Over the past few weeks, I have received several comments (both here and on Instagram) about the amount of journaling that I include in my Project Life layouts. Not always, but often, I write a significant amount more than other Project Lifers.
While I believe that photos are important, for me, the journaling holds equal value. I think that the journaling is what changes this whole project from a "photo album" to a scrapbook. The written word gives the photos a depth that they otherwise don't posses. It offers perspective and it makes me excited to look through my older albums to recover the stories that don't live in the photos.
There are five main things that sometimes hold me back from adding more journaling and that might be holding you back, too. I hope that reading through them can help you overcome any stumbling blocks that you have toward writing more.
1. Self-consciousness about your handwriting.
Even though I like my handwriting, this issue really held me up in 2013. I did all digital journaling in 2012 and adding my handwriting felt scary. I wanted my pages to look "pretty" and worried that the imperfections of my handwriting would mess that up.
If you don't like your penmanship, Andrea has an "Improve Your Handwriting" workshop available for $2.99 that might help.
Over time, I have learned to embrace the imperfections and see the value in including my own handwriting. I think it is part of what truly makes this album mine and makes it a keepsake.
2. Concern about "messing up" and wasting a card.
Misspelling and other writing errors happen from time to time. Sometimes I get stuck on what I want to write halfway through the card and have trouble figuring out how to finish my thought. Spacing seems to be my biggest issue, in this area. I sometimes get to the end of the card and still need to fit ten more words. Or, I end up with all my journaling at the top of the card and an awkward blank space beneath.
If you have a particular journaling card that you want to use (and don't have duplicates), it might be helpful to trace your journaling space on scratch paper and do a test-run.
If my errors are small, I often just cross them out and keep going. Or, if I have duplicates of the particular journaling card, I toss the first one and try again.
3. Not knowing what to write about.
Sometimes, I don't add more journaling simply because I'm not sure what to write about. There are weeks when we don't do anything particularly exciting or new and I don't want to just write the same things week after week.
If this happens, I think it can be helpful to remember that your future self will be interested in what you did this week - even if it was mundane. Our routines sometimes shift so subtly that we don't even notice the changes until we look back. A basic rundown of your calendar is something that can work for every layout. A list of what you are currently reading, watching, listening to, eating, etc. is another easy idea and helps to tell the story of any particular week.
This list of prompts from Ali Edwards is excellent. If you need more ideas, a quick Google or Pinterest search for "writing prompts" or "journaling prompts" could keep you writing for hours.
4. Remembering the stories that you want to include.
This has been my biggest roadblock to journaling. Sam or Eli will do something particularly novel, sweet or funny. I will think to myself, "I have to include that in this week's layout!" A week will pass. I will remember that there was something I wanted to record, but no longer have any idea what it was.
Or, sometimes, I get a week or two out and honestly have no idea what we did on a particular Tuesday that I am trying to record. This problem magnifies when I fall more than a few weeks behind.
I have found a way to combat this that works really well for me. I use my planner to track the things we do each day and to record the little moments, funny quotes, etc. that I want to be sure to include. Essentially, my planner is not used to plan for the future, but to hold an abbreviated record of each day. When it comes time to add journaling to my Project Life layouts, I refer to my planner and elaborate on what I've written there.
5. Want to include more photos and don't have space for journaling.
I almost never have this problem. I'm choosy about the photos I include and can almost always whittle my selection down to 10 or fewer photos to spread across my two-page layout. If I do have trouble paring down the photos, I add an insert page to give me more space. (Insert pages can include more journaling or more photos.)
To some degree, this is a matter of personal taste, but, as I said at the beginning of this post, I really believe that journaling and photos hold equal value. Even if you have to include an insert to include everything, writing all that you have to write is important and will help to tell your story.
If you don't typically add a lot of journaling to your layouts, might I encourage you to give it a try?
Have I missed something? What keeps you from adding more journaling to your layouts? Do you wish you did more? Do you think the photos should do most of the "talking" and journaling should be second to the photos?