Angie Lucas and I were guests on this week's Paperclipping Roundtable podcast and it was like two old friends talking about scrapbooking! Actually, it wasn't like that, it was that. Ha. The topic for the week was all about making journaling more interesting and less a rattling-off of facts. We thought we'd share some of the things we talked about (you can read Angie's tips here and listen to episode 251 here).
1. Consider your audience.
Sometimes it's hard to make words seem interesting because you're not sure who they're meant for—so just arbitrarily decide and they'll start to feel more natural! Write as if you're telling a friend or relative about the funny details of an event, or speak to your loved one's future self, or write a letter, like this one. It doesn't matter if Washington, D.C. doesn't read my scrapbook page—it's just a device that helps provide focus.
2. Paragraphs are just one tool in your writing arsenal.
There is no rule that says scrapbook journaling must come in the form of a 5-8 sentence paragraph. The best scrapbook journaling tells a story, and there are many ways to do this so give yourself a break from writing in complete sentences from time to time.
3. Use the three Cs.
When I teach photography classes, I love to encourage people to use the three Cs to take the most meaningful photos without needing to take hundreds of photos. The three Cs (context, character, and close-up/color commentary) can easily be adapted to writing, too. In this page I focused in on Gracie's exploits in the mud, and used my loud inner dialogue about it as my journaling. What could have been a piece of journaling that said "Gracie loves to play in the mud, but boy, does she make a mess sometimes!" turned into a funnier, richer experience when told this way.
4. Dig deep by writing your observations/thoughts about how something—or someone—made you feel.
It's easy to scrapbook events because they're such a rich resource of information, but writing about someone's influence on you provides depth that rattling off facts simply can't achieve. I know I would have loved to read about the people who helped shape the character and perspective of my grandparents or great-grandparents, because it would have given me insight into what (and who!) mattered to them. Feelings are powerful, and are great vehicles for authentic words!
5. Don't report, tell stories.
People are natural storytellers—we want to share the funny, sad, challenging, or inspiring things that affect us. Think about when you're just talking about your day with a loved one: you aren't reporting facts like a beginning newspaper writer, you're telling a story. It's a subtle shift in thinking but it can help draw out more natural, interesting writing when you approach scrapbook pages the same way. Make pages because they tell stories, not because you want to capture every single event on the timeline in detail. There's no way you'll preserve all the stories in your scrapbooks, but writing them is so much easier when you realize what a gift they are, no matter how ridiculous they might be sometimes : )