Saturday, May 28, 2016

Scrapbook Saturday: Stories to Tell

Per last week's post where I detail my creativity killers, it only seems fair to post the solutions I have found. I will tackle each of the six creativity blockers in individual posts.

One challenge I often have is trying to figure out a story to scrap. For me, scrapbooking is ALL about the memory keeping. I enjoy making a pretty page just for the sake of it, but for the hobby to be most meaningful, I think each page should have a story attached to it. Sometimes generating those stories is hard. I have a few solutions that always seem to work for me.

1) Start with the photos.  I think this is probably the easiest solution because you can get started right away. Find a stack of photos, flip through it and pull out photos that catch your eye or trigger a memory. An important caution: When sorting through your photos, don't stop and label every picture. Just pull a few pictures that spark something in your head. Start small or you will get overwhelmed. When you have pulled 10 or so photos, divide them into groups and then label them with a sticky note. Sometimes I use an index card and attach it with a paper clip to the picture. This method works best when you have big stack of printed photos waiting to be scrapped.

2) Look for gaps or holes in an album. I will pull out an incomplete album and flip through, looking for gaps in the album that need to be filled. I keep a list of things that should be added. Then I go to the computer and find the necessary photos and either print or send them out for printing. Keep your list with the album as a reference. I think this is a good method when working chronologically. It also would work well if you used a story-based album approach. If you use the Library of Memories System, perhaps you could look for gaps in stories that haven't been told. For instance, I noticed that my albums right now feature layout after layout of my youngest daughter, who is two. I haven't been taking pictures of my teenagers right now, but the changes they are experiencing are significant. 
This picture only happened because the boys were so focused on laughing and I was very sneaky.
I can't help it. She is so cute and is always willing to smile for me when I take her picture.

3) Make a list of categories and try and come up with story ideas. I wrote down a few categories and then wrote down ideas that came into my head. It doesn't have to be fancy. I just used lined paper and just started writing down. You could brainstorm or mind map for ideas.

4) Think of the past for the future. I am endlessly curious about the lives of my grandparents and their parents. My grandfather's grandfather was 30 years old when the Civil War broke out. He is only separated from me by about 150 years. So much has changed since then and there is so much I wish I knew. It is pretty simple to apply this approach to your own personal storytelling. Think of questions you wish you could ask of your grandparents and then answer them for yourself. You could do this from the perspective of trying to understand their lives or as a chance to share with your posterity about your life. 

My great-uncle was an army engineer in WWII. I asked him questions about his service and he shared some fascinating stories, including mundane details about KP duty for thousands of men on a ship. 

If trying to make a page about yourself, you could ask: "Have I witnessed any important historical events, and if so, how was I involved? How did I feel?" For many Americans, we can remember vividly the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 9, 2011. My parents remember the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. While they weren't present at the event, they still remember what they thought and felt when the news was delivered. 

Some further questions you could ask that can be applied to the past and present are: 

What economic challenges have you faced?
What were your parents like?  
What kind of food do you make? 
What did your bathroom look like as a child? 
What was your education like?
What was your childhood like?
Did you have pets?
How has technology changed in your lifetime? 

Sadly, my grandparents aren't around to answer questions for me. But I can do my children and grandchildren a favor by answering questions for them in my scrapbooking. 

5) Use story prompts. There are great websites filled with story prompts to get your thoughts going. Here are a few of my story prompts based on categories.

Personal History
  • How did you get your name?
  • Where you born? 
  • Did you stay in your hometown or did you move?
  • Did/do you move around lot? Why?
  • What is a big challenge you have overcome?
  • What are 5 life lessons you have learned?
  • What activities were you involved in high school?
  • What are your dreams?
  • Where do you work and why?
  • Who are your friends and what do those friendships mean to you?
  • What are your hobbies? 
  • Who do you like spending time with?
  • What are five unique things about you?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What are your favorite books?
  • What is your favorite song?
  • What is your motto?
  • Someone on Facebook posted a professional picture of the High School Marching Band I was in. I saved it and told the story of being in band for 6 years. 


  • How did you meet your spouse/friend/partner?
  • What is your child like right at this moment? What are their likes and dislikes?
  • What are your before and after school routines?
  • What talents and interests are your children developing?
  • What are you children's favorite games?
  • What is your relationship with your siblings or parents?
  • What are your family traditions?
  • Which holiday do you like best?
  • One of my top 10 favorite layouts because of what I shared about being a mother during a specific time. 

  • What kitchen appliances do you use everyday? What can't you live without? (I can't live without my 12-inch cast iron skillet. I use it every single day.) 
  • What are your favorite things right now? (This is also a great question to ask every family member. Give them a journaling card with the prompts and then use it for your layout.
  • What are your favorite flowers? 
  • What is your morning routine and what things do you use during that time to get ready?
  • Share your cookbook collection! What is important about each cookbook?

(This page documents all my Swedish cookbooks. It is one of my favorite pages because it shows a really important part of my life and my cooking!)
  • Where do you feel happiest?
  • What place sparks the most memories for you?
  • What is your favorite vacation spot? 
  • Do you have unfulfilled travel dreams? 
  • What is your home like?
  • How many homes have you lived in?
  • Do you have a favorite park that you like to visit?

For me, the beach is the place where I am happiest during the summer. I love documenting every trip because of how peaceful I feel there.

What triggers stories for you? How do you find your stories? 


1 comment:

Beth Soler said...

All wonderful tips for how to document stories that are often forgotten before they are documented.