Do you struggle to include more than just the date and event on your scrapbook pages? One of the things I love about scrapbooking as opposed to keeping a collection of pictures in a photo album or on my computer hard drive is telling some of the stories of our lives. It allows us to going back later and say Oh yeah! I forgot about that!
When I first started scrapbooking, it took me a while to become comfortable putting words on my pages. Maybe it’s because I was used to just seeing photos all by themselves in albums – without any words at all. The scrapbooks I made as a teenager didn’t have any journaling in them either – just the basics: who’s in the picture, where it was taken and the date.
Somewhere along the way, though, I learned a really great trick for getting more of the story onto my pages. Here’s the idea: just imagine that you are sitting on the couch with someone as they are looking at the pictures in your scrapbook. (Or standing over your shoulder as you are running a slide show of your pages). What would you tell them about the photos on your pages?
That’s all you need to get started writing meaningful journaling: just tell the story in your own voice, as if you were talking to a friend. It doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece in order for it to communicate a piece of your life. Start with the who/what/why/where/when of the photos just to get into the habit including more words on your pages. As you become more more comfortable with the process, add more details and background. Some examples are funny or memorable things that happened (even if it’s not caught in the photos), how you felt about what was going on or why you love those photos. For example, on a recent Halloween page, I wrote about a man who thought my daughter’s costume was a pilgrim instead of a pirate and how we would have gotten lost if my husband hadn’t been leading the way. Yes, the costumes were cute and it’s fun to have a picture of them but I think adding more of the story really enhances my scrapbook pages.
This week, my stepson had to have his dog Dixie put down and my daughter-in-law asked me for some pictures of the dog to make a photo book. When I found some pages in my scrapbooks about her, there were some great details that I had completely forgotten. Things like how she used to ride in my step-son’s pocket, where her favorite spot to sleep was as a puppy and what her nicknames were. I am so glad that I included those things because they will help us remember her!
As I get older, I find that things I thought I would neverforget really do start to fade away after a while. I think I’ll always remember what time we walked up to the bus stop in elementary school but in reality, I’ve lost the memory of much more important things than that. In addition, my point of view has changed over the years and it is interesting and instructive to read what I wrote about our lives 10 or 15 years ago.
I encourage you to start telling your stories to an imaginary audience just as if someone were listening to you speak. While you might not be sure who is listening or reading it right now, at some time in the future, you or future generations will be excited to remember the big details as well as the little ones that you have taken the time to record.