Random thoughts about paper-crafting

So it's no shock to anyone that I move in crafty circles, especially on-line. There are several paper-crafting websites I visit daily to keep up with all things scrapbooking and stamping. Today, while doing that I ran across a message board post from a scrapbooker that prompted me to write down a few notes about journaling on scrapbook pages.

The gist of her post was "I have hundreds of layouts that are finished but I can't put them in an album yet because I haven't journaled on them. I don't know how to journal, what to write, and I hate my handwriting."

The "problem of journaling" is common among scrapbookers and the topic of journaling as it relates to scrapbooking is one that I have strong feelings about. To me, a scrapbook page isn't complete until the written story is recorded. 

Yes, a good photo can elicit emotions of many kinds, but unless the details of the story are written down, the story may fade away in less than a generation. A pretty scrapbook is just a pretty scrapbook unless you write down the story too. 

Since most people who enjoy scrapbooking are very visually-oriented, it's not uncommon for the written story to get treated as a lesser element because it's not as visually "pretty". 

While the embellishments and the pretty paper and the fabulous photos make a scrapbook page feel like a visual treat, it's the story that it records that gives it value and depth. 

Five tips for improving your journaling strategy:

1. Don't think of journaling as the last  piece of the design puzzle. Journaling shouldn't be an afterthought. Every scrapbook page deserves balance--photos, title, story and "the pretty". ("The pretty" is what I like to call the scrapbooker fun stuff--the paper, embellishments, ribbons, brads, and  any other element that is included as support for the story.)

2. Change up the voice from which you normally journal. If you feel stuck in a journaling rut, change up your approach. Have you ever written a letter in your scrapbook? A poem? Used the lyrics of a hymn or quoted a Bible verse? 

3. If you aren't sure where to physically place the journaling on the page, snap a photo of the page in progress and look at it with fresh eyes. Sometimes an image on a screen can present a fresh perspective. 

Also, if you can't dedicate enough space on the page to tell the story you want to capture, there is nothing wrong with creating a page of journaling--either by making a spread or by including the journaling on the back of a layout.

4. If you aren't sure what to write, grab a voice recorder (or an app) and imagine that you are showing this page to someone whom you don't know. Speak into the recorder what you would want them to know about these photos and this page. Look for things to share that may be not-quite-so-obvious. When you are finished recording, transcribe what you said onto paper and use it as your journaling.

5. Play word swap. If your journaling  reads a little lack-luster, pull out a thesaurus and find alternate words for a few of the key descriptors. 

Pictures are important--on this most all scrapbookers agree. However, journaling is vital. Writing the story captures the details that may otherwise be unknown, neglected or easily overlooked. Go the extra mile to preserve and share your stories with those you love.

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