“10 Things” Journaling


A big focus of Log Your Memory is on “real life” scrapbooking and this typically translates into more journaling on our scrapbook pages. Often the telling of the “story” to go along with the photos is what sets real life scrapbooking apart from the crowd. But journaling can be intimidating, especially when faced with a big, blank page.

One of my favorite journaling tricks is using lists. The beauty of a list is that it takes the pressure off … you don’t feel the need to write complete sentences, use a ton of fancy words, or even necessarily spell or punctuate everything correctly (well, unless you’re a little particular, like me!!) And oftentimes, just starting a list is all it takes to get the ball rolling and the thoughts onto your page.

"10 Ways You Inspire Me" by hguenthe

"10 Ways You Inspire Me" by hguenthe

Our Gift of the Year: 2010 Workshop class is focusing today on creating a dozen lists to add a great deal of meaningful journaling to our gift calendars, such as the example you see here by Creative Team Member Heather. We are using a “10 Things” type of list to share a variety of qualities, memories, and other characteristics that are special about the subject of our pages. (It’s not too late to join the class, by the way … go HERE for more information.)

You can use the same type of approach with nearly any scrapbook page. The nice thing about setting a definite number … 10 Things, 5 Reasons, 13 Ways… is you know when you are finished, helping to quiet that nagging little voice that keeps telling you that you didn’t say enough or do it “perfectly.”

There are lots of wonderful examples of list-style scrapbook pages or blog posts out there. A couple of my favorites are those by Ali Edwards and Katie the Scrapbook Lady. One particular “16 Things” post by Ali several months ago inspired me to create a blog post of my own, which I later turned into this scrapbook layout …

16 Things

"16 Things"

Here is another list-style page I did a few months back, highlighting “21 Things That Make Me Smile.”

21 Things That Make Me Smile

"21 Things That Make Me Smile"

In the spirit of “10 Things” journaling, here are “10 Things” to help get you started the next time you’re facing a blank page and decide to try this method …

1. Pick your focus. What is the big picture or story you are trying to share on your page?

2. Grab a piece of scratch paper and a pencil … or open up a new document on your computer … and write your focus at the top of the page. Then just start writing down words and phrases that come to mind. No censoring, no editing … just let it come out.

3. If a list is too inhibiting, try a brainstorming map. Write your focus in the center of the paper and circle it. Then start jotting down words and phrases all around the edges. You can draw lines connecting thoughts that seem to go together … or not. There is no wrong way to do this.

4. After you run out of things to write, put it down and leave it alone for a while. You may be taking a break, but your subconscious mind will continue working on that list. Keep your paper nearby so you can come back and jot down ideas as they come to you while you go about your day.

5. Spend some time just thinking and reminiscing about the subject of your list. For example, if you are writing about all the things you love about a specific person, see if you can recall specific things they have said or done that reinforce those feelings and how you felt at the time. Write them down, as well as the associated feelings. These will often trigger even more things to add to your list.

6. Ask other people what they think of when you mention the topic of your list. Their ideas will very likely trigger memories or ideas of your own. Write them down.

7. Dig out some photos or other visual reminders of your list topic. Looking at these images and using your visual sense rather than just your thinking cap will tap into another area of your creative brain. Write down whatever thoughts this triggers.

8. If your topic is a person, call them up and visit for a while. If it is an object, get it out and play around with it. Being around that person or thing will help you tap into yet another area you may not have touched on yet.

9. Draw inspiration from other list-makers. Even if they are making lists about entirely different subjects, just reading someone else’s list makes you think about things in a slightly different way and can help get those creative juices flowing. For example, our workshop participants are reading and sharing each other’s “10 Things” calendar lists today in the private workshop forum. Even though none of them probably know the individuals that the other lists are about, we all share enough things in common that we can relate to and draw inspiration from each other.

10. If you’ve done even half of these steps, you likely have a very long list. Now is the time to go back and remind yourself of your main focus for the page. What message do you really want to get across? Get out a marker, highlighter, crayon, or whatever you prefer and start circling those items on the list that really click with that message. Now’s the easy part. Simply pull out all of your highlighted items and tweak them however you see fit to create a perfect list for your scrapbook page.

That’s all there is to it! If you find yourself getting stuck even after all of these steps, simply create a shorter list! There are no rules to scrapbooking, other than those you set for yourself. Tell your story in the way that works for you and have fun doing it … that’s “real life” scrapbooking!


  1. I love lists!!! I make one everyday, although I don’t usually follow through with it. I’m trying to balance home, work and creative time…so making a list of priorities would be helpful. I might have to make a page out of that!

  2. I love lists!!! I make one everyday, although I don’t usually follow through with it. I’m trying to balance home, work and creative time…so making a list of priorities would be helpful. I might have to make a page out of that!

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