This Is Your Story Journaling Tip #4: Build On A Strong Foundation

Hey Everyone!

It’s Day 4 of the journaling tips and I hope you are enjoy our little tidbits of information.  Today we are going to take two of our earlier tips, One Little Word and Make A List and expand on them.  While they are both strong, stand alone methods, they are also good starting points for more in depth journaling.

How’s it work?  Pretty easily.  Once you have determined the word or words you want to use and placed them on your layout, you just explain their significance.  I mean, you choose that word for a reason, so tell your viewer what that reason is.

Pick up a pen or go to your keyboard and let your thoughts flow freely on to the page without worrying about grammar or punctuation until you have a first draft completed.  Once the first draft of the journaling or story is finished go back and polish it  The key to successful writing is actually good editing.  You are never going to get everything right the first time you write something, so be willing to do the editing work.  When you look back and read your journaling later, you will be glad you took the extra time to tell the story and tell it well.

Take a look at this page by Kristin.

KristinWhen she looks at this photo, she sees more then her husband and son recording a video critique for YouTube.  Kristen sees Joel and Luke bonding over a mutual interest and building their relationship. Kristin is looking beyond the the moment captured by the camera and into the meaning behind that moment, not just for her husband and son, but also for herself.

In this next example Kristin creates a list, a dad, a son and a game, for the title of her page and then explains their connection and significance in her detailed journaling.  Note that while her detailed journaling isn’t long, it does tell the complete story.

Kristin2An extra benefit to creating a list when you journal, even if you don’t end up using it on your layout, is that it acts like a outline for your writing and helps keep you on track.  By refering to it, you ensure that you are including everything that matters in your story.  See, lists aren’t just for shopping any more.

Now it is time to introduce you to a special project that is going to help you put all the tips we’ve talked about to work for you.

I think I have mentioned more than once that I have an adult son.  He is going to be turning 23 this summer and I could not be more proud of him.  Ten years ago, I wanted to do something special for his 13th birthday, something that would not only celebrate him becoming a teen, but offer him a few words of wisdom from his mom for the years ahead. I thought about it for a while and then choose to create a special scrapbook for him called “Thirteen Words to Describe You As You Turn Thirteen.”

My concept was to take the words, which were actually his traits, and share why those traits made him special.  Choosing the thirteen words was not hard, after he is my child and I know his strengths and weaknesses better than anyone.  I didn’t sugar coat anything, but choose words that truly represented him, such as strong, handsome, stubborn and loud.  For each word, I found a matching photo and put them together on a layout.  Now I could have stopped there and still had a fine present for him, but remember, I wanted to share some words of wisdom.

For each word, I explained to him why I had chosen it and then told him how that trait would serve him best in the years to come.  Let’s use loud as an example.  (Now, this is the point where I wish I could show you pages from his album so you could see if for yourself, but even ten years later, my son treasures that album and considers it a very personal keepsake, which means no photos for the web.)  This is what I wrote:

John Tyler you are loud!  You always have been and I think you always will be.  What ever you’re doing you’re usually creating your own sound effects for it and our house rings with kabooms, pows and ra-ta-tats all day long.  Some days it drives me bonkers and I am tempted to tell to hush up, but I don’t because I never want to still your voice.  I want you to know you are free to speak your mind and share your thoughts with me and that I will always listen.   Now that you are a teen, I hope you will continue to be loud and that you will use your voice to speak up for what you believe in, stand up for the underdog and give praise for the glory in your life. 

It was a relatively easy book to put together, yet ten years later it is still a priceless gift that my child treasures.  To think that it all started with just a list of thirteen words.

The beauty of this concept is that it lends it’s self to more than just birthdays.  If your child is an athlete, you could use their jersey number to determine the number of words you will use and create a list of what they have learned from participating in sports.  Teamwork, perseverance, and respect are just a few that come quickly to mind.  If you are going on a seven day vacation, you could use a word a day to describe your trip, or use the number of years you have been married and create a special anniversary present for your husband.  The possibilities are endless.

So, if you are interested, determine your subject, write up your list, gather up your photos and start creating your own precious keepsake.

I have class tonight so I will not be posting on Wednesday, which will give you time to get your project started.  I would love to see your pages, so please feel free to share links with me.

Before I sign off for today, here are some words of wisdom from Kristin on journaling:

I’ve found I journal more if I scrap it right away. Or if I make notes about the event via Facebook or a journal.”

Mmmm, notes.  That’s another kind of list, right?  LOL

Until next time…  Live the moment.  Scrap the memory. NL-siggy

2 thoughts on “This Is Your Story Journaling Tip #4: Build On A Strong Foundation

    • Sorry about that Geri. Should have edited myself better, but I was tired and to be honest, if I miss it the first time, I will miss it the second and third. But as long as you got it, I will not beat myself up too much. 😉

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