You may be surprised to learn that there is a world of competitive yearbook – complete with conferences, rivals, and just like in the dog show world a coveted “Best of Show” trophy. I tell you this because I live in this world and I love it. So it only makes sense that I’ve borrowed some of my favorite rules from competitive yearbooking (a.k.a. Solid Journalism Principles) and applied them to scrapbooking.
Some scrappers fall into a pattern in their journaling. They describe what is happening in their photos and identify all the people in the photos. This is great on the surface, but how about providing a little bit more to the story? Making the journaling more meaningful for a time when, maybe, you aren’t sitting there available to provide extra facts.
One of the easiest ways to improve your writing is to follow the rule of applying “Figure, Fact, and Feeling” to everything you write.
Let’s break it down:
A figure is a number. This could be an obvious number such as four, thirty or 365. It could also be an implied number such as: many, a ton, or infinite.
A fact is something that you can’t tell by looking at the picture. It’s that little something extra that makes the story meaningful. It could be the name of the mall AND the stores where you went shopping to buy that cute outfit, the number of side dishes served at the celebratory meal (Two birds with one stone! Put the figure in the fact!), or it could be the explanation of the inside joke leading up to everyone caught in those face-splitting laughs. Which leads me to…
The feeling is an emotion word. Moving beyond, “good,” “nice,” and “liked it, a lot.” Try to capture the true emotion of the situation, transporting the viewer/reader to the moment that was caught by the camera.
Here’s an example from one of my latest scrapping sessions, it was late, and I was doing a marathon session to get caught up.
I was journaling about a pair of pants I’d bought myself. (Note: I write my captions/journaling for my kids to read at a future date and since my daughter currently calls me “Mommy” that’s how I identify myself. I’ll have a future post on “Creating a Time Capsule of NOW” for further explanations behind this choice.)
Mommy bought herself a new pair of pants at REI. She thinks they are super comfy and plans to wear them the rest of Winter Break.
When the page was almost complete I went back and revisited the quick caption and applied the rule of: “Figure, Fact and Feeling” to it.
Here’s the new and improved version:
Mommy bought some $89 pants at REI. Her first pair of LUCY pants! She was thrilled that they 1) fit and 2) are COMFY!
Figure: $89 (also a fact since you can’t tell the price by looking at the picture)
Fact: They were my first pair of LUCY brand pants.
Feeling: I was *thrilled* that they fit and were comfy.
It may seem like little changes now, but they have big payoffs in the future. Especially 20 years from now when my memory about the events on my current pages aren’t nearly as clear. Or when prices are dramatically different!
The advice I’m trying to share is: journaling doesn’t have to mean long stories, but the words on the page should be meaningful. Try adding a “Figure, Fact and Feeling” just one time a week and you’ll see your journaling instantly improve. Who knows, maybe it’ll even become a habit!
About the Author:Laura Zhu advises the Jamboree Yearbook in Northern California. Mrs. Zhu’s yearbook students have earned several state and national awards. Laura is passionate about following rules, knowing when to break them, and documenting each week of her family’s escapades.