When you first approach journaling, it is natural to feel a little anxious. Those who aren't writers by trade may fear that their writing isn't up to par. But it is most important to remember that journaling isn't about proving your writing skills, it's about adding color to your photos, and incorporating your own voice. Many poets don't write in complete sentences or use the formal rules of grammar. So don't be overly concerned about those details. Here are a few journaling tips to get you started, or to help get you out of a writing rut.
- It sometimes is easier to do you page layouts first, and journal later. With the task of designing pages behind you, you can sit back, relax and reflect on your photos and wonderful layouts while you think of ideas to write about. Just remember when designing your pages to leave plenty of room for journaling.
- Instead of journaling directly on the page, always do so on another sheet of paper. Especially if you are hand-writing (as opposed to journaling on a computer), you can always create a second draft.
- Consider journaling on vellum, and placing lined paper behind the vellum in order to create straight lines. When you are finished, experiment with background papers behind your vellum for different looks.
- If you're in a rut, jot down keywords. Look at the photo(s) you are journaling for a write down the first things that come to mind. Perhaps the event was a family picnic. Jot down anything you remember from the day, including things that aren't in the photos. You may write down "lake, watermelon, sunscreen, volleyball, Aunt Bea's baked beans, the joke my brother told," etc. After you have your keywords jotted down, incorporate them into sentences.
- Keep a journal in advance. If you are at an event and are taking photos that you know you will using in a scrapbook, write down details as you're taking the photos. Names, date and time, weather, sights and sounds will all jog your memory when you sit down to write.
- Try to incorporate the five senses if you can. What things did you touch, what sounds did you hear, what colors do you see, what foods did you taste, and what smells do you remember? And keep in mind that smells are the sense that triggers memories best.
- Write casually, as if you are creating an entry in your personal diary. Again, this isn't being graded; those personal quirks of your writing are charming.
- Even if you don't particularly like your own handwriting, incorporate some of it into your scrapbook. You can always journal from a computer, but it's not as personal. Mix in some of your own writing here and there. Even if you don't like it, others are reminded of you by your personal writing style.
- If you're really in a rut, you may be experiencing writer's block, which usually comes to pass. Take a break, walk around the block, drink a cup of tea and come back to your journaling at a later time.