Journaling: Tell Your Story

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to your pictures
YOU are the best person to decide which are the RIGHT words!

Photos are great—they capture the image of a moment in time that won’t ever be repeated in exactly the same way—but they don’t tell the whole story.

It’s fun to see a photo my sister-in-law took of my niece while they were at the park, or a series of photos chronicling a friend’s family vacation, or a family heritage photo of a great, great grandfather! The photos by themselves only hint at some of the amazing experiences, thoughts, and feelings of the people I love. I want to know more!

The images make me smile and make me wonder . . .

  • What led up to this photo?
  • How were people feeling or what were they thinking?
  • What was being said?
  • Where and when was this taken?
  • Who are the people in the photo, and why are they included?

This is especially true when I’m looking at pictures that I consider part of my story, whether from my own life or that of my parents and extended family. Unfortunately, sometimes there are pieces of the story that remain untold, and whether there are pictures or not I’m left to guess at the answers to some of my questions.

journal

I hope that in my scrapbooking and family history I’m telling the stories and recording the details that others will be interested to know.

Here are some tricks I use to help me with journaling:

  • Carry around a notebook, or a notes app, or (better yet) some journal cards that could go straight into a scrapbook later.
  • Use an audio recorder or voice-to-text app to capture the words quickly. (Note: This doesn’t always end in highly accurate text, especially if you try it for a child who can’t say her R’s yet! 🙂 )
  • Record the dates, names, and places of photos.
  • Go beyond just dates, names, and places! How did things smell or feel? What was the conversation? What was I thinking about? etc.
  • Ask other people about their impressions from an event or moment, and record some of their thoughts, too.
  • Clip or print newspaper articles, or even Facebook posts and tweets, that relate to the story I’m telling.
  • Capture some of the words from texts and emails.
  • Write about yourself as well as the people around you.
  • Remember to record in words the things that you didn’t get photos of that should be in the story, too.
  • Have a list of go-to questions that can help you when you’re getting writer’s block in your journaling. These can help move you out of a slump!

Beautiful album pages are one thing, and a beautifully told story is another, but the best scrapbooks merge both of these things together. Everyone has a story to tell! What’s yours? And how will you tell it?

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