# Processing my org-journal each month

I use org-journal for keeping my personal journal. My first entry was made on December 20, 2016 and I’ve made nearly 600 entries since then1.

Most months usually do consist of a couple dozen entries, and it’s important to me that I preserve them. One reason for using a text-based format like Org mode is that it’s portable, flexible, easy to back up, and likely to last a while. Still, I don’t trust anything digital to last forever, so I print my entries each month.

Here’s my process for exporting and printing each month’s journal entries.

Since each entry is in a separate file, I have to join them into one file containing all entries for the month. Each day’s file begins with a top-level heading with the day’s date, e.g. “Sunday, August 23 2020”. Org-journal files are properly named using an ISO date such as 2020-08-23.org so combining August’s journal files looks like this…

cat 2020-08-*.org > august.org

Now I have an Org file with all the entries for August.

For pretty output I convert the Org file to a PDF using LaTeX. I prefer a nice 2-column layout. I put the following snippet at the beginning of the file…

 1 2 3 4 5  #+TITLE: Journal #+DATE: Month YYYY #+SETUPFILE: ~/Dropbox/notes/org/_SETUP/EXPORT #+SETUPFILE: ~/Dropbox/notes/org/_SETUP/DEFAULT #+LaTeX_CLASS_OPTIONS: [11pt,twocolumn,portrait] 

The EXPORT include looks like this..

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11  #+AUTHOR: Jack Baty #+OPTIONS: toc:nil num:nil <:nil ':t #+OPTIONS: *:t -:t ::t <:nil H:4 \n:nil ^:{} arch:headline #+OPTIONS: broken-links:t c:nil creator:nil #+OPTIONS: author:t title:t date:t #+OPTIONS: d:t e:t email:nil f:t inline:t num:nil #+OPTIONS: p:nil pri:nil prop:nil stat:nil tags:nil tasks:t tex:t #+OPTIONS: timestamp:nil toc:nil todo:nil |:t #+SELECT_TAGS: export #+EXCLUDE_TAGS: noexport nolatex 

And the DEFAULT include looks like this (click to expand)…

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42  #+LaTeX_CLASS: scrartcl #+latex_class_options: [13pt] %#+latex_class_options: [twocolumn,landscape] #+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage[letterpaper]{geometry} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \geometry{verbose,tmargin=2cm,bmargin=2cm,lmargin=2cm,rmargin=3cm} #+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage{fontspec} #+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage{eso-pic} #+LATEX_HEADER: \defaultfontfeatures{Mapping=tex-text,Scale=MatchLowercase} %#+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage[document]{ragged2e} % flushleft everything #+LaTeX_HEADER: \setkomafont{title}{\sffamily\mdseries\upshape\normalsize} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \setkomafont{sectioning}{\sffamily\mdseries\upshape\normalsize} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \setkomafont{descriptionlabel}{\sffamily\mdseries\upshape\normalsize} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \setmainfont{Helvetica Neue} #+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage{parskip} #+LATEX_HEADER: \setlength{\parindent}{0pt} #+LATEX_HEADER: \setlength{\parskip} {9pt plus 2pt minus 1pt} #+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage{titlesec} % left-align section numbers #+LaTeX_HEADER: \titleformat{\section}{\normalfont\Large\bfseries}{\thesection}{1em}{} #+LATEX_HEADER: \titlelabel{\llap{\thetitle\quad}} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \usepackage{enumitem} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \setlist{noitemsep} % remove vertical space between list items #+LaTeX_HEADER: \hypersetup{colorlinks,% #+LaTeX_HEADER: citecolor=blue,% #+LaTeX_HEADER: filecolor=blue,% #+LaTeX_HEADER: linkcolor=blue,% #+LaTeX_HEADER: urlcolor=blue} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \usepackage{url} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \titlespacing\section{0pt}{12pt plus 4pt minus 2pt}{0pt plus 2pt minus 2pt} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \titlespacing\subsection{0pt}{12pt plus 4pt minus 2pt}{0pt plus 2pt minus 2pt} #+LaTeX_HEADER: \titlespacing\subsubsection{0pt}{12pt plus 4pt minus 2pt}{0pt plus 2pt minus 2pt} #+LATEX_HEADER: \makeatletter #+LATEX_HEADER: \renewcommand\maketitle{ #+LATEX_HEADER: {\LARGE{\@title}} #+LATEX_HEADER: \vspace{1mm} \\ #+LATEX_HEADER: \hspace*{0mm}\textcolor{darkgray}{\@author\quad|\quad\@date \\ #+LATEX_HEADER: \vspace{8mm}} #+LATEX_HEADER: } 

A quick Ctrl-c Ctrl-e l o and I’ve got a lovely PDF that looks something like this…

I print and bind these every month so that, short of a fire, I’ll have them forever.

1. If you do the math, you’ll see that I’m not terribly consistent. I’m trying to do better. ↩︎