What Do You Sound Like?

I’m thrilled today to welcome a special guest blogger …

Darcy Baldwin is not only a talented scrapbooker, product designer and fontographer at Sweet Shoppe Designs, she also shares a deep appreciation for the role of storytelling in scrapbooking. I find her philosophies toward journaling and the importance of finding and displaying your voice in your scrapbooks extremely inspiring. I hope you will too…

What Do You Sound Like?

The word or the thought of the act of journaling seems to bring fear to so many. I think so many folks feel like journaling has to be the heart-felt, sticky-sweet, ooey-gooey words that cover a page. For some, that comes very easily. But for the rest of us, journaling can be a chore.

Journaling doesn’t have to be about the greatest love ever..it can be about how you and your husband fought over the silly candy bar (yes, we’re pathetic that way), or how you and your daughter found the perfect pair of shoes to go with her dress for the Daddy-Daughter ball. It’s the act of telling the story of what happened to you and your family. The act of passing on stories from our life now, to our life in the future.

For me, journaling is a memory aid. I always was fascinated by the stories my parents and grandparents and family used to tell around the dinner table once a meal was over. I never wanted to be out with the kids playing – I wanted to hear about my grandfather baptizing people in the river, or my great-great-great-grandfather who committed a crime in Georgia and made a run to Oklahoma to escape justice, which is why that part of my family is from there. I love hearing stories of how my grandparents communicated during WW2, or how my grandmother crocheted for her community, and how my Dad used to hunt and raise doves and squirrels for a local restaurant. I know my boys love sitting down with our scrapbooks and listening to the stories behind the photos. They want to know what was happening, over and over and over again.

As I get older, I’m noticing I have more trouble remembering things. We watched it happen with my Mom, and the thought of ‘losing’ those stories really scares me. Being an older mom of young boys, by the time they really want to hear those family stories, I might not be able to remember them anymore, so journaling is as much of keeping the memories alive as it is filling up a scrapbook page. This is why journaling holds such a special place in my heart. It’s so important to get those stories down…to remember…to retell…to pass along, especially in an age where we don’t grow up with our families anymore, and our children don’t get to hear those stories first hand. Digital Scrapbooking is like storytelling in the modern age.

Finding Your Voice

Your voice is how you sound in real life – not just the tonal quality, but your style, as well. Your ‘voice’, on a paper is much the same. Are you a formal speaker? Do you tend to be familiar with everyone? Are you humorous? Are you shy and reserved? Are you boisterous and whimsical? The quickest way to journal great is to know your voice. And when you begin writing in ‘your voice’ – your journaling will flow! It’s ” when you start to worry about the way you’re going to sound, you quickly lose your voice” according to Susan J. Latham of Write101.com.

I tend to be a bit sarcastic/humorous/self-deprecating and very informal in my journaling style. I also find that I just write better if I’m speaking to a 3rd party. I tell the story of the page, not to the subject, but as if I’m sharing with friends. It helps my words flow better than if I’m trying to speak directly to the subject. Here’s a sample:

"Don't Mix the Colors"

Not sure what your ‘voice’ sounds like? Try to write your journaling on your next layout a couple of different ways. Try an informal style, try something very formal, try writing to the subject and then change the person. Once you’ve written it a couple of different ways, read it back to yourself. The one you love the most is YOUR voice. Find it.

Displaying Your Voice

Another great hint for journaling is to find a font that demonstrates the tone that you want to portray. While typewriter fonts and standard formal fonts are great (and often are a wonderful design aesthetic to make your page beautiful), sometimes a handwritten, whimsical font might be a better fit for you to portray the mood of your story. Are you writing for your child? Try finding a font that is child-like. Are you writing about or for your husband? Try finding a font that better reflects a man’s voice. Are you being wistful in your dreams and hopes for your children? Try finding a font that is whimsical or girlish to share those dreams. Are you retelling a story that requires a bit of formality? This would be the perfect place for a font like Arial or Times..something typically seen in formal writing online. A font can make or break the mood of your layout, and needs to be chosen with as much care as which frame or element you’ll place on the page.

The difference in mood between these two photos tells a lot, to me. The first is a more formal matter-of-fact voice. The second, with the inclusion of my own ‘adopted’ font (I WISH I could write like this, but I use this font DJB POPPYSEED a lot as my own voice), the journaling and layout have more meaning as being something from ME.

"Lucky Us" Option 1

"Lucky Us" Option 2

One of my favorite things about journaling in my own voice is that I can actually do that in my own writing, as well. And many of the pages I do about my children, especially if the voice of the journaling is coming from them, contain journaling done in their own handwriting. It makes a layout SO much more special to have that personal touch, and in generations to come, your children and their children will appreciate having those samples!

Have you found your voice? Do you know what your journaling sounds like? I’ll challenge you, this week, to sit down and write out a story, as if you’re telling your best friend, and find your voice!

If you enjoyed Darcy’s post, you will definitely want to join us this Thursday evening at 7 Mountain/9 Eastern for our “Just My Type!” Challenge Chat! Darcy has provided a fun freebie in connection with today’s post, plus she’s giving a really cool prize to one very lucky participant. Everyone is welcome, so bring your friends! (Forum registration will be necessary to enter the chat room).

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Please share your thoughts in a comment below …


  1. Lots of great thoughts in Darcy’s article about journaling. I can never have too many possibilities to explore as it keeps me from getting in a “rut” — always telling things the same way. Thanks for sharing this.

    Where exactly does one go to get the freebie mentioned in connection with today’s post?

  2. Lots of great thoughts in Darcy’s article about journaling. I can never have too many possibilities to explore as it keeps me from getting in a “rut” — always telling things the same way. Thanks for sharing this.

    Where exactly does one go to get the freebie mentioned in connection with today’s post?

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