Learn easy scrapbooking journaling ways and tips to spruce up your pages with good and simple stories of your everyday life!
I feel that journaling is an important part of a scrapbook page. Coupled with your photos, writing allows you to tell meaningful stories.
What if you’re facing the writer’s block? Frozen in front of the computer screen or with a pen in hand? Wondering why aren’t the magical words that weaved a good story coming to you?
Take a deep breath and relax yourself. No one is watching you. And it’s not even an exam, and your high school English teacher isn’t standing behind you watching every grammar mistake you made.
The truth is, you can afford to correct your mistakes in your journaling… As long as you don’t write with actual ink on the actual scrapbooking paper that you’ve so carefully selected… ;-)
Even if it is, no big deal, really. You can just cover up your mistakes with another scrap of paper.
And the thing is, there’s a story-teller in you. Really. You can surely share simple stories.
11 Tips & Ideas on Journaling
1) Simply Start Writing
To get the story out of you and on to your scrapbook layout, just start writing or typing.
There’s no better time than now to start.
Or you can start with doodling on scrap paper! I’m not kidding. Somehow seeing something with ink on paper will start your writing juice flowing. Our brain has a way of wanting to fill up that piece of paper with more ink and perhaps words.
What? Not even a single word or doodle? Here’s a last resort.
Find a book or magazine, take a paragraph from anywhere and start copying it down without thinking.
As long as you get your fingers moving, it’ll somehow activate your left-brain activity and your own words will start arriving.
Seriously, just start by writing little descriptions on scraps of paper or typing some words on the screen.
Even though your initial writing might be a strain to read and probably not making much sense, write on.
These simple techniques work.
2) Start With What You Know
Your brain has a fantastic ability to mentally record down many stuff you’ve come across. It’s a matter of accessing those mental files…
Simply put down what you know first. Waiting for everything may keep you waiting for a long, long time and you may never even get started.
Your brain will start digging into those files of memories and out of the blue, it may just locate the perfect story for your page.
One consideration though. You might want to think about people who will read your journaling in future. They weren’t there with you, so they might be oblivious to the facts.
Put down as much details as you possibly can. This will help paint a vivid story for them. Bring them along with you in reliving those memories of yours.
Remember to write straight from your heart. Remember to share your simple stories.
3) Interviewing for Material
Ever played a reporter role before?
There are times where you’ll probably need to call someone to verify some facts, or to recall an event for your scrapbooking journaling.
When interviewing others, jot down a short list of questions you’ll need answers for. This will create a more structured and productive conversation, and get the answers you want.
A timeless formula is the five Ws that get to the gist of things: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY.
Who – Names of the people in the pictures? People change throughout the years, especially children. So helping the viewers to identify them will help track the children’s growth. And who took the pictures?
What – What’s the occasion, special event or memorable moments taking place? What happened at the event?
Where – Where did the event take place? Background information will help paint a clearer picture.
When – Obviously giving dates will help place the photo in proper context. And people like to know when things happened.
Why – Why did you choose this photo? Any special meaning to this photo? Did it evoke certain emotion out of you?
All this information will help tremendously in enriching your narrative story.
Next time you’re stuck, bring out this formula and work with it and get your story. This formula works like a charm.
An interviewing tip: Somehow repeating someone’s words back to them will prompt them to naturally come up with additional information for you. Amazingly simple technique.
4) Write a Letter
Another simple scrapbooking journaling idea is to pretend that you’re writing a letter to your close friend. Isn’t this a lovely idea?
Writing a letter is very personal and adds intimacy to your scrapbooking page right away. Write in a way like you’re chatting with your close friend. This helps you to tell a good story big time.
And yes, remember to add in the “Dear …” and end it off with your signature to make it looks real.
5) Quotes, Poems, Sayings
There’ll be times when you simply run of out words, your own written words. Period.
Leave the journaling box blank? Not quite.
There are other methods to fill up the journaling portion with words. Not your own words though. Just other people’s words.
You can use quotes, poems,or sayings on your scrapbook layout, and the right choice of words can help you express your sentiments in a great way. Take a look at “Lasting Expressions (e-Book)”, a resource e-book of over 5,000 phrases, titles and captions, compiled for scrapbookers
6) Set Space for Future Journaling
You don’t have to let yourself be stuck simply because you can’t think of that perfect story to use at the moment.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to complete your layout and your scrapbooking journaling all at once.
Sometimes, I find that I would be doing a layout for my page first, then I allowed space for my journaling and moved on to the next page and then next. After I’m pretty much done up with my layouts, I would go back and fill in my journaling for those pages at one sitting.
A good guideline is to leave about half a photo space per page for your scrapbooking journaling. Unless you’re intending to do a full-blown story, that should be sufficient space. And who knows maybe just when you were doing another scrapbook layout, or even something totally unrelated, inspiration struck you and you went aha, “I finally got it!” And you now have a good story to write on your page!
Creating layouts takes more of your right-brained activity while writing takes more of the left-brained. So dividing the two activities might work better in your favor. It’s your call, whatever that helps you to get things done most effectively.
7) Little Notebook
A good suggestion I’ve read somewhere before is to have a little notebook with you at all times.
Keep one handy in your handbag, one in your glove compartment of your car and one on your bedside table or wherever that you find most convenient.
Whenever inspiration strikes, quickly scribble down those little nuggets of words that popped into your head or words that spilled out of someone’s mouth.
You need not know exactly the use of it at that point. By putting it down in written form before you forget it, will give you interesting writing material to work with later on.
It’s an amazing feeling when you need a suitable description or phrase, and you find it by flipping through one of your notebooks.
No sweat, just consistent recording here and there.
Unless you are one of the rare ones with a powerful memory capacity, I would urge you to spend a minute of two writing down the details now. It will save you agonizing hours later trying to figure out some minute detail that you’ve forgotten to record.
This tip goes for me too. I’m also guilty of forgetting to record down interesting ideas on notebooks. And guess what? True enough, it’s gone. I’m left with a feeling that I had something good but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was…
8) Stockpile Your Information
To prevent from having to start from absolute zero, one way is to start your own resource file right away.
Anything that you deem to be useful in future could can go in here. Better to take up space than berating yourself later on, for not saving that piece of colorful brochure outlining your New Zealand trip itinerary.
Postcards, pamphlets, publicity materials, brochures, flyers, magazine advertisements and sales literature, all these can make their ways into your resource folder.
This way, you’ll have tons of material to start you off with your scrapbooking journaling and erase away your writer’s block.
Plus point, these materials usually contain brief yet informative descriptions.
9) Internet, Emails & Blogs
Who says you’ll be short of usable material?
There’s always the Internet to save the day. If you’re writing for a scrapbook page on your hobby of card-making, you’ll find loads of usable information on the Internet to pad up your writing.
And save those emails your long-distance friends or relatives sent your way! Witty remarks, wacky stories or unbelievable happenings in those emails could contain paperless material for your next story!
Oh yeah, these days, many people have their own blogs. If you have one, it’s a great idea to go back to some of your blog posts and extract out the good stories you want to put on your scrapbook pages.
With these resources, you don’t have to start from scratch again.
10) Bullet Points to Save the Day
You don’t have to flesh out a full story every time. If you wanna keep things short and sweet, and more to the point, use bullet points.
- Angsana Resort in Bintain, Indonesia
- May 2002
- First trip to Bintan.
- Enjoyed my first-ever luxurious spa session with Susan, my long-time friend. What a treat! Heavenly!
Bullet points are easy to read, save you the headache of making smooth transitions from one sentence to the next, and highlight the most important information straight away. Be it dots, circles or brads, bullet points make strong statements in your writing.
11) Practice, Practice, Practice
Scrapbooking journaling takes practice and you’ll get better and better with each little story that you share.
It’s basically about:
1) Collecting the information you need.
2) Organizing those information into a logical sequence.
3) Polishing your story till you’re happy with it.
With these 11 tips and ideas on scrapbooking journaling, I hope you’ll start writing from your heart, tell good stories, and create scrapbook pages that make you happy!
Below are some journaling products that many scrapbookers have raved about. They might be useful to you too…