I've been thinking a whole heck of a lot lately about words.
It's not really something new, but something that keeps popping up as I work through current projects, plan future ones, and think about what matters most to me.
With Week In The Life™ coming up in the next couple of weeks I thought this would be a good time for a little pep-talk when it comes to including actual words in your projects. Last year one of my main Week In The Life™ goals was to simply include more words. I did just that (mainly by making time at the end of each day to write it all out in the form of a blog post) and I love, love, love the result. I'm planning to include that same emphasis on the words again this year.
I remember, many years ago, teaching a class to scrapbook retailers at a trade show. The whole "meat" of my presentation was that we, as people working in this scrapbooking/memory keeping industry, need to not only teach people how to work with the products, we need to teach them how to tell stories with words.
Writing your stories transcends products. It transcends trends. It's an activity that lives on long beyond foam stamps (still love) and mists and stickers and layout sizes and owls and pineapples.
You can add words to scrapbook layouts whether you use a ton of product or just a little, whether you use Project Life® or traditional layouts or digital pages or an art journal. There is room for words on your projects.
I think most of us scrapbook because we have something to say and something to celebrate and something to learn about ourselves in the process. We say it through our photos, through the products we select, through the way we craft stuff together, and through the words we choose.
The thing about writing is it doesn't have to be perfect. Repeat that to yourself again and again. It doesn't have to be grammatically correct. It doesn't have to happen in paragraphs. It simply needs to come from your heart.
Tell me more. Tell me the reason why. Tell my why this photo is meaningful to you. Tell me something I can't know by looking at the photos. Tell me why you are taking the time to record this moment, this day, this period of time, this photo. Tell me what and who you're thankful for and who makes you laugh best of all.
Sometimes it might be messy and sometimes it might be pointed and sharp. Sometimes it's conversational and easy. Sometimes it's super clear and other times we might need to work through it a couple times to make our intentions clear. Sometimes it's a list of words, or paragraphs or a single word that encapsulates the whole thing.
I think we're often afraid to put those words down because they are the most personal piece of the combination of elements. We fear judgement, we fear getting it wrong, we fear it not mattering. We leave it to the last thing in our process of memory keeping and then don't do it at all.
You can do this.
Write how you feel. Write what you love. Write what you see. Write what you hear. Write how you've changed and write how you're still the same. Write about that juicy piece of fruit and Thanksgiving and that awesome bargain you got yesterday. Write about what hurts and what heals. Write using that awesome combination I talk about again and again of both facts & feelings.
As most of you know, I'm someone who includes both long and short stories in my memory keeping adventures. It's just what I do. But I've also been practicing and embracing and working to simplify and get to the heart of the matter for a long time. I like the balance of the two because sometimes I want to tell a long story and other times I just want to add a bit more beyond what you might see in the photo.
Truth be told, it's the longer stories paired with a photo or two and an embellishment or two that captivate me most and give me the most long-term happiness.
You can do this.
All that my friends, to encourage you to include a few more words in your projects. Put the words first. Think about your Grandparents or parents or someone you love and imagine what you wish you knew about one week in their lives. Let those details guide you in telling your own story today. Start with an extra sentence or sentiment here and there. Add a list next time. Start with some facts and then add some feelings. For Week In The Life™, tell me the mundane stuff and the stuff that makes your life your life.
Let's tell stories together.