Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Journaling in lists

I like to say that my main source of inspiration comes from my family. Yet I've realized that it's really been all about my kids, specifically. In the process, I've neglected the one who got the whole thing going. I guess the reason is that my kids are a little cuter (no offense, Steve) and they change much more quickly, which makes me desperately want to capture every fleeting moment.

Yet I've known my husband for longer than I've known my kids (of course), so I should have just as much to say about him. In fact, I've made a deliberate effort to focus some scrapbooking time on him. I took several photos of him last weekend when we went out by ourselves. The funny thing is that it is almost as hard to get him to smile for the camera as it is my two-year old daughter. You can tell in this picture that I told him to turn and smile for me. This is his half-hearted effort, but I'll take what I can get.

When trying to decide what to write about him, I drew a blank. All I could think of was a bunch of lovey-dovey cliches, and I don't really like to write in that kind of language. I wanted to do something more simple and original.

That's why I often write in lists. Using lists, I can jot down whatever random things come to mind. Unlike a narrative, a list doesn't have to expand on one idea. Lists are more fun, they're spontaneous, and they save time and energy. It took me just a few minutes to create the journaling and required minimal editing. I spent most of my time on the visual layout.

The journaling reads:

Top eight things that I love about you:

  • How you made me want to have kids.
  • How you call from work just to say hi.
  • How you handle problems so maturely.
  • How you deal with my mood swings so patiently.
  • How you are committed to your health.
  • How you are a great hiking partner.
  • How big and manly your chin is.
  • How great your cooking is!
(Paper is by Michelle Coleman of

Why did I choose eight for this layout? For one thing, I thought of this great way to incorporate the number “8” into my word art. For another thing, I wanted to highlight the things that stood out most. I could have done 100, but it would have seemed repetitive and people probably would not read the whole thing.

So, if you're afraid to write because you don't feel like a poet, try writing in lists. It's much easier when you're not constrained by a narrative structure and you're free to throw out whatever comes to your head.

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