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Tag Archives: journaling tips
I’ve always loved to read and I’m a big fan of scrapbook journaling so I guess it’s no surprise to find out that when I surf the galleries, I spend a lot of time reading the journaling! A stunning page design or beautiful photos will grab my attention to get me to look at a page, but it’s the journaling that captures my interest. I feel like I’m on a treasure hunt to find the meaning of the story shared. Even just small tidbits of writing bring the layout to life and make it more memorable.
In the spirit of one of my favorite blogs Gallery Standouts, I thought it would be fun to share some favorite layouts with exceptional journaling that have jumped into my favorites folder.
This page is such a fabulous example of why it’s worth doing no-photo layouts! I love the boxes of journaling illustrated with fun doodles. This page is just asking to be read and I was fascinated to hear her likes and dislikes concerning many different career paths.
The sweet simplicity of this layout makes it so easy to focus on that darling girl and the journaling that details her cute personality and unique traits. Reading about her favorite things just made me smile!
Not only is this a gorgeous layout (check out the texture on the large photo), but the journaling is integrated into the page design in a very inviting way. I loved reading about the joy that the beach brings to this boy and his Mama!
This journaling really resonated with me since I used to play “school” as a kid and always dreamed of teaching as well. It was great to read about how she found her own way to be a teacher and her gratitude for the experiences she has had.
It’s fun to read about trip details on vacation layouts and you can even get ideas for sites you want to see if you ever travel to that location.
Because I love to read journaling so much, I often include the journaling right in my layout description on Flickr or in a gallery post. Others have commented how much they enjoy being able to read what I’ve written, especially when it can be hard to see on screen. While it isn’t difficult to read the text on this layout when it’s enlarged, it is a bit tricky to see in a blog post like this one.
I just copy and paste the journaling right into the description and it can be viewed by when the layout link is shared. This is just a personal preference of mine and I also like that it’s another way to preserve the memory in case I or someone from my family wanted to use the text without the layout.
Next time you take a gallery stroll, pay attention to journaling and think about what captures your attention. It’s a great way to find inspiration to add more text to your own pages. I bet you will also be surprised at how many pages don’t include any journaling at all!
P.S. the title graphic includes a splatterfic cluster by Karah Fredericks and the Café Rojo font.
Just my type by Mari Koegelenberg. The typewriter font by Heather Hess.
When I was younger, I had dreams of being a writer. I was sure that I would live in the English countryside (don’t know how I was going to get there from Utah?) where I would plunk away on my typewriter for hours every day. It was a ridiculously romanticized image of what the life of a writer would be and I’ve come to understand that is not likely to ever be what my life looks like. The best part is that I’ve since realized I don’t want that type of existence. Sure, the English countryside part still sounds wonderful, but I definitely want more out of my world than just a one on one relationship with words and paper. I want to live life each day and experience it. That means that I have to squeeze in bits and pieces of writing when I can.
Sometimes, when I discuss my love of scrapbook journaling with others, they seem to have an idealized notion of what it must be like to be one of “those people” who write a lot on their layouts. They act as if I have more time or talent than they do because I’ve put a few paragraphs on a page. What they might not realize it that it comes out word by little word, and it often takes many tries to simply jot down a few sentences.
I’ll open a word document and type a few thoughts, then I need to drive my daughter somewhere. That document stays open in the background of my computer while I answer emails, teach my children in homeschool, and balance our checkbook. I play around with the layout. It’s much more fun to arrange flowers than it is to extract words from my busy brain.
I remind myself that the page will not be complete without the story, so I go back to my word document. I switch back and forth between photos and thoughts. I stare at the pictures and try to remember what I want to say. I type a few words. I look at the clock and realize that dinner time is right around the corner. I forget about the journaling. Hours later, the kids are finally in bed, and I have a few minutes. But, I’m exhausted and I have other things that need to get done before morning. Those tasks come first, but I type a few more lines to explain the memories.
This process can last for days at times. It all depends on what interrupts me. I have a real life. I’m needed by actual people. I don’t give up. I write when I can. I take any little chunk of time that falls into my lap and I use it. That’s what writers do.
My new image of a writer is not someone who sits alone for hours in a quiet room, but it is someone who makes notes on her smartphone, works on ideas when she has a few minutes, types captions into her photo uploads, shares thoughts on social media, and post pictures and thoughts in blog posts. She can type memories while her son plays rock band in the other room, or in a quick dash as she fits in some time before a friend drops by.
When the time comes to pull it all together, a writer gathers the breadcrumbs she’s been leaving behind and gives them a home. In my case, the finished product is not a novel, but a scrapbook page. Bits and pieces at a time. Line by line, I’m writing the story of my life and I call it scrapbooking. Not in a cottage overlooking an English garden, but in a house full of people, cooking dinner, teaching school, wearing sweatpants, at 11 p.m. at night, or on my phone at the breakfast table.
I’m a writer because I stick with it. I keep going until those words are on the piece of paper. It’s not glamorous. It’s not even particularly talented. It’s persistent, and it pays off in the long run. I’m a writer because I’m a scrapbooker. I’m a writer because I keep trying to be one. The key is to just chip away at it until you have something down on paper, and when you do – put it on a layout!
My parents are visiting my house right now, so I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to spend several full days with them. It’s been fun to watch them interact with my children, and also nice to have the time to just sit around and chat. The other night I was asking my Mom something about her father and somehow it brought up that she interviewed him (and recorded it on tape) shortly before he died. I commented on how great that was and she said “Yes, but I really did it wrong.” I couldn’t imagine what would be “wrong” about that interview so I asked her. She replied that she spent too much time trying to ask him certain questions. She said “If I could do it over again, I would just push record and let him talk.” I’ve thought about that a lot over the past few days and have come to realize how brilliant that really is. Of course she didn’t do anything “wrong” by conducting a more formal interview with him, but the idea of just listening to someone talk is probably some of the best advice I could ever think of to find meaningful material for journaling. Listening to what people are saying when they are just talking, is a wonderful way to discover who they really are and what is important to them. You can find out things you would never think to ask, and you will gain a great appreciation for their experiences and their personal story.
After thinking about what my Mom said, I decided to try and be more aware of what my parents were just openly sharing with me during this visit. The other night, we were driving to get a hamburger together and my Dad and my son were having a funny conversation. My Dad said something like ‘Don’t play mental checkers with your Grandpa because I’ll win” and we all laughed. Then he also joked about how he might win in real checkers because he learned from his own father who was nearly unbeatable at the game. He told us that it wasn’t until late in his Dad’s life that he could actually win in a game of checkers against my Grandfather. I had no knowledge or memory of my Grandpa playing checkers, and I really didn’t know that my Dad is also good at the game. I only found this tidbit out through listening. I’m sure I would have never thought to ask it as an interview question. I’ve been entertaining the idea in my head for days now – trying to imagine my Dad and his own father playing checkers. I’ve wondered if my son could have beat him (he’s pretty good at the game as well), or who would win in a match between my Dad and my son? A simple overheard conversation led to a lot of reflection AND gave me some great journaling material for this layout:
It’s All Fun & Games Triple Dip by Jenn Barrette, Julie Billingsley, & Libby Pritchett. Fonts are Fontologie Textura Traced and Calibri.
If you are looking for inspiration in the journaling department, remember to put on your listening ears. Just pay attention to the conversations that are naturally happening all around you. I bet you will find something interesting to write (and scrap) about!
P.S. Corinne was the random winner selected from the comments on yesterday’s post. She won $10 to the Ette’s store.
P.S.S Mary(HappyNow) was the random winner selected from those that entered the Reader Challenge, JUST SCRAP!! She won $10 in product from the Ettes as well!
Do you need a starting point for journaling? One of my favorite writing “secrets” is to simply answer a question. Really, it’s that simple! There are several different ways to use questions to help you document your memories.
It would be easy for me to think I didn’t need a lot of journaling to go with this photo. It’s very obvious that we are in Disneyland (see my son’s shirt) and that he is getting an autograph from some characters. If I add my son’s name and date, I can answer the most basic questions of who, when, and where. I’m going to dig a little deeper though and answer the question “Why did you take this photo?”
I took this photo because a week before we left Disneyland, my daughter insisted that we each pick our all-time favorite Disney character. She wanted us to have that in mind as we went to Disneyland so we could look for character-related items and experiences. Alex surprisingly picked Burt from the movie Mary Poppins. He loves the British people and culture and also loves music and dancing so it really makes perfect sense. I thought it was neat that Alex picked something less mainstream, but I was also certain we wouldn’t find any Burt items in any gift shops, so I didn’t think much more about it. Then on our last day in Disneyland, we ran right into a photo opportunity with Mary Poppins and her buddy Burt. There were only a few people in line so we ran over to snap some pictures. I think Burt was flattered and somewhat amazed when we told him that he was Alex’s very favorite character and that we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to find him! He spent an extra few minutes with us to make Alex’s visit memorable. Great memory!
Only 4 people in the whole world knew that story and the significance behind it before I shared it here. Over time, the 4 people might have even forgotten the details, but now that I have written down the answer to a question about this picture, it is documented and saved!
Keep asking yourself questions about photographs until you have something to write down. Or show the picture to someone else and have them ask you questions. These are great journaling exercises! Here are some links to help you:
photo by Janet
Think of this as reaching into a virtual jar of journaling prompts. Pull out a question and answer it. There’s your journaling! Now you can go and find (or take) a photograph to go with the journaling or even create a layout without a photo. Answering a question will get you journaling! Here are some fabulous resources that can act as your own jar of prompts:
- Memes & Quizzes to help you “cheat” on journaling
- 25 journaling questions from Jennifer Fox’s blog
- 20+ questions to help you scrap your life’s decisions from Log Your Memory
- One Month at a Time category at Get It Scrapped
- Scrapbook YOUR Story category at Get it Scrapped
- Scrapbooking Challenges with Nicole Seitler
- The Daily Post at wordpress.com
If you’ve been around young children, you will be quite aware that they are constantly asking questions! They wonder things like “Where does Bigfoot live?” and “Why is that lady’s hair purple?” and other difficult to answer questions. Even if you can’t answer the question in a scientifically correct manner, you often get some great discussion as a result. Why not take the questions that your children ask you (or make up your own) and use them as journaling prompts? Try to answer them as best you can, but feel free to just enjoy the conversation that the question started.
Think of this as your chance to raise your hand and ask the questions that are on your mind. You can do research to answer them to provide interesting journaling for a page, or simply express your own views and philosophies on the matter at hand. You will be surprised at what new paths of inspiration you find to explore!
Here are some resources to help you find questions to ponder:
The simple act of asking and answering questions can make a big difference in your journaling. You will find yourself armed with ideas for layouts once you start answering more questions! Do you have any questions that help you with journaling? We’d love to know about them so feel free to share them in the comments!
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?
- You can talk (or communicate in some way)
- You have had experiences and memories
- 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:
NAME AND DATE:
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!
STANDING OVER THE SHOULDER:
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.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW:
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?
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!