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words + photos : wednesday

Today I want to focus on the words.


  • What if you collected stories the same way you collect supplies?

  • What if you did your journaling first, rather than last, in your creative process?

  • What if you began paying attention to your life in a way that enabled the stories to free-flow from your fingers onto the page?

  • What if you encouraged your kids (by example and through encouragement) to be the kind of people who grow up telling their own stories?

  • What if you truly valued your individual story and life experiences and were brave enough to share them with others?


Ae_observations

[ this is scrapbooking : part of a series on Simon's journey from Life Artist ]

I am one of those people who actually enjoys the process of adding the written story to my layouts. I begin most of my pages with something to say or a specific story to tell. Sometimes the words have been thought out (or written out) in advance and other times they are gathering together as I am grabbing my supplies and printing my photos.

Overall, what do I want to say?


  1. I want my stories to be real. Real to me means that I leave a part of myself within each story. I want to leave evidence of my existence in the words I chose.

  2. I want some stories to be long and complete. I want other stories to be quick - maybe just a few words to complement a photo that really needs few words to communicate a message.

  3. I want to tell stories that celebrate our everyday life as well as stories that deal with our challenges.

  4. I want to grow as a writer. I know that writing helps me know myself better.

  5. I don't want to be bound by fears of misspellings, grammatical errors, etc. I just want to tell my stories.

  6. I want my stories to show that I was paying attention to my life.


What do you want to say?

Ae_macjournal_2

[ MacJournal screenshot ]

How do I keep track of the stories I want to tell?


  1. Blog Posts : I have talked some in the past about using your blog posts as the content for your layouts. This has become routine for me. Remember you don't have to create a public blog - most programs give you he option of creating a private blog. Writing while you are living through an experience (even everyday life) is completely different than going back and trying to document something after the fact.

  2. Not all our stories are shared on this blog. Many of them go into a program I use called MacJournal. I use it to keep track of daily thoughts, stories, lists, etc. I have folders for me, Chris, Simon, Family, etc. Many of those words will end up on a scrapbook page or in a minibook. An easy way to do this if you don't have a Mac is to set up a Word document (or a folder with other topic folders inside) just for stories. Keep it on your desktop for easy access. Does anyone have a journal-type program they recommend for a PC?

  3. I also carry a Moleskine notebook with me for on the go thoughts. Over the last couple of weeks I think I finally made the move to one notebook (it was just getting to crazy with too many random books).

  4. If my notebook isn't with me I have also been known to use my phone to jot down story ideas as well.

  5. I don't write everything down. I tell stories I am inspired by at the moment. Sometimes I will be reminded of something to document at a random time - this is when a notebook or a computer file really comes in handy for jotting those things down before they are gone.


Grandpa

[ from A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking ]

Writing techniques:


  1. Start each sentence in your journaling with the same word. In the layout above about my Grandpa I used a bunch of choppy sentences that say things such as, "A family man. A farmer. An educated man." Inside the pocket is a note he had written me. Another favorite of mine was a minibook recently where each page began with the word "sometimes." There is no right or wrong for documenting your stories with words.

  2. I journal both on the computer and by hand for my layouts and projects. It often depends upon the length of the story and how much I care about getting the details right. I tend to be more organic when I write by hand (both in sentence structure + overall feel) and more structured when I use my computer.

  3. Make friends with your thesaurus. I refer to my computer version often.

  4. I aim for a combination of feeling + fact. Sometimes it is heavier on one or the other but in general I like to include some of both. The facts ground the story and the feeling gives it heart.


Lifeisforliving

[ from CK  Studio A February 2007 : read the journaling from a blog post here ]

Things to keep in mind as you focus on the words:


  1. You only have to tell one story at a time. Tell one story. Move on to the next one.

  2. Break your story down into manageable chunks. Some stories are super overwhelming. Where do you even begin? When you are documenting a story remember that you don't have to start at the beginning. Start in the middle. Start at the end. No one will ever know where you began your process. Write the easy part first and then move on to the tougher portions (or vice versa).

  3. It's ok to begin a project without knowing what you are going to say. It's ok to create layouts that  have just a few words. Often the process of creating the page can help you identify what is most important and what you want your words to communicate. The key is to make sure you add that story before you move on to the next project.

  4. Keep writing. Confidence comes with practice. Confidence comes with accepting your own personal voice.

  5. Everyone has their own issues related to writing. It is a very personal thing. Telling our stories is a very personal thing. Identify your own biggest writing challenge and begin working through it. Practice and patience with yourself are a couple things that will help you tackle those issues.

  6. Your family will thank you for taking the time to include the words (even if you are not there to receive the thanks).


Dottedline

[ The full words + photos series can be found here: monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday. ]

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60 thoughts

  1. Molly says…
    05/07/2008

    This week's information is like something people would otherwise pay (a good deal) of money for. It's a mini primer, based in so much practical experience. A keeper, for sure. Thank you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Martha says…
    05/07/2008

    WORDS ~ NEED to work on - I love to pick paers, embellies and alter something but I want to take that passion and put it into a legacy for my daughter and grandson!!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. melody ross says…
    05/07/2008

    ALI!!!!
    you never cease to amaze me. I am loving what you are doing this week, it is so much what I believe at the core of me...and it is inspiring me to get back into that part of myself again.......you are such a huge gift to the world....
    melody

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Jeanette says…
    05/07/2008

    One thing I am discovering about myself since I began scrapbooking and blogging is that I do enjoy telling the story behind the photo. And I do enjoy sharing thoughts.
    The motivation you are providing with regard to journaling is wonderful. I am fully MOTIVATED now. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Amber says…
    05/07/2008

    Hey there! I have your Vera Bradley bag - I am assuming you will be at CHA Summer (where I saw you last year with my Vera bag - and then you signed a copy of your book and gave it to my mom for me in Vegas)? If so, I will bring it; otherwise you gave my mom your address and I can send it to you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Susan E in VA says…
    05/07/2008

    I love how you always come back to the basics of what scrapbooking is all about. I love how every now and then you remind us (with a great article, by the way) of the things we shouldn't lose sight of. Thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Linn says…
    05/07/2008

    Thank you so much for taking the time (many hours, I'm sure) to put these posts together for us. It's so inspiring!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. KellyM says…
    05/07/2008

    Ali, I just wanted to tell you that you really inspired me with this post and I plan to start with my journaling going forward. I know I will really enjoy my process more this way, not starting with photos and ending up at the journaling. Thanks for this series. KellyM in MN

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Ida says…
    05/07/2008

    LOL I have a lot of journal books too....I guess you're over that phase.
    You can check here for a lot of journal software
    http://www.download.com/3120-20_4.html?qt=journal+software&tag=srch&tg=dl-20
    and Ali if you can spare a minute, pls collect Mother's Day Award here http://www.download.com/3120-20_4.html?qt=journal+software&tag=srch&tg=dl-20

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. kelly says…
    05/07/2008

    So great. I like the part about being brave enough to SHARE the stories. That's why I need to work on. In scrapbooking... and in life. But, it's all the same thing isn't it. Scrapbooking is a mirror of our lives... it should be at least.
    Have a great week.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. DeDe Smith says…
    05/07/2008

    Wow! How amazing is this! You truly inspire me!
    Can I just make another suggestion for journaling software for the Mac?
    Try Journler! It's awesome!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. christen says…
    05/07/2008

    i'm really enjoying the series this week, thanks so much!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Melissa says…
    05/07/2008

    I use Microsoft Office OneNote the way you use MacJournal. I have tabs for each member of the family plus a few others. The one great feature is that it auto-saves your work with every keystroke. I can easily jot down something quickly and move to the next task without the worry of saving and naming the file. The next time you pull up the program it starts you right where you left off.
    Looking forward to tomorrow's word + photos!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Deirdre says…
    05/07/2008

    I am going to print out that opening line: "What if you collected stories the same way you collect supplies?"
    Though since starting to blog, I'm making progress.
    Also wanted to share a program I have on my PC called Life Journal. (www.lifejournal.com)
    Positives--you can tag your entries into several catagories, search by date, and more.They offer a free trial.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Lynda says…
    05/07/2008

    Ali - Your blog this week is absolutely inspiring! I'm tingling from the creative thoughts that are bubbling up within me. I so love your perspective and the "real"-ness that you present. Keep it coming!!! I'm off to grab my notebook. You are blessed with a very special gift.
    Lynda

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Nicky Anderson says…
    05/07/2008

    Love it Ali - again, have to get more down to doing this stuff, especially Brody's story!!
    Thanks
    Nicky

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Theresa says…
    05/07/2008

    My favorite photo tip. Take the pictures and then take more. I grew up with film and the idea of wasting film was unheard of. The digital camera makes it easy to take a lot of photos I just need to remind myself that its ok to over photograph because I have a delete button.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Karla says…
    05/07/2008

    beyond informative. This post hits home for me in so many ways. I've always struggled with journaling. I find that the majority of my pages are lacking essence. I really enjoyed reading this ( and again :)
    Thanks so much Ali! Whew...better get to writing!
    -Karla

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Teresa says…
    05/07/2008

    Wow...thank you so much for this post! I really enjoyed reading it and it encouraged me to write more little things. Even though I do not have children yet, I believe that there are so many things to capture and to tell stories about. Usually is use little or no journaling because I think that the picture tells the story. Then I think about my children and grand children...they might want to read more about it... And you are right, it is not only the Birthday or Christmas every year that make life just so amazing, beautiful and adventurous.
    Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Suz says…
    05/07/2008

    Ohhh....Ali!! Thank you. Your are so wonderfully talented and inspiring not only in regards to your design style but with your written word. Thank you so very much for sharing your time, knowledge and talent! You simply rock!
    Suz

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Joy says…
    05/07/2008

    Ali, thanks for doing this article series. I've been looking back through my scrapbooks (kind of evaluating like you did with your anatomy of an album project) and I've realized a couple of things: 1) I am doing okay with journaling, but a lot of it is written to my children in future tense, and there is very little notation of milestones (like "David is six months and he is doing...etc.) so I have realized that there are a lot of stories I want to tell (and soon!) before I forget them. 2) You're helping me to realize that not every single page needs a long drawn out story behind it; it's okay to be short and to the point.
    So thank you, thank you, thank you for this article series! It's really been making me think and evaluate!
    -Joy

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. cmdeb says…
    05/07/2008

    You are sooooooo real! Sooooooooo right on target. THANK YOU for always sharing with us. Pictures without the story are meaningless to future generations.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Camille says…
    05/07/2008

    Ali, I am loving words + photos week. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such insightful ideas with us. I am learning so much.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Mel says…
    05/07/2008

    This post is so inspiring! I just finished several layouts without a lot of journaling and now I want to go back and write more. Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Emily says…
    05/07/2008

    Your posts this week have been incredible. So where my mind has been going lately. Keeping it simple, keeping it real. You are such an inspiration. I was going through some of the ideas I've saved from various magazines last night--the ideas I've held on to are the ones with a timeless quality, and probably more than half of them were your articles from CK. You really help me to see the big picture, no pun intended.

    Reply 0 Replies

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