| Written by Ronnie |
So happy to be able to post the prompts on time this month! Now that we are past the half-year mark, I would love to know how everybody is going? Do you intend to keep writing till the end of this year? Would you like to keep journaling next year? Some feedback would be wonderful, as it would help us to start making plans for 2016. Today's mini interview is with Charlotta, who's one of our 2015 Community Ambassadors. Charlotta has been taking part in the #lifecapturedproject ever since it first launched in December last year. I find her images mesmerising and her words have often touched my heart. I hope you enjoy this insight into her journaling process, and it would be lovely if you could take the time to say 'hello' as well.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your family?
I'm Charlotta and I'm from Sweden, but I haven't been living there for the past 12 years or so. I live on a small island in the French West Indies together with my husband and our two children (a son, 11, and a daugher, 8). We always spend our summer holidays in Sweden though; on an even smaller island, in the Stockholm achipelago. Once upon a time I was supposed to be a lawyer with a passion for foreign languages, literature, creative writing, photography and graphic design, nowadays I'm a teacher (2,5-10 year olds) and occasionnally a photographer. Both can be quite challenging, but in general fun. When I'm not working you can find me reading books, swimming, journaling, going for long hikes, dreaming, slowly trying to learn calligraphy again, making/folding things out of paper, playing with my children, relaxing, chatting, taking far too many photos and tidying up our constantly messy house. In no particular order. And preferably together with my entire family.
Why is journaling important to you?
I've been journaling off and on since the day I learned how to write. Sometimes daily, lengthy and extensively, at other times seemingly haphazardly and briefly. I do this because I love to write of course, but also because I'm unfortunately quite forgetful and to me, journaling truly is the best form of memory keeping. There's really no need for anything except a piece of paper and a pen and can be done just about anywhere. It helps me sort out my scattered, and racing, thoughts as well. Makes me think a bit further. And put simply; it makes me happy.
When do you find the time to do it?
Late evenings. It's not ideal and the idea of morning pages is very tempting, but I would have to completely change our morning routines to do that. Journaling is also a way for me to de-stress before going to bed, so late evenings it is and will probably continue to be.
Do you prefer to write on paper or on your computer?
I started following Ronnie's old blog the moment I first stumbled on a post about one of her absolutely stunning story books and ever since I've been wanting to do something similar. The focus on words and photos and the minimal design appeal so much to me. I immediately began typing - obviously - only to realise that it didn't work for me. I didn't want to spend more time infront of the computer than I already was, I caught myself focusing more on how I was writing than what I was writing. I found it limiting. It was, perhaps, a bit disappointing at first, but now I prefer to write on paper. The words flow and my writing has become much more honest and raw and meaningful.
Do you have a ‘system’ of sorts?
I do - of sorts. It took me a while to find it. To decide. I began this without any kind of practical plan and my sudden lack of organisation bothered me, but everyone has been so helpful, giving suggestions and advice. I ended up buying three simple, brown, ruled notebooks and a journal. The first notebook begins with January's very first prompt and if everything goes according to plan the third notebook will end with December's very last. I use a fountain pen and blue school ink and most days I fill exactly one page. At times I add a small drawing or a quote. Or both. But the mundane and ordinary recollections from the day that have little to do with the prompts go into the journal instead. I add photos to some of the prompts as well. They're currently just printed and then attached to the right page with a small paper clip. If neither the photo nor the text is too private I post the image and a (surprisingly long) recap on Instagram. It's fairly organised, flexible and travel friendly and I'm very pleased with it now.
What is your approach to using the #lifecapturedproject prompts?
In the beginning (as in last December) I just thought it could be nice to approach the December Daily album in a slightly different way, using the prompts. Then I realised there would be more prompts - every month - and I just went ahead. Kept writing. I try to be disciplined, I suppose; to sit down and write every day, not wanting to fall behind, and I use my "system" (of sorts), being organised, but I certainly do not plan what to write. I don't even think it through much. I write the prompt at the top of the page and then continue with whatever comes to mind. Like I said earlier, the result is what at least feels like very raw, honest, focused and personal notes. And I prefer them to my ordinary ramblings. They have more sense and I love the diversity of the prompts, the mixture of everyday routines, childhood memories, traditions, preferences and thoughts on life. Things that I would probably never have written down otherwise.
What is your process for choosing images to go with your words?
This will most likely be an answer that the organised ladies at Life:Captured Inc will discreetly and kindly shake their heads at. Let's (euphemistically) call it flexible. Or organic. First, not all my words will have images to go with them. I think. We'll see by the end of the year. I feel absolutely no pressure to add an image, but I will happily do so if there's one that makes sense (to me). I also don't follow the prompts chronologically when it comes to choosing photos, which explains my very random Instagram feed. Sometimes I know right away there will be a photo along with the text, at times I will, much later, take a photo that reminds me of what I've once written. Sometimes I know exactly which image should go with my words, the moment I write them down, at other times I hesitate, have difficulties choosing between several ones. Sometimes I take a photo with the sole purpose of adding to the text, at other times the words and the image just make sense together. Sometimes I take a new photo, at other times I go through my archives. The images that go with the prompts regarding routines, habits, belongings, likes and dislikes, etc. are very basic. Snap shots. Sometimes even ugly. I find this kind of photography quite difficult, but I'm still very happy to have the photos. There are many pictures that I would never had taken if it hadn't been for the prompts. Choosing and creating the images that go with what I've written about hopes, dreams, fears, grief, childhood memories and family, etc. is a completely different thing and I love it! There's so much room for creativity, letting my mind wander.
Do you have any long-term plans for all the words that you’ve written? (e.g. Will you compile them into a book, etc.?)
I mentioned it earlier, I wanted to compile them into a book. A book of words, photos and minimal design. But I'm writing by hand and will not type it all out. I did pick notebooks with perforated pages though, which means that it'll be possible for me to put them all in a binder, together with the photos, if that's what I'll choose to do in the end. I'm actually very excited to see what it'll all look like by the end of December.
Do you have any tips to share for others who are interested in giving journaling a go?
Just do it! It's fun and rewarding. Don't complicate things (like I did). If pretty journals, decorations and the perfect pen make it even more fun, then get them, but all you really need is a piece of paper, a pen (or a computer if you prefer) and a bit of time. You won't actually need a lot of time, not if you incorporate it into a routine and write consistently. Don't self-edit (like I did while typing). Don't overthink while writing. Read through the blog posts, they're full of practical advice. And finally, remember that there's a very nice, supportive, encouraging and helpful little community out here!
To see more of Charlotta's images and words, you can follow her on Instagram.
You can download the prompts for August here.