But I’m Not a Writer!


We here at The Daily Digi are big fans of journaled pages and we love to share tips and ideas with you to help you record the memories you want to preserve. We have an entire category called “The Write Way’” full of posts on this topic, but all the information and resources in the world won’t help if you believe that you just can’t write. If I (Katie) could share just one secret with you that will change how you look at journaling it would be this – You ARE a writer! You CAN do this!

Some of you are saying to yourselves “But I’m not a writer”!” It’s true that some people enjoy writing more than others. It’s also true that like any other skill or talent, you will improve with practice. You might think I just don’t understand how hard it is since I am a writer. Guess what? It’s still hard for me also! I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that journaling on your pages is a super easy thing to do. I will tell you that it is worthwhile and it will give your scrapbooks a depth and lasting importance that simply cannot be achieved any other way.

I didn’t start out as a writer. I’m not one of those people that has 20 journals filled with stories and memoirs from childhood. I got my college degree in English Literature (because I love to read) and it still amazes me that I made it through the program because I remember how much I hated writing each and every one of the papers that was assigned to me. So how did I end up here? Scrapbooking! It turns out it is so much more fun to write when it’s about something you care about. Journaling on a scrapbook page is much different (and better!) than any other writing assignment. So start off by letting go of the idea that “the Write Way” to document your memories is not the same as the “right way” to write.

How am I so sure you ARE a writer?

  1. You can talk (or communicate in some way)
  2. You have had experiences and memories
  3. You are alive

I really believe that if you meet those 3 criteria (and you do!) you have something unique and valuable to say, and you are capable of journaling on your scrapbook pages. The trick is simply getting what you have inside of you into a written form.

I’m going to illustrate some different journaling approaches using one photo:


At the very least, you should always include a name and a date with your photos and scrapbook pages. I’m not saying you have to do this on every page, but it’s important to make it clear who is in the picture and when it was taken. This might not seem like a big deal right now, but in 10, 20, or 50 years it will be. Also, what if you were gone? Would the people looking at this picture know who it is?

If I were to create a scrapbook page about this photo using the name and date journaling approach, I would simply include a line that said something like “Riley December 2008”.

If this is all you can muster to put on a page, at least it’s a start. Make sure you are including names of those pictured several times within an album or each time someone new is introduced. I know you can do more though!


Someone is sitting down and looking at a scrapbook page you made and you are right there with them (or even standing over their shoulder). They say “how cute!” or “I love that photo!” or something to that effect. What do you say in return? Do you just say “thanks” and then turn the page? Probably not. Most likely you tell them something about the photo, the page, or a funny story that is related to what you are looking at. That is what you should write down!

If I were to create a scrapbook page about this photo using the standing over the shoulder journaling approach, I would write something like “Riley just loves stuffed animals and thinks it’s really fun when she has several of the same type so they can be part of a family.” Or I might include “She loves to sleep with a few stuffed animals tucked under her arm each night.”

With just a tiny bit more effort you can turn the page into something much more meaningful! You might not always be there to explain what was happening in a photo or why you chose to scrapbook that particular memory. You put the work into creating the page, don’t you want the viewer to understand the meaning of it? This approach works for almost any type of page. It’s not tricky and it requires no formal writing skills. Just write (or type) what you would say. If your worried about spelling or grammar just use a word processing program that will give you those corrections by using features that come with the program.


This is when you really get into the details. Pretend you are still standing over someone’s shoulder to tell them about a page but take it just a bit further. Do you have a piece of information that will really surprise them? How about something interesting that only those who took or are in the photo would know? Does this moment bring back other memories? Are you the only one that has key information about this event?

When you add extra details your layout becomes something that could never be duplicated by anyone else. With a little training any digital scrapbooker could replicate a page of fantastic design, but NOBODY else can share the story that you have inside of you!

If I were to create a scrapbook page about this photo using the bet you didn’t know journaling approach, I would tell the viewer some fun details that would change the way they look at this photo such as “Riley wasn’t really asleep in this photo. She was faking it for my sake because I needed this picture. As a Christmas present for my twin nieces, I decided to create a digital scrapbook album based on the alphabet. Each page featured a letter of the alphabet and a picture of someone or something that they loved. I came up short on a few letters so Riley helped me out by staging a few fun little scenes to photograph. It was her idea to get out her stuffed animal zebra collection for the page about the letter Z. I told her to cozy up with them for a photo and she insisted that she should be asleep. The first few shots I took, I could tell she was holding back a smile. I told her it wouldn’t work if it looked like she was faking it. Incredibly, she pulled it off and everyone who saw the finished picture thought I took it when she was really asleep!”

Which page do you think will mean the most to my daughter right now? How about in 50 years? Don’t you feel much more interested in the photo now that you know the story behind it?

web zebra

Cardstock by Suzy Q Scraps, zebra from Kate Hadfield, alpha by Lisa Whitney, template from Funky Playground blog

Remember that there is no one “right way” to document your memories. Just focus on the
Write Way” of including the information that will make your scrapbook creations lasting and meaningful.


P.S. We would love to see pages with your journaling on them so feel free to leave us a link in the comments section and/or upload them to our flickr group.

P.S.S Melissa was the random winner seleted from the comments in yesterday’s post! She won $10 in product from Meredith’s store. Here’s what she said: “I love her Bliss kit…I’m going to be scrapping my parent’s wedding pictures and this kit is PERFECT!!!” Check your email!