Learning a New Skill

February is a huge month for workshops at my local scrapbook shop. It’s probably because we live near the Artic, and there’s no better way to cure the winter blues than learning a new scrapbooking technique.

Or something like that.

Last Saturday’s demo included tips on how to improve scrapbook journaling. We learned the importance of including names and dates in our entries, and received advice on how to infuse a little humor into an otherwise boring journaling block.

As I look back at scrapbooks I designed when I first got interested in the hobby, they all lack journaling. I really didn’t embrace the idea of jotting down anecdotes and explanations (e.g. why my daughter’s Lilo and Stitch birthday cake was missing part of the volcano) until I realized that there is no such thing as bad journaling.

One of the most common journaling fears is that you won’t have anything worthwhile to add to a layout. My mom’s journaling attempts are also sparse, but she blames that on the fact that she has too much to write and doesn’t know where to start. She also complains that journaling takes too much time and effort, and that she is simply not a good writer.

Hogwash. All of it.

Even if you struggle to put your thoughts into words, there are many ways you can express yourself in a journal entry. For example, instead of writing multiple paragraphs explaining why you love your sweetheart so much and how you can’t imagine spending a Valentine’s Day without him, consider making a list counting down the top 10 reasons you fell in love. I used the list technique to embellish my daughter’s birthday scrapbook. When she turned six, I designed a page that listed six of her most memorable characteristics. You could also list the 20 best parts of your family’s vacation or the top 5 memories from last Christmas.

The point is that journaling doesn’t have to be a chore. With a little creativity you can make the exercise fun and stimulating. What’s more, think of how well your efforts will be received by everyone who pages through your memory album.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.