Good scrapbooks tell a story through pictures, photos, memorabilia or anything else that has a special meaning or significance for the scrapbooker. Some scrapbookers do also include scrapbook journaling to enhance the story they are telling but for many this is a part which is often neglected. Scrapbookers specialise in creating pages which tell a very personal story but the true meaning of their story may not be fully appreciated if there are no words to complement their collection of pictures, photos etc..
What is scrapbook journaling?
Scrapbook journaling is simply adding meaningful text (words) to scrapbook photos and pages. I am not a scrapbooker myself but I was drawn to this popular and fascinating craft because of the way in which a personal story can be shared through a scrapbook simply by the choice and juxtaposition of photos and pictures and creative page designs. However, as the founder of Beginners guide to writing (a website which encourages people to get writing about their lives and experiences), I think that scrapbookers should embrace the opportunity to tell the stories and anecdotes behind the photos and pictures on their scrapbook pages. Scrapbook journaling is an important part of a scrapbook page but it is an element in scrapbook design which is often missing.
Scrapbookers can also be writers
For some scrapbookers writing or journaling doesn’t come easily whether it’s coming up with a catchy title for a page or a simple description of a photo. But, with time, effort and practice most people can start to produce words which can bring so much more to a page by revealing the stories that the pictures alone can’t tell.
How to get started
If you are a new or inexperienced writer, you could start with photos which only need a short description. Try the five Ws method (Who?, What?, Where?, When? and Why?) typically used by journalists, to help you get started. For example, who is in the photo, what is happening, where was it taken, when was it taken and why is it significant or interesting? This method at the very least provides the basic facts and will make the photos much more meaningful to people who look through your scrapbook without you there to fill in the gaps.
Beyond the five Ws
The five Ws are great for gathering the facts but this method can be a bit limiting so try picking out a photo which you think has more to reveal and scribble down everything you can remember about the photo and any emotions you feel when you take a closer look. If you find this hard, imagine you are showing the photo to a friend. What would you tell them about the photo? Would you simply tell them who is in the photo and when and where it was taken or is there more to tell? For example, was there anything significant about the setting or event, was it a happy, sad or particularly memorable occasion etc.?
You are more likely to speak openly, honestly and from the heart to a close friend or family member and so it is these are words you should capture for your scrapbook pages.
Write first, edit later
No one, not even experienced writers, get the words right first time so start by writing on a separate piece of paper or on a computer. You can add the words to your pages later (either hand written or printed). Don’t worry about grammar, spelling and punctuation when you first start scribbling, there will be time for editing later on.
Read it out loud
Reading your words out loud can be revealing and enlightening. Not only will you pick up on any glaring errors but you will also discover whether your writing flows naturally. Reading aloud also gives you a sense of whether what you have written sounds like ‘you’. Scrapbook journalling is a very personal thing and so you want your readers to hear your voice when they read your words and look at your photos.
How to place scrapbook journaling on your pages
If you haven’t planned ahead but decide you want to add some scrapbook journaling to a page which is already a bit busy then check out these useful tips from Debbie Hodge.
If you are already a scrapbooker I am sure you have great fun selecting the photos you want to include, choosing the paper or card stock, picking a colour scheme which co-ordinates with your photos, designing the layout of each page and deciding where you are going to position the photos etc. but remember that you can also have fun with journaling. If you feel inspired to give journaling a go, also take a look at my blog post Writing the stories behind your photos for some more tips and advice.