Journalling step by step

Posted by Linda Gransby on

Journalling step by step

You’ll probably be aware that a crucial part of a meaningful scrapbook page is journaling…

I know a lot of people find journaling really difficult, and some people enjoy writing more than others, but like any other skill you can learn how to do it, and you will improve with practice.  It is worthwhile and it will give your scrapbooks a depth and lasting importance that will make them treasured family heirlooms.

You have something unique and valuable to say on pages that will make them precious and memorable to your family and friends.. The knack is knowing how to get what you have inside of you into a written form.

Try these different types of journaling with your pages, it’s easier than you might think!


Type one: 5 ‘W’s journalling

At the very least, you should always include some of the 5 W’s on your pages….  Who is in the photo; When it was taken; Where it was taken; Why it was taken; What’s the event

Names and a date on your pages are especially important. You don’t have to label every page in an album, but it’s important to make it clear who the main characters are and when the photos were taken.  This might not seem important now, but in 20 or 50 years it will be. If you are not around would the people looking at this picture know who it is?

Important tip: don’t use ‘mum’ or ‘grandad’ etc., use a person’s real name!

If I were to create a scrapbook page about this photo using the name and date journaling approach, I would simply include a line that said something like ‘Karen and John with Ethan and Lily, May 2017’.


This should be the minimum you write on a page….at least it’s a start. Make sure you are including names of those pictured several times within an album or each time someone new is introduced.



Type Two: Standing over the shoulder journalling

Imagine someone is sitting down and looking at an album you made and you are right there with them standing over their shoulder. They say “how cute!” or “I love that photo!” or something to that effect. What do you say in return? Do you just say “thanks” and then turn the page?

More than likely you would tell them something more about the photo, the page, or a funny story that is related to what you are looking at. That is exactly what you should write down!

If I were journalling about the photo above using this technique, I would write something like ‘this photo was taken in our favourite spot in the garden just after we found out Karen was pregnant again’.

You might not always be there to explain what was happening in a photo or why you chose to scrapbook that particular memory, but you can explain on the page using this technique. This approach works for almost any type of page.


Type Three: Surprise your reader

This is when you really get into the details. This time, do you have a piece of information that will really surprise them? Can you think of something interesting that only those who are in the photo would know? Is something happening outside the edge of the photo?  Does this moment bring back other memories?

When you add extra details your layout becomes something that could never be duplicated by anyone else.

If I were to create a scrapbook page about this photo using the something you didn’t know journaling approach, I would tell the viewer some fun details that would change the way they look at this photo such as ‘Ten seconds after this photos was taken, Ethan kicked John in the face and gave him a black eye!’  or ‘this reminds me of the special corner of the garden where we planted our wedding tree, each year we measure the children’s height against it’

Don’t you feel much more interested in the photo now that you know the story behind it?

Remember that there is no one “right way” to document your memories. Just focus on including the information that will make your pages lasting and meaningful.




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