Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tips for Writing about Yourself on Scrapbook Pages

ITS NATIONAL SCRAPBOOKING MONTH!!!!!

Tips for Writing about Yourself of Scrapbook Pages
by Debbie Hodge

Making scrapbook pages about yourself is an awesome thing to give to friends, family AND yourself. “All about me” scrapbook pages are going to require some journaling—some writing about yourself. And that’s not always easy. Read on for tips that show you how to write about yourself on scrapbook pages.

this story is about YOU

Begin by understanding that your story is about YOU. You are the protagonist — not your husband or your mom or your cousin, but you. If you’re having a hard time, start with “I . . .”  You could write “I quit,” “I thought I’d never stop crying,” “I embraced him hard,” “I took the gift,” “I tripped going off the curb.” Start with I and don’t look back. Let yourself get the story down any which way first and then go back and find the parts you need and shape the story.

who is your audience?

Knowing your audience will affect which details are known and which need to be told. It will affect your tone and voice. Your audience could be yourself, your friends, family now, family in the future, or even that person at the futuristic flea market who finds your album. Writing for yourself may have a raw and honest quality that you’d shy away from when recording a picture of yourself for others. Neither is better than the other. They’re just different.


imageThis is ostensibly written to my boys—i address them in the journaling, for goodness sakes! It must be to them. Really, though, this page is for  myself. It’s an exploration of a feeling I was having, an ah-ha moment that I at first wanted to understand better. Then, as I came to understand it, I wanted to remember it, and, thus, got it on the page. 

what voice will you use?

Many of us have more than one voice: a smart-alecky voice for some situations, a respectful and reverent voice for others. Should you use your smart tone or your serious one? Your loving voice or your critical voice? Not sure what your voices are? Just tuck the idea to pay attention to this as you move about your world and interact with others and your awareness of this will increase.


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“Saturday Nap” is written for myself and for my family. On the day I wrote this journaling, I felt we were all on the edge of potential change. I was worried and yet I was calm, and I wanted to capture that. I wrote in a steady and clear voice—the voice of my very best self  (I’m not always at my very best)—recounting  specific details about the day. I wanted all of us to be able to look back at this moment and, through the details I recorded, call up just how our life was on that day. 

how about some humor?

A little humor can reveal other facets of your personality – what you take seriously and what you feel free to poke fun at. A bit of wry (or even mildly bitter) humor can be a help when writing painful or hard material. (I’d cry if I weren’t laughing so hard). Be careful, however, not to put too much of a shell around the real story with humor  that turns the story into a parody.


image For this page, I really needed to include some humor—I guess to cover up my embarrassment over being someone who drags lots of STUFF everywhere. I began (as I often do any journaling) with concrete details and a quiet tone—I even did a little amateur psychology on myself. All of which increases impact of the self-deprecating humor in the last sentence.

consider getting some of the story in scene

There’s an area of writing called “creative non-fiction” (and there’s memoir) in which non-fiction writers use literary and even cinematic techniques. In other words, you can put the characters in the story on a stage and give them dialogue and action. This should be dialogue and action that’s relevant to your story. When parts of your story are shown this way, rather than simply told, they become more believable and compelling.


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I wanted to get dialogue and the setting onto this page because I thought it would highlight my husband’s indignation and my annoyed amazement.

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