Scrapbook Journaling: Going Beyond the Five Ws and the H, Part II

by Lain Ehmann on November 9, 2010

Scrapbook journaling is a passion of mine. As a journalist for the past 10-plus years, and as a scrapbooker for about that long, I’m trained to think a little deeper about things. The crazy thing is, while I “think deep thoughts,” I don’t always convey those to the journaling on my scrapbook page. Weird, huh?

As I’ve been leading the LOADsters through the process of telling our stories in the Layout a Day challenge, I’ve been thinking more and more about what’s missing from *MY* scrapbook pages. And I’ve come to the realization that while I’m a writer at heart, my layouts are missing some words. So here is the second in an occasional series on journaling deeper that I hope will help you in your own process.

Alex S/Flickr

As I mentioned in the last post on scrapbook journaling, going with the “Five Ws and the H” when writing is a good start. But if we really want to dive into our stories, we need to go a little deeper. Today, I’m going to discuss the second W, “What.”

On its most basic level, the “What” deals with what’s going on in layout — a birthday party, a trip to the apple orchard, a day at the beach. In fact, the “What” is usually pretty apparent from the photos, if you’re documenting an event.

But sometimes it’s not so clear, like in a personality page, or a page where the photo doesn’t completely tell the story. In these cases, to give the complete story, you’re going to have to go a little more in depth in your journaling. You have to provide context, so your readers will know what you were trying to accomplish with your page.

And even with pages where the photo tells the story, I think the best journaling is on layouts where the scrapbooker doesn’t just tell what is happening, but tells a story. For instance, which would be more compelling on this personality page, the story I told, or a simple sentence, “Callie at Faneuil Hall in Boston?” I know which I prefer!

Here’s another example. For this page, I could have simply said, “Kinsey takes her camera everywhere!” Umm… boring. The story I included offers much more perspective on my daughter’s personality, making the page much more meaningful.

Yes, it takes more work. But the payoff is huge.

So, the next time you’re creating a scrapbook layout and want to work on the “What,” think about:

What do these pictures mean to me?

What am I trying to convey?

What do I want my readers to know about this event?

No, you don’t have to do this on every layout. I certainly don’t! But when you want to create a more powerful page, now you know WHAT you have to do. ;)
Photobucket

P.S. Did you miss the others in this series? Check them out here:

Scrapbook Journaling Part One: WHO

  • LCSmithSAVED

    A good test is if you have to explain your page to someone that you are showing it to. I intend to review some of my older pages and add a note either to the back or a loose page tucked behind with a pull tab, with “the rest of the story”…

  • Anonymous

    Ooh, great idea!

  • amyptucson

    I, too, am a writer and struggled for several years with journaling on my pages, wondering why it sounded so stiff, so superficial, and so unlike me. Finally I realized that writing on a page that has to look good was a real buzz-kill. I write freely on a computer, and the writing comes out in my own personal style. So now I know I have to journal that way, even if the final result is handwritten on my page. (P.S. Some scrappers might find it’s the exact opposite for them — whatever floats your boat!)

  • Anonymous

    That’s great that you figured out a way to make it work for you.
    Experimentation is so important because we don’t all work alike!
    Thanks for sharing. :)

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