My scrap philosophy – journal, journal, journal!
In my mind, journaling is the most important part of our art. Think of it this way: Pictures fade and even get lost. We scrapbookers take the time (and a lot of it) to diligently preserve them in our photo safe paper with photo safe page protectors inside robust albums. We do this to ensure those photos are preserved and are offered as our legacy of family and our history. Well guess what? Memories fade and even get lost too. So why don’t we spend as much time preserving the story as we do the image?
If you agree in the value of journaling, then the next step is overcoming the challenges – so that it becomes part of the planning for every page you create; every memory (image and story) you preserve. The top three reasons I hear about why people don’t journal are:
1) I don’t know what to write;
2) I don’t like my writing; and
3) I am not really a writer.
Allow me to give you a different perspective on each of these challenges, as these perspectives are really what I would call my philosophy.
Reason 1: I don’t know what to write
Yes you do – you just might not know it. I have never been to a scrapbook retreat, or looked through someone’s loose photos in a shoebox, or asked about a framed picture in someone’s house and had the person who owned the photo when asked, “Oh wow, what is this photo from?” reply “I don’t know”. Have you? Nope, I bet not. Every time, there is a story or explanation of who is in the photo, when it was taken, where and more. Usually with a chuckle or smile too. Think about it. Even when you are sorting through your own photos looking to scrapbook a page, you will stop and half smile at a photo and a memory runs through your head about that event. This is all you need. That story you tell someone about your photo when they ask OR the story you run through in your own head – is your journaling solution. Write it down; and voila you have journalled!
Reason 2: I don’t like my writing
You don’t have to like your writing – no page is perfect, no handwriting is perfect – what is important is that it’s yours. Honestly! Think about an event like your birthday or Christmas where you would get a card or gift tag from someone like your grandmother every year, and every year you knew before even getting to the “love from Grams” portion of the card, that it was her writing. You knew the loops of her M’s, that her B’s looked like R’s, and that she would leave her pen down a little too long on the period as she thought of the next sentence. You knew her writing, and you love that know her writing. Well, let me be the first to tell you, your writing means as much to someone or many someone’s as hers does to you. So, and I say this with a smile, get over it – your writing is perfect just the way it is and means more to your loved ones than you can imagine.
Reason 3: I’m not really a writer
Are you familiar with Jane Austen, Ernest Hemmingway, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), and F. Scott Fitzgerald? These are just a few of the world’s most famous authors and they all presented their drafts to their publisher or editor riddled with spelling mistakes and poor grammar. They are known for it. In fact, many of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mistakes remain in his works (yatch instead of yacht, apon instead of upon). Do we love their works any less? No way. In fact, knowing that they made spelling and grammar mistakes makes them more real and their novels more endearing. Hmm. Don’t you think your family would feel the same about your writing? I do! BUT if this isn’t enough to convince you, a full sentence with spelling mistakes and poor grammar is a work of literacy magic if you consider the way most of us are using words these days in 140 character tweets and acronym filled texts – any full sentence is a reason to celebrate!
I am not perfect at journaling either; my overall philosophy is to do what I can, as best possible, but give it a good try every page! Often I will cut a square of cardstock, journal the memory with all my glorious spelling and grammatical mistakes, and then add a little tag, a little stamp of a key on that tag, and then tuck it behind the photo on my layout. I journalled and the story is preserved, just not there for everyone to see.
Journal, journal, journal!