Top Ten Journaling Tips

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, there are some things that a photo just can’t say. That’s why journaling is such an important part of scrapbooking!

What is journaling?
Your journaling tells the story behind your photo. It can be as simple as a name, date and place, or include anecdotes and conversations. You can journal in your own handwriting or type your journaling on the computer, then print it out and use it on your page.

scrapbook projectHow do I tell these stories?
Start with this: After you jot down the “who, what, where” details of your photo, consider what information is missing from your page. If you were to show your photos to an acquaintance, what details would you add verbally? What were the highlights of the day or the event?

If you want to add a bit more of a creative touch to your pages, you can incorporate these ideas:

#1: Computer journal. Typing your stories on the computer can make journaling faster, easier—and it can even check your spelling! Many people find that the more they journal on the computer, the more they write. It’s also a great way to experiment with different fonts and type sizes; you can center blocks of text or break them up into separate journaling pieces.

#2: Add your signature touch. If you computer journal, consider adding your own writing to at least some of your pages. It is, after all, a part of you—even if it’s messy or runs uphill! If you’re still hesitant, avoid journaling directly onto your background paper. Instead, write on a slip of paper—if you goof, you can simply toss it out and start over! Many scrappers compromise on this issue by computer-journaling a longer story as part of the layout, then hand-writing the date the page was completed (with a signature) on the backside of the page or toward the bottom right of the front side.

#3: Record Conversations. Conversations, especially the ones kids have, make for great journaling material! For example, a child’s conversation with Santa will bring back special (and often humorous) memories.

#4: Heartfelt Journaling. Heartfelt journaling focuses more on your feelings about a subject rather than just the facts. This is an opportunity to relate emotions about someone or something that touched your life. Try free-style writing about the person or event on scratch paper or on your computer. Write everything that comes to your mind—even if you think it’s silly—then edit from there.

#5: “Once Upon a Time”. This phrase can begin so many stories! Wedding and engagement pages, heritage and baby books can all take on a fairy-tale charm.

#6: File a report. Whether it’s a mock police report on how that vase was broken, or a “newspaper” story on the winning game, writing report-style adds a fun slant to any story.

#7: Tell a story. So many events have stories that may seem like small details to you, but will be very interesting to the future scrapbook readers. Consider your album to be a storybook about your family. Don’t forget to include the details. If your story is very long (say, describing the birth of a child) you might want to computer journal on an 8.5”x11” piece of paper. Slip it into a sheet protector and include it in the album next to the scrapbook page with the photos.

#8: Menus & recipes. Doing your Thanksgiving pages? Don’t forget to scrapbook a menu of the family’s traditional meal—whether it’s dinner on the town or a home-cooked meal. Include recipes for family favorites.

#9: Lists. Whether it’s a list detailing “Saturday Activities for The Smith Family” or a child’s birthday wishes, lists provide great snapshots of our lives.

#10: Poems & quotes. Got a favorite poem, song or Bible verse? What about famous quotes or sayings? Grab a book like “21st Century Dictionary of Quotations” to find suitable sayings for all your pages.

My favorite journaling tip? Remember that more information is always better. Those who read your scrapbook in future generations will be hungry for any stories, details, anecdotes, or glimpses into your family’s personality.

LeNae Gerig is the author of LeNae’s Scrapbooking Basics and LeNae’s 30-Minute Scrapbook Pages. She’s known in scrapbook circles as a “realistic” scrapper because she wants to create great pages quickly and easily. She’s the host of Scrapbooking101.net where she contributes monthly columns and layouts.


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