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If you’re looking to add a bit of creative time to your day, a digital scrapbook journal might be just the key. A digital scrapbook helps you savor all of those little memories and moments, and there are a few more benefits as well. Read on to learn about creating a daily practice for memory keeping and reflection.
Have you tried scrapbook journaling? For me, it started out as a for-fun junk journal but eventually turned into my go-to journal and memory keeper. My digital scrapbook journal became a place where I could have some much-needed creative time and is now a big part of my self-care routine. It’s an excellent place to celebrate the big and little wins in life – and a safe place to let out some frustrations, reflect on the good in your day, and practice gratitude. Journaling time is ten minutes I take for myself each day, and has consequently made a huge difference in my mindset.
What is a Scrapbook Journal?
Simply, a scrapbook journal is a place to keep a written journal of your thoughts alongside mementos, photos, and memories. These can be kept in a paper or digital journal using an app such as GoodNotes. In this post, we’ll be focusing on digital scrapbooking, specifically.
I’ve found it much easier to keep up with a journaling regularly with a little help from technology. Below we’ll get into the ins and outs of setting aside time for digital journaling as well as how to get started using a digital journal for scrapbooking. But first, let’s take a look at the benefits of taking time to create a scrapbook journal.
What are the benefits of creating a scrapbook journal?
(1) Reflecting on the little things
One of the downfalls of traditional scrapbooking, in my opinion, is that it is focused on “special” events. Of course we want to remember the big events in our lives: graduations, birthdays, holidays, family reunions, etc. However, there are many positive little moments that happen each day that are also special and deserve to be remembered. Eventually, many of these little moments pass us by if we’re not purposefully writing them down.
In contrast, a scrapbook journal encourages reflection as you reflect on day-to-day life, not just the big events. You don’t need to set aside hours (or a whole crafting weekend) to honor these little memories! A shorter, less craft-intensive routine for journaling allows us to keep track of these special moments and reflect on the impact all the little things have on our lives.
(2) An easier way to practice gratitude
A scrapbook journal, in my experience, is also a wonderful way to practice gratitude. Initially, gratitude can be a difficult practice to master – especially when we have challenging days! Some days it is difficult to come up with three – or even one – thing to feel grateful for. Of course, this becomes easier over time and with practice. But it is a real struggle at first. Additionally, when you’re first starting the practice, sometimes you might be at a loss about what to write down. How many days in a row can you be thankful for your cute pets? Writing the same thing over and over can become mundane diminishes the benefits of the practice. How can we dig deeper when gratitude is challenging or feels less than meaningful?
Regular memory keeping in a scrapbook journal can make beginning a practice of gratitude easier. As you reflect upon these small, special days-to-day moments, you will find bright spots that often get overshadowed or simply forgotten. Additionally, if you’re stumped about what to be grateful for, a swipe back through your digital journal will show you memories of past days and experiences. You’ll begin to recognize gratitude for these little moments that make up our lives, and thus dig deeper into the practice – without forcing it.
Finally, the biggest benefit of journaling, and particularly scrapbook journaling, is that this simple, daily practice that real power to improve your outlook on life. Taking time to reflect on these smaller but just-as-special events, and feeling that sense of gratitude that comes with reflecting on positive moments will improve your outlook. You might even find yourself in a moment of reflection and gratitude during your day as you think, “I’m going to write this down later!” or snap a picture of something you want to remember.
Recognizing these little moments while you’re in the moment is where the magic happens. This is how a scrapbook journal can truly make an impact on our lives. Not just during the 10 minutes of actively journaling – all day.
Starting (and actually using) a Scrapbook Journal
Now that you understand the real impact a scrapbook journal can have, it’s time to focus forward on how to get one started – and, more importantly, making sure you’ll actually use it.
For a long time, regular daily memory keeping was one of those things I wanted to do but always let slide. I wanted to make time in my day for a creative outlet, but I never had the time or space to make it happen. I’ve found that digital journaling is hugely helpful when it comes to forming a long-term habit.
One reason is because you can be creative without the setup or the cleanup. With a digital scrapbook journal, you can create something fun or beautiful in just ten minutes. You don’t have to haul out supplies, develop photos, or keep a space set up away from pets and kids. Just grab your tablet and stylus and go.
Since you don’t need all of the supplies, you can journal anywhere: in the car waiting for your kids during after school activities, hanging out in the waiting room at appointments, or anywhere you find yourself with some spare time. You don’t even need an internet connection if you’re using a PDF annotation app.
Getting in the habit
When you first start developing a journaling habit, it might be tough to get it done every day. Set aside a bit of time – just five or ten minutes at first. Dedicate a time to reflecting on your day, choosing a few pictures or writing down a few words that you want to remember. Choose a time of day that makes sense to you. Do you have 5 quiet minutes in the morning to reflect on the previous day? Or does it make more sense to take a little time before bed?
Whenever you decide to journal, try to keep it consistent. However, if life has gotten away from you and you suddenly 9 weeks of journaling to make up for, take it easy on yourself. You don’t have to journal every little moment. You don’t have to make up for time. When you sit down to journal, focus on the now. Focus on today. Then, sit down tomorrow and focus on the now, then too!
Creating Your Digital Scrapbook Journal Pages
Creating scrapbook journal pages is simple. You’ll need a tablet and stylus along with a PDF annotation app like GoodNotes, Notability, or Xodo. If this is your first time trying digital journaling, check out our getting started post.
1. Choosing a Template
There are many digital journaling templates available to help you get started with your scrapbook journal. You can choose anything from digital bullet journals, to planners, to simple, blank notebooks. I love the vintage look of a junk journal, so for my scrapbook journal, I use the vintage themed scrapbook template shown above.
Using a template is so helpful. It gives you a little bit of structure to create your scrapbook. Note taking apps are wonderful, but they are a total blank slate. For most of us it’s easier to start with a framework. I think of it like the difference between starting with a paper journal or just a stack of paper. Can you create a journal from a ream of copy paper? Absolutely? Do you want to? Probably not. When it comes to a digital scrapbook journal, templates are key.
One reason I created this particular journal was to save myself time. I can add to those pages with some digital elements or I can just swipe to the next template, throw on a picture and start journaling. This scrapbook journal has 31 unique templates for daily journaling. You don’t have to wait until January 1 to get started – you can start on any month on any day. You have the option of using the templates in order or choosing one that feels right for the day and what you want to record.
2. Writing & Fonts
Using your own handwriting gives your journal a really personal feel. However, sometimes I like to choose some coordinating fonts. You can find out how to import free fonts to your iPad.
Since the pages of my scrapbook journal are neutral-toned, I write with either black or white (whichever shows up better). But you’re not limited to the colors you can use; you may be inspired by the different elements or photos you’re using. To customize further, you might want to change up your pen, brush size, highlight, or add your own drawings and doodles to the layout. You can make your journal a true reflection of yourself.
Writing on the slippery surface of your iPad or tablet can be a bit tricky. If you’re having trouble writing, these Paperfeel Screen Protectors from Amazon are fantastic.
3. Adding Photos
I love adding the photos to my pages. It’s such a fun part of scrapbooking and it’s a great way to bring memories to life. I can catch those little moments with my kids or bright spots in my day that might usually slip by. You can easily import photos from your device by using the side-by-side mode and dragging in the shots you want. Or use the photo tool to insert pictures from your gallery.
If you are a person who uses multiple devices with different operating systems, an android phone with an iPad, for example, make transferring photos easier by emailing or messaging photos to yourself. (Did you know you can send yourself messages with messanger? So easy!) This will save you the time of connecting devices or transferring photos.
Another option is to use a hosting service like Dropbox that works across operating systems. Choose the backup photos option, and you’ll always have access to your pictures without even having to send them to yourself.
Pro tip: Sometimes adding a lot of high-quality photos to can make your app run slower, especially if you’ve been journaling for a while and the entire file is getting very large. One way around this is to take a screenshot of your photo to reduce the file size and keep your journal small. If you’re adding multiple photos, you can screenshot your photo library and crop the image down to get the look of a film strip.
4. Adding Other Elements
If photos, writing, and doodling isn’t quite enough for you, you can also add digital elements to your scrapbook journal like frames, stickers, washi, or other digital elements that suit your style. It’s easy to add these just the same way you add a photo, but instead of going to the photo gallery, choose to insert from a file instead.
I love to use extra elements to decorate my pages. For me, it’s just fun to be creative in that way. In the image below, I used washi from our vintage washi tape bundle as well as some photo elements from the vintage themed pack that coordinates with the digital junk journal.
Start Your Digital Scrapbook Journal!
Head on over to our shop to check out the digital journaling templates. Choose from bullet journals, notebooks, or the vintage style journal featured in this post!