Jumpstart Your Scrapbooking Creativity With…A Love Letter?

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If you’re a total scrapbook novice, chances are you’ve struggled with where exactly to begin. The world of die cuts, adhesives, albums, and hundreds of paper choices can be overwhelming. But turning your initial focus not to the frills of scrapbooking, but to its power as a storytelling tool, gives you a place to start out as a scrapbooker in a way that feels true to who you really are — not what fancy supplies you have. Even if you’re an old pro, you might find that taking the time to refocus on the place of story in your scrapbooking career will give you a fresh approach to the albums you create.

Author and scrapbooking superhero Lain Ehmann suggests an exercise scrapbookers of all ability levels can do, with no special tools or skills: Writing a love letter. Yes, really.

Here’s how: First, start by choosing an image of something that matters to you. It might be a picture of a friend or family member, a favorite vacation spot, or even a physical object (like a treasured coffee mug or family heirloom). Don’t get too hung up on choosing — just pick the first image that speaks to you.

Using just that photo, some card stock (or thick construction-type paper) and a pen, write a love letter to the subject of your image.

“It could be as silly as you like or as deep and meaningful as you like,” Lain explains. “Don’t overthink it. Just think, ‘If I were talking to this person (or object), and I had a chance to speak from my heart, what would I say?’” Penmanship, grammar, and spelling don’t count — it’s an exercise, not a test — and you’ll want to leave yourself plenty of time. Budget out at least 15-20 minutes to work.

By the end of this exercise, you’ll have the two core pieces of every successful scrapbook page: an image and a story. No fancy layout, and no bells and whistles, but congratulations — you’re well on your way.

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Lauren Hoffman lives and writes in Seattle, Washington. By day, she's a freelance writer and editor; by night, she's at work completing a book-length non-fiction project, Up High Down Low.