From age eight to college I was an avid journaler. For most of that time I journaled daily. I could spend an hour or more pouring my life and views into my journal, and I think it may be one of the reasons I remember so much of my childhood.
As an adult, four activities replaced my old method of journaling in big blank lined pages:
But all of these journaling methods are lacking one thing, and recently they haven’t been enough for me. What could possibly be missing from traditional scrapbooking and my other three journaling forms?
I wanted to be able to write just a sentence or two about my day — every day — and include some little bit of ephemera, like a receipt or some scrap paper I took notes on. I wanted to document the kind of stuff that is just way too mundane for even the scrapbooks of the most everyday kind of scrapbooker. I wanted the ability to record something on the spot without having to wait for a photo, without having to pull out my art supplies, or be tied to my computer.
A few weeks ago I added a fifth way to share my story, and I now feel totally and completely fulfilled in my ability to express myself and share my thoughts, whether it’s through my photos, through writing I develop on my blog, through some uninhibited art activity, or through a few words and bits from my day.
This is my scrap-journal. In it you will find my words, my doodling, my brainstorming, my extra-mundane bits of ephemera, and an idea of who I am right now. It’s currently one of my favorite things. You could use a “normal” blank lined book intended for journaling. Or you could make a scrap-journal out of cute scrapbook or found papers.
I keep a stack of unloved hardback books that sit and wait for me to alter them, and I decided to use one of them as my scrap-journal (you can see its spine in the top photo. It’s a hard-cover book of short stories). Why would I use a book that is already full of somebody else’s words? And how do you do it without turning it into a project instead of a quick spontaneous three-minute activity?
Here is the why and the how . . .
- It’s green. I am trying to decrease the amount of manufacturing I cause by buying something new. I figure, every time I buy something, they’ll make another one. I know that’s a simplified summary of how the system of stuff works, but it keeps me on the green path.
- There are some blank areas at the front and back of the book, and at the beginnings and ends of chapters.
- I like to play with the words already on the book — circle some, cross out others, or even respond. The words also inspire little humorous (to me) thoughts, and that encourages a light-heartedness that I enjoy with my scrap-journal.
- I add journaling to my own scraps of ephemera when the typed words of the book don’t give me enough writing space of my own.
- The book’s text encourages me to doodle. I don’t want to have pages and pages of the original text, so I doodle on top of it. The doodling makes it feel more mine — more like me. And doodling is always good creative brain food.
- It’s not intimidating. I don’t have to fill a blank page. Because I do so much journaling in the other ways I listed above, my goal with my scrap-journal is not to get deep or to say a lot. I just want to share a little bit of myself every single day without the task of making it “pretty,” or making it into a project that takes time.
- The text causes the writing “canvas” to be non-linear. I get to write in different spaces around the book, and this is much more similar to the way we think. Our brains bounce around from thought to thought and it’s good for the brain to develop thoughts the way it is naturally inclined, instead of in the linear fashion of typical writing.
Above: a summary from my dentist.
Below: a scrap of paper I used to test paint colors I had mixed that day.
Since this added form of memory-keeping has been so fulfilling for me, I decided to share it with you. It’s not typical scrapbooking as we know it today. But it’s easy and spontaneous. It’s fun. It’s real. It’s definitely scrappy. And you don’t have to wait for a photo, or a time slot, to sit down and do it.