journal@blogger.com.
    2. Feel free to add a mobile device if you plan on creating journal entries from there.
    3. Click Save Settings at the bottom.
  15. Click on the Permission page link at the top, under the Settings tab. Change the following:
    1. Who can view this blog? - Only blog authors. You'll then receive an embedded pop-up message asking you to confirm. Click "Allow Authors Only". The blog is now private and only accessible by the author(s). If you want to add additional authors, use the Add Authors link at the top of this page.
  16. Your personal journal is now set up and ready for use. Feel free to go to the Design tab and change the template, and the widgets you want to see. I like to have an Archive widget on my journal so that I can easily browse past entries. Your blog is accessible through your Blogger dashboard, or if you are logged into Google already, directly via the Blog Address URL you set up in Step 5.
  17. To create journal entries: you can do it from Blogger, under the Posting tab, or you can simply send the email address set up in Step 14 an email of your entry. Add that address to your mail contacts in your mail client, and posting is simple.
I hope you'll find using Blogger as a personal journal as convenient as I have. I've even set up journals for my wife and children. My son dictates to me the events of his day, and when he's old enough to use email, he'll take it over.

I should mention that you can print your blog directly, or use a service such as Blog2Print to either print yourself a book, or save your blog in PDF format to self-print, hole-punch, and place in a binder. Using Blog2Print would require that you change your Permission to open access, in order for that website to pull the blog. It can be turned back to private once complete.

I also forward emails I've sent to others, or received, that I want to archive in my journal, to that same posting email address. Enjoy!

Comments

Skyler,

Thanks for the tip. I've setup my own Private Journal Blog!
Anonymous said…
Since your blog is private, you can't search it for key terms can you?
Skyler said…
You can from your Blogger dashboard.
Anonymous said…
Skyler,
Thanks for the dashboard tip. You have solved a key problem for me today. You are the man.
ferricoxide said…
Happen to know if there's any way to set per-post filters? I mean, one of the beauties of LiveJournal (and even FaceBook, if you twiddle a LOT of knobs) is that you can keep *one* journal and make things viewable on a post-by-post, viewer-by-viewer basis. Granted, both of those platforms are member-oriented, so, you have actual objects you can filter for/against.
Skyler said…
The only thing I can think of is using labels on each post, and adding a label index as a widget so when you're viewing your journal, you can click a label and only see posts with that label.
Layla said…
This is a great article, I plan to also use a blogger blog for a private journal, and because of you I now know about Blog2Print, this is awesome, thank you so much!!
Shikhar Nigam said…
Great article. I was thinking over either using Evernote or Blogger for keeping my online journal. Finally decided to go with blogger and your post was a major help. Thanks!
Shikhar Nigam said…
I'm facing a problem though. I have a public blog on Blogger linked to my G+. If I make a personal blog, it too gets linked to G+. You can't delink one without delinking the other. Any ideas?
Shikhar, under the Google + menu item on the left, you should be able to untoggle "automatically share after posting" and "prompt to share after posting". That should keep your stuff off of Google +.