Friday, June 10, 2016

Journaling 101 ~ Stuck for content? It's all about the prompt.

Let me set the scene. You've just completed an awesome scrapbook two page layout and you have your photo's of your child's Soccer final high school game from last week. Now to buckle down and add your journaling. Easy Peasy, right you already know the details. You just apply the basics. But what if you have a rockin' scrapbook layout and don't know what to display on it? or worse you want to scrapbook but have no idea what to scrapbook. This is where the awesome PROMPT comes in handy. 

So you may ask...What is a journaling prompt? Let me clarify.

A journal prompt is a statement/question/suggestion designed to inspire you or suggest a direction to write or scrapbook. No matter how much you enjoy writing or have ideas for what to scrapbook about, the day will come when you are out of ideas. It is a good idea to have a source to pull prompts from.  Journal prompts you have saved can be used to help get past a block or even to inspire you. 

Now to review the basics of your journaling block.

  1. When ~ Date
  2. Where ~ Location
  3. Who ~ People involved
  4. What ~ What were they doing
  5. Why ~ Why were they doing it or there.
Here is an example, back to our child's soccer game example above:
  1. When ~ Last week
  2. Where ~ The High School
  3. Who ~ You and your child...the team
  4. What ~ Playing Soccer
  5. Why ~ Last game in High School

Birdy my Journaling Planner
Journaling Prompt Binder 
Whenever I come upon a good journaling prompt I tuck it away in my "Journaling Prompt" binder and then answer them in my A5 journaling planner. In my journaling planner (which I've named Birdy) I create a page that I date and indicate the original prompt and where I got it. Its my go to place when I'm stuck on what to write or even what to scrapbook. 

Here are a few examples of how to use a journaling prompt.

Sample Journaling Prompts
  • My favorite movie is _________
          My answer: My favorite movie is also my favorite book, To Kill A Mockingbird by 
          Harper Lee. I saw this movie for the first time in high school ( 1980, not 
          to date myself). 

So then based on this information I will do a brain dump regarding my answer to the prompt question. This will inspire what direction to go for the layout. A brain dump is a "dump" of words phrases ideas based off a specific subject from your brain to some other storage medium, such as paper, your computer or even a note on the App, Voxer.

                           Brain Dump: Scrapbook paper with text like from a book, movie film 
                           journaling blocks, '80's memorabilia, Scout (a character from the book), a big 
                           tree trunk with a space to hid things, Boo (another character from the book), 
                           Front image of the book, Harper Lee the author, etc.

The Layout based off my brain dump:  So based on my brain dump I could do multiple different things. I could create a base page with scrapbook paper that is pure text. I could do a 3 1/2" x 5" photo matte and instead of a photo I could put a picture of the front of the book. I could create a long strip of movie film and instead of film in the spaces I could add my text for the journaling. I could find a die cut of an old looking tree with gnarly looking knots in it to run up one side of the page. I could have a title topper My Favorite Movie.

The Journaling: In my 1980 English class with Ms. Benton we read Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird as part of the curriculum. Once we finished reading and analyzing the book we had a chance to watch the 1962 black and white movie with Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall and Mary Badham. The book and movie is about Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck who is a depression era lawyer in the south. The book follows the events as he defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice. At the time I saw this movie I was drawn in by the southern ways depicted from the time period. I was also pulled in by the relationship between Atticus and his daughter Scout. Scout reminded me of my inner self at that age, about 6-9. She was precocious and outspoken for her age. Harper Lee is an incredible author and To Kill A Mockingbird was her first novel. She won a Pulitzer prize for it.

Now you maybe wondering why you would want to scrapbook something like this. Something about yourself. A non-event so to speak. The answer is simple. Because your family wants to know things about you. Who you were when you were a kid and who you are now.
  • What scares you?...Why?
          My answer: I am scared of rodents. I've never discovered why I'm afraid of them but 
           when I see them in real life or on TV I loose all common sense. When I see them in 
           a book or a still picture of them I get the chills and the creeps.

                  Brain Dump: Beady eyes, tails.....well ok you get the idea...I'm getting the          
                   creeps just thinking about it.

Now we could go a few ways with this prompt: 
1.) Do I already have pictures taken of me responding to a sighting? If so then I could scrapbook the basics of the event. (thankfully there are no pictures of me during a sighting!) or 
2.) I could scrapbook about the fear itself or fears in general or a scrapbook page titled "Our Family's Fears" 
With the second possibility, "Our Family's Fears" I could get images that describe each persons fear and then list who it belongs to. I could take that a step further and even do a matching game on a scrapbook page. I could mount pictures of each family member on a matte with a blank back side and hinge mount it to the scrapbook page. The journaling is behind each photo, creating a flip. These photo/journaling mattes would be on one side of the layout and then the images depicting the fears on the other side. Using a brad I could attach a piece of bakers twine to each of the fear images and just an empty brad next to each of the family member photo mattes. I would then make a small hole in the page protector next to each brad with bakers twine. Now I would feed the bakers twine through the hole. Make a larger hole in the page protector for the empty brad on the other side. Now your creepy fears page is interactive. The scrapbook viewer now has to guess who's fear belongs to which family member. I could write a journaling block for each persons fears. Describing the fear and even putting into quotes what the family member said as their "Why" 

For example.

The Journaling:  Nina is afraid of rodents. She has had this fear for as long as she can remember. She doesn't understand her fear and why she gets so creeped out by them. She has no desire to overcome her fear.

I hope this has helped you understand the advantage of stock piling and using journaling prompts. I encourage you to create your own way of filing or saving the journaling prompts you come across. To get you started below is a sign up for a FREE June Journaling Prompt Printable. 

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Like the Nina's Art Spot Facebook page and share your method of filing or saving Journaling Prompts by end of the day on June 30th, 2016 and you will be automatically entered to receive the July Journaling Prompt Printable.


  1. Thank you for these prompts. I always struggle with what to write. By the way Jennifer is afraid of rodents (including hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs) too.

    1. Jennifer - Well are'nt they all RODENTS! Yuck! We gotta stick