On the topic of Journaling

In this thread in The Pub at 2Peas, *Rosy* asked some interesting questions about journaling. Here are my answers:

*How important is journaling to you?

To me, the journaling of a story is at least as important as the photos—maybe even more. After all, all it takes is one generation for the entire story of a photo to be lost. I rarely do a layout without any journaling because there’s always a story to tell.

*How important is it to the publications/DTs you're pursuing?

Earlier this year I competed for a position on a design team. One of the requirements of the competition was that the layouts submitted have a title, photos and handwritten journaling. That’s an on-going requirement of the team, because the team is sponsored by the author of the book “Hand Lettering Made Easy”. The book encourages hand-journaling as opposed to computer-generated journaling. It would seem hypocritical to have the design team producing layouts that didn’t follow the mission of the book.

It was this position of valuing journaling that made me want to be a part of this particular DT. I wanted to be stretched into new areas and try some new things – including more handwritten journaling. I knew this DT position would meet those needs.

That being said, I look thru current magazines and I see plenty of journaling but very little hand-written journaling. I’m torn on this topic. I completely respect those people who are happy with their handwriting. I love to look at layouts that utilize handwritten journaling. They are indeed, very special. However, I think the computer does have a place in my scrapbook, just as it has a place in my life. Everything else I write, I do so using the computer. Because of this, I find it easier to write by touching keys rather than forming words with a pen. There are also fonts, formatting and spell-check. All are handy tools for a writer and a scrapbooker.

*What role does it play in your designing process?

Journaling plays a heavy role in my design process. I give the journaling the same “weight” as the photos. Usually I do the journaling first, before the layout even begins to take shape in my head. To me, the story matters as much as the image that illustrates it.

*What is most memorable to you in others' journaling? What do you like/dislike?

I admit it – I am a sucker for two things: catchy titles and sappy or funny journaling. I love titles that play on words. I love titles that are ripped from everyday life. I love twisted titles. I love titles that stay on the brain as catchy. I think a good title can make or break a layout.

My favorite layouts are those that evoke emotion. They either make me laugh out loud or they make me cry.

I will never forget the first layout that ever made me cry. It’s Rebecca Sower’s layout called “Erin, Easter 2000”. It’s in her first book, Scrapbooking Life’s Little Treasures on page 42. The layout is very simple and the journaling very brief. It’s a conversation between mother and daughter about an Easter dress. To me, it just summarizes so well, what it must be like to have a daughter, something I know nothing about but dream of on occasion. And that, made me cry.
That experience also taught me a lesson about the power of words in our scrapbook. Without the journaling, they are just pretty pictures.

Since then, I’ve learned that I cry easily over other scrappers touching layouts. It seems sweetness comes thru easily when accompanied by the love of the creative soul. I admit it…I have a magnifying glass in my scrap space for reading the minute journaling in magazine layouts. I thrive on the stories.

If a layout makes me laugh, you can bet I will love it. The ability to write funny journaling is something I aspire to. Funny without crossing into stupid. It’s a goal. I don’t see funny very often, but when I do, I love it.

The other characteristic I like to see in journaling is honesty. Yes, we all know that Susie Scrapper’s daughter is “so darn cute” but that is (usually) obvious from the photos. I can get to that point without any journaling at all. All mothers think their babies are “the cutest ever”. It’s a given. Give me a “slice of life” memory that illustrates who this little girl is. Tell me the unique things about her. Share part of her story that’s not so obvious, even if it isn’t perfectly blissful. Be real. Sometimes life is messy and that’s ok.

There are a lot of great points made in the thread on journaling. Check it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK, Sarah, I'm finally back online, a little. I'm enjoying catching up on your blog. I always love your writing. This post got me thinking about my scrapbooking, which I always see as a chore. I hate that, because other creative things I absolutely love to do. I don't know if my expectations are too high and I never meet them or if it takes too long and doesn't seem like I accomplish enough. I don't know. anyway, I love your journaling and I'm horrible about including it. But I have a bunch of sheets of paper around my house with little conversations with Jonathan or funny or touching things he has done. Why not combine those with my scrapbooking? I can design pages around that journaling that I already do. I'm sure among my millions of (digital) pictures, I can find the right one for the journaling.