6.21.2011

Going Deep - Heart Journaling and a Free Gift

Okay friends, I'm not going to write much about this tutorial because a) it's pretty long and b) it's one of the best, most thorough tutorials on journaling I've ever read. I just HAD to share it... so... sit back, grab a pen and paper and read on about heart journaling!



Going Deep - Heart Journaling

Journaling is one of the core design elements at Scrapbooking From the Inside Out…and for scrapbooking in general. Yet, it is often left out of the design process. Either because journaling doesn’t fit into the design or because journaling is hard to do.

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, the words themselves convey what is NOT in the pictures…the feelings, the surroundings, the moments leading up to and away from the picture. There is so much that a picture CANNOT say. For this, journaling is so very important.

So many times we are reluctant to journal…but let me get some reason you might not journal out of the way, right away:

What will people think? – if this matters to you, hide your journaling. Tuck it away in an envelope, hide your notebook, just make it so nobody sees it. Nobody has to know its there.

I’m not a good writer – That’s ok. We aren’t writing the Great American Novel here. We are just putting down some thoughts. I’m not a good writer either. I’m a good editor. But even if you are neither, you still have feelings and thoughts and you have permission to put them out on paper.

I never know what to write about – That’s ok, too. Read on for how you can jump start the process.

I have nothing profound to say. - Me neither! I’m just working through my feelings and trying to be transparent.

What if I look silly? - I won’t lie. Journaling feelings takes a certain amount of courage. But never fear…you ARE courageous. You just might not know it! The hardest part is the first step. I kid you not! That whole cliché about how the first step is the hardest is TRUE! But if you are here, chances are strong you are already WAY past that first step. See? COURAGEOUS!

It doesn’t fit my design. - Scrapbooking magazines and blogs don’t always encourage you to journal. In fact, they often DISCOURAGE it. BUT SFTIO encourages this practice. Imagine this. Its 300 years from now and because you have used archivally safe products to scrapbook, your layouts are discovered intact in a lovely fabric box. The person who finds them pulls them out and sees BEAUTIFUL art, GORGEOUS pictures and a really witty little title. There are a few words on the page: Sam you are so sweet when you are eating your morning cereal. The person viewing the page thinks this: Who’s Sam? Why is she so sweet? What about this cereal eating makes her sweet? Who designed this and how do they know Sam? How old is this Sam person? I would venture to say that even if SAM found the layout, she would wonder where the picture was taken and by whom and when why whoever made this layout thought it was sweet when she ate cereal.

Good scrapbook design should include at the very least the facts…hopefully much more than that. If you REALLY can’t bring yourself to do this, put the information on the BACK of the layout. At the very least, you will be scrapbooking the facts.

So, how do we get to what is meaningful or what we really want to say? At the risk of sounding trite, we just do it. Why reinvent a phrase when Nike’s will do so nicely?

So, let’s do some exploration. This will be an exercise in many parts, each going a bit deeper than the last. Here is what you will need for this “tutorial.”

This month’s theme.
A pen
Some notebook paper or a journal.

1) START WITH THE FACTS: This is not hard. Answer the who, what, where, when , Why/How questions. Do it simply, with just a few words, stick to the FACTS and the VERY BREIF facts at that.
EXERCISE: Write this month’s theme at the top of the page.

Jot down responses for each of the 5 W’s listed above for this month’s theme. Remember to stick to the FACTS.

Example: Optimism

WHO is Optimism for you? – list some names. Who do you think of when you think of the theme?
WHAT is Optimism? – for this you could (and SHOULD) use the dictionary, thesaurus or online resources.
WHERE is Optimism? – Where can it be found? Where do you see it? What places make you feel optimistic?
WHEN is Optimism? – This seems like an awkward question, but stick with it. I’m most optimistic when….
Why/How is Optimism? – Again, English teachers everywhere are cringing. But stick with it…Why should you be optimistic?

Explore both the synonyms – meaning Optimism and things like it – and the antonyms – meaning just the opposite of optimism – for each of these questions.
EXAMPLE:

Who is Optimism? Who is NOT optimism? Answer: Me for both.


This is an exercise you can do for every single scrapbook page you do. List out just the facts: Who is this, what are they doing, where are they, when is it and why are they doing it when they are doing it? And it can all be done in just a few words.

2) EXPAND: As I said, above, there is often a whole lot of story going on around a picture. That is the same with any theme you name at SFTIO. There is a story. This section will be about just getting to the story. You will, again, be sticking to the facts. Just giving more than the few words you listed for each of the 5 W’s above.
EXERCISE:

Choose one or more of the 5 W’s and one (or more) of your responses from the above exercise.

Expand to tell just the factual story around the response. This can be as easy as adding the word “because” after your response and giving a little more information.
EXAMPLE:

Who is Optimism? Who is NOT optimism? Answer: Me for both. BECAUSE I sometimes see the glass as half full and sometimes do not.


Do this for as many items as you wish.

You can translate this to a photo by giving the facts about what cannot be seen in the picture. This is basic and essential journaling. It gives the facts, the story and a bit of insight into whatever photo’s are on a layout.

You may find that this is actually harder than it looks. Our feelings are intertwined with events and we often automatically add our opinions and feelings into our stories. They are, after all, our stories. But when FORCED to edit out those feelings and opinions, and to tell a story in just facts, we get to see how much we actually feel about a story, we get to tap into just how personal our stories are.

3) EMOTE: Now we get into the meaty stuff. Here is where you get to explain how you FEEL, acknowledge things that might not be spoken, reveal your person in your journaling. This is probably where journaling gets scary for most people. Its where the “what if’s” start to happen. I’ll reiterate something I’ve said before…it takes both practice and courage to dig deep. So, you may want to emote in stages, going deeper with each stage. For example, you may want to include feelings and opinions you originally edited. THEN go back and add in more.
EXERCISE:

Take the factual story you wrote above and add in the emotion. That may be something difficult. So ask yourself some questions. Why is that? How does that make me feel? Do I want to do anything with it?
EXAMPLE:

WHO is Optimism for you? Who is not? (synonym and antonym) Answer: Me for both. BECAUSE I sometimes see the glass as half full and sometimes do not.
WHY? I’m not sure. I know there are scriptures that tell me to be positive. I know there doesn’t seem to be a reason why it happens. I know I’m really blessed. And I know the choices I have…I know, I know, I know Hmmm…Sometimes I just feel like there are all kinds of things I cannot see, and like it’s a huge struggle to get my footing in a situation. Like I can’t gain any ground. Its so frustrating. I can’t see what is good. I feel like I’m in a tornado, with things swirling all around me.


4) RESOLVE: This step isn’t actually you “resolving” your emotions. Its “resolving” your journaling. We’ve all seen (and in my case DONE) pages where the journaling seems to just drift away unhappily hanging, like the author didn’t know what to do with it the writing. This is a situation we ALL fall into. I know it happens to me a LOT…I am trucking along with my journaling and I realize I’ve got no way to end it. So, this step is to take the emotions you have and put them into perspective. They may be going on, ended, need to be ended, give you hope, give you despair. The best question to ask when you are at the Resolve stage is “So what?” or “And So?” REMEMBER, you may not be resolving the FEELINGS, you are just resolving the JOURNALING.
EXERCISE

Take your emote journaling and resolve the journaling. Put a logical end to the writing.

EXAMPLE:
WHO is Optimism for you? Who is not? (synonym and antonym) Answer: Me for both. BECAUSE I sometimes see the glass as half full and sometimes do not. WHY? I’m not sure. I know there are scriptures that tell me to be positive. I know there doesn’t seem to be a reason why it happens. I know I’m really blessed. And I know the choices I have…I know, I know, I know Hmmm…Sometimes I just feel like there are all kinds of things I cannot see, and like it’s a huge struggle to get my footing in a situation. Like I can’t gain any ground. Its so frustrating. I can’t see what is good. I feel like I’m in a tornado, with things swirling all around me. And SO? I’m forced to fight to hold onto the knowledge that half empty is also half full.


Notice I didn't try to fix my feelings or get to the root of it in any way. I just put an end to the journaling by answering the question "And so?" There are a LOT of possible answers to the question, "and so?" Don't put any pressure on yourself to fix the feelings.

5) EDIT: This is the tricky part. You may choose NOT to edit. This is an exercise where editing can increase the impact of your journaling. PLUS if you have limited space for journaling in your design, you may NEED to edit to fit.

I have ONE goal when I edit – IMPACT. I edit for impact. I want to express as much as possible in as few words as possible. Its an old song-writers habit. And for my style, it WORKS for me. Other scrappers edit differently. I would encourage you, tho, to WAIT to edit until the very end of your process. Journaling is MUCH more powerful if you stream of consciousness write and then edit AFTER you have written everything out. PLUS its more cathartic that way if you happen to be dealing with a difficult story.
EXERCISE:

Edit your journaling from the Resolve section so that it has a nice flow for reading. If you have stream of consciousness written, you may find you’ve repeated the same things a number of times or have left something important out. You may find that you have unfinished thoughts, or finished but confusing thoughts. Editing is how you deliver impact, so don’t skip the step. (Unless you are a very skilled journaler, which is ENTIRELY probable! In that case, you probably don’t need to do much in the way of editing.)
EXAMPLE:

WHO is Optimism for you? Who is not? (synonym and antonym) Answer: Me for both. BECAUSE I sometimes see the glass as half full and sometimes do not. empty. WHY? I’m not sure. Even though I know there are scriptures that tell me to be positive. I know there doesn’t seem to be a reason why it happens. I know I’m really blessed. And I know the choices I have…I know, I know, I know Hmmm…Sometimes I just feel like there are all kinds of things I cannot see, and like it’s a huge I struggle to get find my footing in a situation. Like I can’t gain any ground. A firm place to stand, from which to assess Its so frustrating. I can’t see what is and look for what is good. I feel like I’m in a tornado, with when things are swirling all around me. And SO? I’m forced to I fight to hold onto the knowledge that half empty is also half full.


In the end it turns out as high impact, and deep journaling.



There is one more thing that makes for good journaling...just the same as good scrapbooking...

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Happy Scrapping!!

What did I tell you? Amazing stuff... thanks Feleica!

PS: We still have a few OPTIMISM kits left...click HERE to get yours and practice what Felecia shared!




Every order between now and Friday at noon Pacific will get our free bonus gifts for this month:



3 comments:

chksngr said...

THANKS Kai!!!

Rachel said...

Felecia, this is what makes you such a gem!!

Melissa Elsner said...

Yep. Felecia rocks.