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weekend creative : documenting a week in your life

Next week, from Monday through Sunday, I will be documenting a week in my life with photos + words and I invite you to play along. (You could even begin today or tomorrow if you wanted - there is no reason it has to be Monday through Sunday vs. Saturday through Friday.)

This is a creative adventure. It requires little more than a camera and a willingness to pay attention and gather up stuff from your daily life.

Even if you have never scrapbooked before you can do this project.

This will be a pared down project from the one I have taught previously. Right now I am most interested in the photos and the words and that is where my focus will be throughout the week.

Some of you out there may be thinking: my life is boring or I do the same thing everyday or what story do I have to tell? As with many of the projects I have created, the preparation process is just as (and maybe more) important than the creative process of actually putting the album together. Most likely you will learn something about yourself over the course of this project. I learn something new every time.

Daily Tasks For The Week:

Take photos. Commit to keeping your camera with you throughout the day. Capture everything. Capture things that may seem silly or dumb. Capture the normal. Capture little things. Capture your environment. Here's a couple questions I ask myself or I keep in mind as I am going about this project: what's my daily routine, where did I go, who did I see, what do I do, what does the inside of my home look like, where do I spend the most time, etc. Capture stuff that you use everyday: your computer, a coffee mug, a favorite pair of shoes, a book, etc. Make sure to take a photo of yourself each day. See the list of possible photos below.

Upload photos. Take a bit of time each evening to upload your photos for the day. You can use this time to eliminate duplicate shots and if you are really on top of things you could print them out or upload them to your favorite developer to have them ready to create with the following week.

Designate a place for notes. Have a notebook or a couple sheets of paper set aside to jot down notes, stories, things to remember about each day. Don't make this complicated. Don't run out and buy a new notebook. The back of some junk letters, the leftover pages in a journal you have always meant to get around to, etc. You simply need somewhere to write down notes over the course of the day.

Take notes. Once you set up something to write on, do the writing. What should you write? Thoughts you have during the day, things your kids or your boss or your partner say, things you notice (simple and profound), what you ate, etc. Go for the basics. These notes will be transferred into your album when the time comes. See more about recording the story under the category heading below.

Designate a place to store life-stuff. Part of the process is collecting bits and pieces of your life over the course of the week. For this I recommend setting up an envelope or folder for each day. You may use some of this stuff and you may not. I tend to keep things like receipts, handwritten notes, etc. These will be companions to your photos + words.

Possible Photos:

- think about the most basic things/the real life things that you see everyday: those things that are so much a part of what you do each day that they simply blend into the blur of images
- chores
- loves
- dishes
- food you cook
- food you eat
- driving to work
- driving your kids to school/kids at the bus stop
- computer
- what you do for work
- looking down at your shoes
- your front door
- thermometer/temperature outside
- gas prices
- the grocery store/your grocery cart/bags of groceries
- the mess
- piles of stuff
- the funny face your kid is making/funny things they are saying
- laundry
- your child's room, toys, favorite books, etc.
- document the imperfect normalness of your existence

Check out a couple articles I wrote for my Everyday Life photobook at Shutterfly (these definitely apply to this project):
List of Everyday Photos
8 Techniques for Choosing or Taking Photos

For more everyday life photo ideas check out these Flickr groups:
My Everyday Life
Corners Of My Home
The New Domesticity
Self Portrait Tuesday

CATEGORIES:

To prepare for my journaling in the past I have designated categories: food, gratitude, work, stuff, etc. You can totally implement something like this for yourself - it helps keep you focused on what you need to document in a written format - or you can be more free-flowing. This time around I am going for more free-flowing word documentation - capturing bits of my life in words rather than giving myself specifics - either way you go will be just fine. Just make sure you write something as you go along. It is way too hard to try to remember what the heck happened on a specific even a few days later.

A couple things to note:

(1) This is not a class. I do not have a finished project to show you or specific instructions to follow. I will be working alongside and adjusting and going with the flow from Monday through Sunday. It's a journey we can embark on together. One of the big reasons I am doing this on my blog is so that I will actually do the project. You are making me accountable. This project is worth all the effort you will put into it...but it does take work.

(2) This does not have to be a 12x12 album. It can be smaller or larger. You can include tons of stuff or just photos + words. Part of the process will be figuring out how to showcase your photos + stuff. One of the things I am excited about in relation to sharing this journey is the variety of different albums that will result. Part of what I will be thinking about as I go along next week is how I want to put the album together. I am envisioning a hybrid combination of paper and digital elements. Other than that I will be using things I have on hand here at home. I will post some ideas for supplies/formats for putting the album together on Monday or Tuesday next week.

(3) Take this one day at a time. If you take a ton of photos on Monday and only a couple on Tuesday - no big deal. Let's get rid of that pressure before we even begin.

Special Request:

I know there are a bunch of veterans of this project out there. If you completed this album in the past, would you post a link in the comments section to your album if you have it posted it in an online gallery or blog? I would love to give people who are considering this project a peek at how some have turned out in the past (there have been more than one design for this album and lots of variations).

Also, if you have photo suggestions from your experience that would be great to share as well.

Dottedline_2

My friend Tracey over at Shutter Sisters is highlighting this project today and is planning to do a book giveaway with all four of my books. Click on over to enter and check out the Shutter Sisters blog.

Dottedline

A complete list of posts related to the week in the life project can be found here.

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149 thoughts

  1. Kristin says…
    09/26/2008

    Hey Ali,
    I will be doing this challenge. Have done a day in the life project before, but a week will be great! Can't wait to start doing it!
    Thanks for all the inspiration!
    Kristin

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. jennyg says…
    09/26/2008

    Can't wait to get started!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. René says…
    09/26/2008

    I'm going to try this, as well. I've got a lot of travel this next week and it will be nice to document it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Stacy says…
    09/26/2008

    Hi Ali,
    I've not done this particular project before but have always wanted to do something like it and I am really excited to get started. Thanks for posting it and the accountability portion and the ideas/suggestions. Yippee. Also, congrats on the new baby girl!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Amy says…
    09/26/2008

    I'm definitely going to do this, I just hope I can first get the courage to take pictures at work and then hopefully not be swamped where I don't have time to pay attention!
    And next week is shaping up to be extraordinarily ordinary, so it should be perfect! lol

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Theresa Merkling says…
    09/26/2008

    Ali! I took your class in Atlanta in 2006 and even completed the album on my return home. You are so right - it is absolutely one of my favorite moment in time scrapbook projects ever! I believe I'll commit and play along too - I even have another Baybox album in my cupboard waiting to be filled, so no more excuses for me! Thanks for all the awesome inspiration you provide. Solisbury Hill is now one of my fav background songs and you changed the way I view scrapping! My scrappy hero!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Tina Schadone says…
    09/26/2008

    I am going to try this!!!! Thanks for the inspiration.Taking a pic of myself everyday will be the most challenging thing and probably the most deleted photo.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Theresa Merkling says…
    09/26/2008

    BTW, if you wanted to see my finished product, I uploaded it to this site: http://tinyurl.com/52lwuf

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. kate in OH says…
    09/26/2008

    OK, Ali, you have inspired me to give this a go!
    I am looking forward to capturing the normal moments in our lives.
    Thanks for the ideas!
    Can't wait for Monday morning.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Cara says…
    09/26/2008

    OK, I'm going to do it. Have been thinking about this for a while, and you have gotten me super excited about it again.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. sannika says…
    09/26/2008

    I'm in, this sounds absolutely great!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Sarah says…
    09/26/2008

    This is awesome!! I'm so excited to be doing this project--and more excited to be doing it at the same time as everyone! I always enjoy seeing your finished project, but I think it'll be really neat to be going through the week thinking about everyone else documenting the everyday with me!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Nicky Anderson says…
    09/26/2008

    I might be able to squeeze this in - sounds exciting and a new way of looking at thinks.
    Looking forward to it.
    Nicky

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Lisa says…
    09/26/2008

    I'm going to try this starting on Sunday with my birthday. It will be a different than normal week though as I will be out of town moving my daughter and will only be working one day this week. I guess not all weeks are the same, huh! :) I am still trying to stick to my 365 day project also. I've missed some days and am behind in getting the photo's in the album...but I'm still trying. Thank you for all your inspiration!
    Lisa

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Jerrie says…
    09/26/2008

    I am so excited. I have started this project a few times and hopefully will be a bit more motivated following along here. Very cool!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Jennifer says…
    09/26/2008

    I loved the idea of this class when you taught it before, but I was never anywhere near where you were teaching.
    This project sounds wonderful and I'm looking forward to doing it. I'm really going to put some effort into doing this because I think the end result would be fantastic.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Jodi says…
    09/26/2008

    Ali, I am so excited about this project! I take pictures of my sons almost every day, but they always seem to just be "pictures." They don't really tell a story. I'm excited to shoot the everyday "things" in our life as well! I'm so inspired, I might just start today!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Kerry says…
    09/26/2008

    Hi Ali! I am looking so forward to doing this. Next week seems so perfect for me. Thanks for the prompts!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Lauren says…
    09/26/2008

    As a 'veteran' of this project, my photo advice to any newbies is to take more pix than you think you'll ever need. Just take photos of everything! Even the stuff you think you won't want to remember (piles of laundry, your cluttered desk or kitchen counter, etc.) Also, be SURE to get more than one shot of yourself each day. I was a bit of a slacker on that, and I regretted it very much when it came time to pull the album together. Yea! This is gonna be fun!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Lydia says…
    09/26/2008

    Next week will be the perfect week for this! We'll be on vacation, so it won't be a typical week, but it'll be cool documenting the little things of vacation as well as the tourist attractions.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Tina Stryde says…
    09/26/2008

    I'm in! This is going to be a lot of fun...thanks once again Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. tracey says…
    09/26/2008

    oh goodie. i am excited...and a little nervous. is that normal?

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Maureen says…
    09/26/2008

    I'm going to do this as a gratitude journal. What IS more important than the daily?

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Sher B. says…
    09/26/2008

    This is a wonderful project! When I took this class with Ali in Nashville I thought it was going to be overwhelming taking all the pictures and trying to capture my "boring" life. It turned out to be so fun to ask the people that I see all the time and sometimes or some even complete strangers if I could take their pictures (store clerks for example) while I explained what I was doing. I even met some scrappers along the way who were interested in the project. Have fun, you will be surprised at what you "see" in your daily life as you do this! Sher

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Tina J. says…
    09/26/2008

    It's my pleasure to share my Week in the Life album. (By far my favorite scrapbook project ever!) Here's the link: http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/pg.asp?cmd=display&layout_id=942064
    Tina J.

    Reply 0 Replies

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