You know that saying about photos being worth a thousand words? That may be true, but many of us have older photos of people we know nothing about. A few months ago, my mother gave me her photos to organize, and while sifting through it, I realized that I didn’t know the stories behind the photos. Yes, there’s my teenage mom smiling coily with her girlfriends. But who took the photo? Where were they? How old was she exactly? What was her life like? And that is why journaling is so important. Photos tell a part of what’s happening, and journaling completes that story.
So okay. We know the importance of journaling, but how about actually getting it written? Here are a few ideas on how to get started.
1. Stream of conciousness. That’s how I journal my layouts most often. Open a document in a word processing program, and start jotting down thoughts. Don’t edit, don’t restrain yourself, just write down everything that comes to mind about the photos you want to scrap. Write from the heart. Don’t worry if it’s three pages long. Once you’ve gotten it all down, go back and read it. Then re-read it, and edit down to what you think is important to the layout.
2. Just the facts. In this wedding layout I created, I wanted to highlight only what happened during the ceremony. (I have other layouts with more detailed writing about the entire day.) Details that would have been lost if I hadn’t written it down. Quick and painless.
3. Use a conversation. I often use exchanges between my children, or between the kids and me as journaling. Because, really, kids are often hilarious without knowing it. The only problem is making sure I remember what was said!
Other ideas include: writing a letter to the person featured in the layout, interviewing your subject, using bullet points (no need to use complete sentences, woohoo!), using songs/poems/lyrics to express your feelings, telling a story exactly the way it happened (well, exactly the way you remember), and the easiest of all: letting someone else do the journaling!
Some parting thoughts: Don’t feel like you have to only document the good. I often scrapbook about my not-so-perfect life in my layouts. Let your everyday voice shine in your journaling. I’m a somewhat sarcastic person. (Okay, fine, I’m very sarcastic!) When my children read these pages in the future, they’ll be able to hear me saying (or yelling…) those things. Scrapbooking is supposed to be fun! Don’t worry about perfect grammar and spelling. What’s really important is to get the story written down.
I leave you with a layout I created a while back about why I scrapbook. It’s super simple, and the journaling is a run-on sentence. And that’s okay, because it’s a little bit of me.
Linda Barber, dream team member