Thanks for coming back for my the second post in my series of journaling tips. Yesterday we covered Use What You Have, and that post can be found here on the blog. Today we are going to cover the power of a single word to tell a story in One Little Word.
I’m sure you have all heard the famous quote, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. While most of us don’t have clue as to who Edward Bulwer-Lytton is or why he made that statement in 1839, we still know the words today because the are true. Words have power. A single word can cut as swiftly as a blade, heal as gently as a mother’s kiss or tell a story.
I am a advocate of One Little Word for journaling. It’s easy, it’s fast and if you choose the right word it is speaks volumes, as evidenced in this layout by creative team member Marla.
This is a case where not only is love all you need, it is all you need to say. That one word, love and that adorable photo, sum up Marla’s feeling for her sweet nephew and the relationship they share.
Words like love are especially good for one word journaling because of the emotions they evoke in us all. We all know what love is, so we can look at this layout and know on a personal level what Marla is feeling, which helps complete the story for us.
While one word journaling can be used to express the depth of emotion, it can also be used to sum things up rather tidily. Take a look at this page by CT member Amy.
Her word, cousins, works with the photo to tell this familial tale, while the smile on those five faces add some visual details to the story. With one word and one look we know that these are loving cousins who share a tight bond.
When using One Little Word for you journaling there are a two rules I have that I would caution you to keep in mind.
First, make sure the word you chose is relatively simple and well known with some emotional complexity. Your viewers, whether they be your family, friends or future grandchildren are going to have to be able to relate to the word to understand the significance of it on your layout.
Second, make sure the word you choose speaks to and is supported by the accompanying photo/photos. Since you are only using those two things to tell a full story, you must ensure they are in tune. A photo of your family with the word gopher may make sense to you now, but over time it will degenerate into a frustrating puzzle for your children and grandchildren and a sign that great-great granny was slightly loopy to your descendants.
One Little Word, when done well, can be an easy and effective journaling technique for those who are not comfortable writing, but it can also be the start of bigger, and yes, better journaling. Next time we are going to look closer at using one word, or a list or words, as a prompt for more in depth story telling, like the family gopher story. 😉
Before I go though, I want to share with you Amy’s thoughts on journaling:
“I will be honest, journaling is my least favorite part of scrapping. For that reason, I usually procrastinate and save it for last. However, when I look back at my old albums, the journaling is often my favorite part.
Journaling makes me nervous mostly from a grammar perspective. I am convinced that my future grandchild will have a masters degree in English and be critiquing my grammar and punctuation. After years of struggling with this fear, I am finally getting to the point where it is becoming less of an issue.
I scrapbook primary for the purpose of recording my family’s memories. If I am constantly paralyzed by my fear of punctuation then my stories will not get recorded and I would venture to say that in the majority of my layouts the story could not be told with pictures alone. My husband and kids love looking back at the photos but this is almost always accompanied by them reading the journaling.
I am currently obsessed with Project Life and in that format the journaling is literally about half of the story and half of the layout. I love documenting the funny things my kids have said and that can not be done with photos alone. So if you struggle with fear of grammar as I do, rest assured that future generations will likely be thankful for the stories we have recorded rather than being critical of them.”
Great advice Amy! Thanks for sharing those words of wisdom with our readers. Hopefully it will inspire others to worry less about the grammar and punctuation, or in my case spelling, and more about letting their voice be heard and their story be told for future generations.
Until next time. Live the moment. Scrap the memory.