We invited her here today to tell us more about her experience creating her amazing (completed AND printed!) album for A Week in the Life.
This is a massive journaling project all about the daily details and to get to the finish line, we knew you’d need some tips.
So, for today’s Journaling post, we asked Lynnette to share the valuable things she learned when she made her fantastic album. We hope that you’ll find her words to be inspiring and that you’ll enjoy taking on this project in some way, however big or small.
Hello, hello everyone! I’m Lynnette, aka Nettio as I’m often known around digi-land, and I’m so excited to be here today chatting with you about one of my favorite scrapbooking topics: capturing the daily details of life.
In 2011, I created one of my most favorite everyday scrapbooking projects ever, my A Week In the Life Blurb photo book.
If you’re new to the concept of A Week In the Life, it’s a seven-day documentary project popularized by Ali Edwards designed to capture your everyday life through words and photos. Rather than focusing on the big moments like birthdays, vacations and holidays, the idea is you spend a week focusing on all the little details that make up your everyday, regular, routine life.
I had attempted A Week In the Life twice before, once in 2008 and once in 2010, and in both cases I took photos and notes for a few days, got bored/burnt out with the process and quit. So when Ali announced her plans to do AWITL the last week of July 2011, I made a commitment to myself that THIS would be the year I completed this album.
And I did it! Not only did I complete the album but I LOVE the end result. Love as in it makes me want to do a happy dance every time I see it on my shelf.
But I’m not foolish enough to think it was a coincidence I completed this album this time around so today I’m going to share with you my top 5 lessons I learned for completing an A Week In the Life album.
1) Begin with the end in mind
If you don’t know where you want to go, how are you ever going to get there? So, the first thing I do with any big project like this is visualize the end result.
What kind of stories do I want to have I documented? What kind of photos have I captured? What must-have details do I want to include? Is there anything I don’t want to do or include?
In the case of my A Week In the Life album, I knew right away I wanted to:
- keep the focus on words + photos
- create a photo book rather than individual layouts
- keep the design clean, simple & magazine-like
- include a highlights page with current event type items like technology we use, brands we love, etc
- take a photo showing my outfit for the day every day
- not feel pressure to capture every moment of every day
Once I had my vision for my album in mind, I mapped out a general plan for how I want to approach the project which brings me to lesson #2…
2) Have a plan in place before you start documenting
Having a plan for your album before you start is KEY as it simplifies the documentation process by giving you a clear focus on what you need (and don’t need) to capture.
Your plan should include fun things like design and products as well as what tools you’ll use and how and when you’re going to put your album all together. And most importantly – make sure your plan fits with your life. As great as it is to be ambitious, it’s also important to be realistic about what you can accomplish in a reasonable period of time. Just because someone else does it one way, doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
You can read the details of my plan in this post on my blog but the general gist was this:
- I would focus on documenting the first week and album creation the next week.
- My album would be an 8×10 clean magazine-style Blurb photo book using InDesign and the InDesign to Blurb plug-in with the focus being on words and photos with minimal product.
- Since I didn’t want the pressure of capturing every single moment of every single day, I would break my day up into four sections: morning, mid-day, afternoon and evening and focus on capturing the details of at least two of those sections per day, figuring that over the course of the week, I would have plenty of moments captured that would tell the whole story.
- Taking inspiration from an old West Elm catalog, each spread in the album would focus on a section of the day with one page being a large full page photo and the other being a column of journaling and a collage of smaller photos.
- At the end of the album, I would include a highlight page that included lists of some of our favorite things from the week.
Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to start documenting with brings me to lesson #3…
3) Take purposeful photos and notes during the week
You’ll notice I said purposeful rather than detailed. If you wondered why making a plan is so important, this is why.
Because once you already know the vision and plan for your album, you can focus on capturing those details and moments that are most important rather than overwhelming and stressing yourself out trying to capture every single moment throughout the week.
This is true for the photos you take as well as the stories and notes you write down through the week.
When it comes to journaling, be sure to choose a tool that works for you. Since I’m a tech-lover I went with Evernote for capturing information but a pen and paper works well too. Just make sure it’s simple, easy and close by at all times or else you won’t use it.
And also make sure to take plenty of “in the moment” type notes. These can be simple lists, a short thought or two or a summary at the end of the day but the key is to get your thoughts written down while they are still as fresh as possible. Looking back, this is something I wish I had done more of as when I got to writing my journaling out a month later, I didn’t remember nearly as much as I thought I would. It can seem tedious at the time but it will make capture rich details easier in the end.
4) Schedule time to create the album
So much focus is placed on the capturing week of AWITL – seven days of taking photos, notes, collecting memorabilia, etc – but the reality is the capturing week of AWITL is the easy part. It’s putting the album together that takes the most time! Just think of all the steps you have to do: selecting and editing all the photos, writing out the journaling, placing everything in a cohesive design. That’s a lot of work!
Which is why as part of your planning process, decide how and WHEN you’re going to put your album together. I highly recommend separating the two actions – capturing one week and album creation another but there are some people who do it all at once. Either way, make a specific plan, like “evenings on Mon, Wed, Fri, the week after I capture everything” so that you know when you’ll be working on getting this project done.
And my final lesson…
5) Keep it simple
Big, detailed projects like this are not the time to get fancy. There’s a reason I went with a clean, product free style for my album. Because I knew if I tried to do my normal paper-lovin’ style, I’d still be working on it!
So when it comes to process, style, design, tools, etc, the key is to go with what you know and love and choose the best, simplest tool for the job.
In the wise words of Ali Edwards: Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
And that’s my top tips from my A Week In the Life experience. This album was a ton of work but I know this is a book my husband and I will look back on for years to come. It captured the everyday details of our life in a way that my regular digital scrapbooking layouts don’t and having the printed book in my hot little hands makes me all kind of happy.
So if you have a chance to give this project a try, I highly recommend going for it! It’s the ultimate project when it comes to capturing the daily details of life.
Psst… want to see more of my A Week In the Life album? On my blog at NettioDesigns, you can find my completed album here, read how I put it together using Aperture & InDesign here and see more pictures from my printed Blurb book here.
Lynnette is a child-free, tech-lovin’ digital scrapbooker with a love for bold colors and patterns, clean lines and modern storytelling. She’s started digital scrapbooking in 2006 and has been a Sweet Shoppe SugarBabe and Creative Team Member for Zoe Pearn for the last several years. She is also the owner of NettioDesigns where she sells digital scrapbooking templates based on her own designs and shares tips & tricks for embracing your scrapbooking awesomeness. When she’s not busy scrapbooking she loves to travel, spend time outdoors and hang out with her husband and family.