Today's Write. Saturday is going to be missing something you usually see in all of our posts: images.
I'm doing that on purpose, not just because my October was stressful and busy and sad and wonderful all at once. In fact, I'm not including any images because I want to make a point: you don't have to immediately make a layout with the journaling you write.Creating a layout and writing your journaling don't always have to be two parts of one process; they can be done at separate times.
In fact, I've often gone years between the time I write a piece of journaling and the day I actually pair it up with a photo and make a layout with it. I tend to think of my journaling, in fact, as an extension of the photos. A snapshot in words, if you will, that adds something extra that the photos don't convey. If you write it as an afterthought, after you've made your layout and are trying to find a little bit of space to squish in the story, it won't be as vibrant as it could be.
And really, how often do you make a layout with photos you took just a few days ago? Or even a month ago? Yet I'm certain you copy them somewhere safe to wait until you are ready to scrapbook them.
Journaling doesn't have to be any different.
Let's take Halloween as an example, since it just happened a few days ago. If you're anything like me, you took fifty or so photos, and you've already downloaded them, deleted the bad ones, and found a few you fell in love with. Maybe you've even processed them already. (If you've already printed them, you're my hero!)
Now's the perfect time to write the story to go along with those pictures, when the memories are still fresh. Writing your journaling within a few days of a big event helps you to capture the small details that otherwise get lost to the vagaries of memory.
Here are 13 (oooooh, spooky!) prompts to get you started writing your Halloween journaling:
- Write about something funny, cute, or surprisingly intelligent your child said. ("I have walked out all of my wanting for candy," my 7-year-old told me when I asked if he wanted to trick-or-treat on just one more street.) Or recreate an especially memorable conversation (my daughter Haley, for example, told me all about the hipster Disney princesses she’d seen somewhere. "You’ve probably never heard it" was, of course, included!)
- Write down the bare facts: what did you do, who did you do it with, and where?
- Write about a detail of a costume—a color, an accessory, a prop, for example—that made it feel unique in some way. (One year, the beads on my daughter's hippie costume were so fabulously, wonderfully perfect that they are the focus of all the Halloween journaling.)
- Make a list of all the kinds of candy in your kid’s bucket.
- Write about a reaction. This is perfect for Halloween because it practically begs for reactions, what with all the scary, gory, silly, scanty, or startling characters about. There are also reactions to trick or treating by little ones, or to your neighbor's scary porch decorations, or to the enormous pile of candy. Or the sheer pleasure of taking off an obnoxious or itchy costume! (This year, my husband tried on his sister’s blimp costume and I was pretty certain my son Nathan might pee his pants he was laughing so hard.)
- Write about how Halloween has changed since you were a kid.
- Tell the story of a costume. Why was it chosen? Where did it come from? Does the costume-wearer have any sort of emotional or historical connection to the costume? (My 18-month-old niece Lydia is in love with all things Toy Story, so her affection for her Jessie costume was exceedingly cute!)
- Use numbers to tell the story: what was the temperature? About how far did you walk? At how many houses did you trick or treat? How many times did your little one drop her candy bucket?
- Write about something unique that’s never happened before. (Like my two oldest teenagers, who had a brawl over an extra-large Mountain Dew and who might’ve drank it all and then five minutes later they were happily answering the door for trick-or-treaters.
- Describe your Halloween dinner. Do you eat before or after trick-or-treating? Do you always have the same thing? How do you fit (nutritious) food into the sugar-laden experience?
- Write down the at-the-door process of trick-or-treating. Who knocks at the door? Does everyone say "trick or treat" or just one kid? Do your kids say thank you?
- Respond to this starter: In twenty years, what I want to remember about this Halloween is:
- Write about how Halloween smells. There’s something magical—I haven’t quite figured out yet what the key ingredients are—about the way a bucketful of Halloween candy smells. It takes me right back to being a kid. What scents do you associate with Halloween?
Once you've written your journaling about Halloween 2012, save it somewhere you'll find it when you scrap the photos. Put a copy of the file right into the folder with the pictures, maybe. Or put your journaling on your blog. Doesn't matter where, so long as you can find it! What matters is that you'll have gotten down a story, experience, or little bit of memory that might otherwise be lost when the time came to scrap those photos.