Journaling Mini-Course: Revelations

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

How many times in a week do you see or hear something and think “Oh, that reminds me of…”? This happens all the time for me and I do my best to be conscious of the opportunity that thought represents. I call these memory keeping revelations, those a-ha moments where your mind identifies a fantastic story that weaves time together.

Everything in our life is about connection – between people, places and things, between past and present, or between our inside and outside selves. Every moment is an opportunity to recognize those connections. With every scrapbook page, you can choose to document them.

Traditional chronological scrapbooking doesn’t necessarily support this concept. When you are caught up in the right now, you may not be able to draw those connections and see the deeper meaning (let alone journal about it).

While many scrapbookers have embraced non-chronological, scrap-what-you-want it is often easier to scrap an event or a beautiful photo. Taking this next step does require a little extra work, but as you practice, you won’t be able to stop your own flood of revelations.

Assignment

Select one recent photo you really love. Print it out or just have it open on the side of your computer screen. Browse through your photo archive to look for various others photos, from a different time period, that you can connect to this one. Choose one example to write a paragraph in your journal about. Finally, consider incorporating these revelations into your journal-keeping.

  • Have you ever scrapbooked a story not related to the time or place of the photo?
  • Have you ever paired two seemingly unrelated photos to tell a story?

Further Discovery

Vintage Photos: Making Connections – This blog post shares examples of how scrapbookers have told richer stories by uncovering the connections between images.
Scrapping Real Life (Or Is It?) – A discussion on how some scrapbooks portray a glossier image/story on their pages than what is reality.

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Simple Tip Saturday with Kelly Sroka

Simple Tip Saturday series this year, I’m inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Simple Scrapper team member Kelly Sroka with her simple tip.

Simple Tip Saturday with Kelly Sroka

What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

When I first started Project Life, I could never remember what our family did from day to day. I would sit down to journal on my cards and draw a complete blank! What did we do on Tuesday? What movie did we watch on Friday night? To simplify this process, I started using Oh Life. Every evening I receive an e-mail that asks me what I did that day. I write a few short sentences about our daily events and hit send. When I am ready to journal about that day, I can go to the website and read my notes.

What problem does it solve for you?

Now that I am using Oh Life, I always have a record of what our family has been doing. I can quickly and easily document our activities in my Project Life album. I can write about events even when I do not have a specific photo to use. My journaling is now much more interesting and full of detail.

Why do you think it works so well?

The Oh Life program works well for me because I am usually at my computer in the evening. An e-mail pops up, I record the details for the day, and then send the reply on its way. (The e-mail always notes what I wrote a year ago. It is really interesting to see what our family was doing on the same day last year!) Later on, when I am ready to work on my Project Life album, I just go to the website and read what I have written.

How can others get started with it?

Signing up for Oh Life is simple—just go the the website at www.ohlife.com. The program is free and extremely easy to use. Oh Life does not, however, have a mobile app. There are a number of other programs (some free, some for a fee) that do work with smartphones and tablets. Day One (dayoneapp.com) is one I highly recommend for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Others include Everday Timeline for Mac and Diaro for Android.

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and run.

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Journaling Mini-Course: Paths to Deeper Meaning

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

There are many ways to slice and dice the scrapbook community. One method divides scrapbookers between those who emphasize the creative process and those who emphasize telling the important stories of life. Of course there are some that regard either aspect equally as well, but I believe they are the minority. Most of us lean one way or another, and I suspect those of you here at Simple Scrapper prefer to focus on the stories.

The reason I point this out is because there are just so many stories to tell and just so little time in our lives. To me, this means that each layout should really count – should do its best to celebrate the small slice or big chunk of life it represents. You need words to do that though, and more than just a few.

That said, it isn’t just about writing more. Adding more meaning to your journaling is about uncovering more of the story than the photo’s simple facts. This is where your journal-keeping practice comes in. As you spend a little more time writing outside of your scrapbook pages, you will naturally discover the key paths to deeper meaning, the how and why of the story:

  • relationships – why the subjects and their history matter
  • changes – how the subject has developed over time
  • traditions – why the subject is meaningful to your family
  • journeys – how the subject has traveled (emotionally or physically)

Assignment

Look at 10 of your most recent scrapbook pages and answer the following questions:

  • Is there journaling on each page?
  • Does the journaling go beyond who, what, when and where?
  • If you already write a lot, does the journaling hit on the why and how?

Now choose one scrapbook page and use your journal to explore more of the story. Compare what you originally wrote on the page with what could have been. Don’t have any regrets – instead use this wisdom to inform how you create your next page.

Further Discovery

Meaningful Journaling – A blog post with simple guidance on going deeper in your scrapbook storytelling.
Your Words, Your Story – A print book dedicated to helping you improve your scrapbook page journaling.

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Journaling Mini-Course: Purposeful Practice

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

Our final technique to help you improve your writing (not to mention the added benefits to your inner being) through journal-keeping invites you to select a focus point. The idea is to choose a theme for your journaling and writing on that theme regularly.

Your theme can be a person, place or thing; it can be idea like gratitude, family or simplicity; or it can be a way to compartmentalize parts of your life, such as crafting, reading or work. Narrowing your writing topic to one smaller than “life, generally” can help you develop creative writing skills, as you seek to discuss the topic in a variety of ways.

Themed journaling can assist with developing the basic framework for a scrapbook album project or simply reveal stories you want to celebrate with photos as well. It can also give you a more meaningful purpose for keeping a journal. This theme-based practice can be the entirety of how you journal, or just another weapon in your arsenal.

One thing to remember: A themed journal exercise doesn’t need to go on forever. It is simply more than a one-off type of prompt-based writing exercise. No matter how you journal, it is the simple act of choosing to do it and to write regularly that will help you refine your scrapbook journaling skills, give you more confidence in writing and offer you a safe creative platform to explore your ideas.

Assignment

Select a topic you want to explore more fully and with regularity. Use a specific notation or sticker in your journal to indicate the theme, or choose an alternate journal to collect these thoughts.

  • What are the ways that journaling improves your outlook? your writing skills?
  • Does the idea of regular journaling on a theme appeal to you?
  • Have you ever kept a gratitude journal before?

Further Discovery

Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal – Get advice on incorporating this specific journaling theme into your writing practice.
Gadanke – Celebrate your story with a hand-crafted journal from my friend Katie Clemons, complete with ready-to-write prompts.

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Journaling Mini-Course: No Safety Net Exercise

The Art & Practice of Journaling free mini-course from Simple Scrapper offers a guided path to better scrapbook journaling.

The Art & Practice of Journaling mini-course at Simple Scrapper

Lesson

We all face hard days, times, periods (decades?) in our lives. It is simply part of the ebb and flow of the world and our place in it. Scrapbooking about those less-than-happy times can test the inner strength of even the most experienced journaler.

When we begin to explore the hard stuff it can feel like falling – it’s uncontrolled and scary. The uncertainty of what we might uncover often stops us from working through it, from going deeper. So we avoid those topics and often do not journal about them privately, let alone create scrapbook pages about these stories.

I’d like to invite you to embrace the idea of writing without a safety net, of digging into these subjects that might be harder to process. To do this with ease, you can use a type of exercise called freewriting. Most often this is a timed exercise where you write on a specific topic in a stream-of-consciousness format. You write without regard to spelling, grammar or even making coherent statements.

Freewriting is a method to start connecting feelings with facts through writing very quickly. By not spending too much time thinking, you can move through may interconnected ideas while minimizing the paralyzing effects of emotion.

Note: Freewriting is a tool you can use to generate ideas as you explore a particular topic. While morning pages is a type of a freewriting exercise (with its own constraints), here I am discussing them as two separate tools to improve your scrapbook journaling.

Assignment

Use the idea of timed freewriting to go out of your comfort zone and explore a difficult topic. Then, read over your writing to identify truths, themes or other new ideas you might want to expand upon with journaling on a scrapbook page.

  • Were you able to keep writing without stopping?
  • Did you discover anything new from the experience?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe writing about a difficult topic using this method?

Further Discovery

Getting Started: Freewriting
Journaling the Hard Stuff

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