Last week, I told you about the importance of writing your story. Your story can be written in your own handwriting or typed up and printed out from a computer. If you are a digital scrapbooker, you can even have your handwriting turned into a font so that you can get your own handwriting on your layout. Heck, you could even do what Gretchen Rubin did when she created photobooks, which was write her captions directly on her printed pages.
What’s the difference between handwriting and typed writing if the story is the same? Using one’s own handwriting provides a personal touch (Kelley and Brown 2005). Others suggest that being able to see another family member’s handwriting is meaningful to them.
It is no surprise that scrapbookers struggle with telling their story (or journaling) (link to post about words), but scrapbookers also struggle with handwriting their story.
One scrapbooker in my study struggles with handwriting her story because she does not like her handwriting. Part of the problem here can be attributed to the scrapbooking magazines:
Respondent: I don’t write pretty, so I don’t journal a lot.
Interviewer: So if you wrote prettier, do you think you would journal more?
Respondent: Probably. Probably, you know, I don’t know if you get any of the scrapbooking magazines or not, but Ali Edwards has some of the prettiest handwriting I have ever seen.
It is unknown how this scrapbooker felt about her handwriting prior to reading the magazines, but the fact that the magazines mainly show scrapbook pages with pretty handwriting does not encourage her to use her own handwriting. Scrapbook magazines are like other women’s magazines in that they hold out archetypal models for readers to aspire to and when women do not fulfill these expectations, they feel badly about it. Industry leaders argue that readers should treat scrapbook magazines like fashion magazines, use them for inspiration but do not let them prevent the reader from scrapbooking. I agree to some extent. Just because I do not look as fabulous and pulled together as the women in the fashion magazines spreads does not prevent me from wearing clothes or accessorizing; however, scrapbook magazines are significantly different from fashion magazines in that they showcase real layouts by real scrapbookers. Some do a better job than others about disclosing when a layout is completed by a semi-professional scrapbooker (someone who is working on a design or creative team, for instance). It is quite clear in fashion magazines when a person is being showcased, who has zero connection to the industry. This boundary is incredibly blurry in scrapbook magazines (and idea books and on many blogs).
What do you think? I’ve got a couple of big questions in this post. First, do you use your own handwriting to tell your story? Second, do scrapbook magazines, blogs, and the like make you feel bad about your scrapbooking? Feel free to share below in the comments section or join the conversation on twitter or facebook.
Kelley, Ryan E. and Charles M. Brown. 2005. “Cutting Up with the Girls: A Sociological Study of a Women’s Scrapbooking Club.” in The Eastern Sociological Society. Washington, D.C.
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