Starting on May 6th, 2019 I'll be embarking on my annual Week In The Life™ project. This is a 7-day documentary project that invites you to capture the basics of your life right now.
As I get ready for documenting my week I wanted to share with you 5 reasons for joining me in this project:
1. Own your story.
Something I love about this project, and one of the reasons I come back to it year after year, is that is gives me an opportunity to reflect upon and take ownership of the story I am living right now. I am the sum of all the pieces of my daily life.
Who am I? Who are we? Where do we go over the course of a week? What do we eat? What is our current routine? What are we into? What do I care most about at this point in my life? What time do I go to bed? What's different from last year?
Those are just some of the questions I aim to answer over the course of the week. My goal isn't to capture every single detail of every single day - that's just not attainable. What I want to do is capture the essence of life at this point in time in 2019. I want to take ownership of my story through the process of taking photos, writing down stories, and bringing it together in one album that I can hold in my hands.
Maybe this is the year you include more of yourself in the story? Maybe this year you include a self-portrait each day as you reflect on how you are living life.
2. The details are awesome.
In memory keeping one of the things I come back to again and again is this question: “What do I wish I knew?” This past perspective has encouraged me to go beyond the birthdays and Christmas stories to get to the heart of what I wish I knew about my own family - often for me that’s my grandmothers or even my Mom. What do I wish I knew about them in their earlier years? Those are the kinds of stories I want to tell about myself. It’s the little every day details of routines and thoughts and circumstances that interest me most.
Tell me about your morning routine and the way you feel in the afternoon after a full day of work and what you do in the evening to wind down. Tell me about the text conversation you had with your Mom or the email from your kid’s teacher. Tell me about how you love or loathe your current work situation. Tell me what you are “into” right now - maybe it’s gardening or quilting or video games or running or car shopping. Tell me about this season of your life even if it feels exactly the same as the last season.
Being able to go back in time and review my past albums shows me that people make it through things. They show me the beauty of my ordinary life. It is so worth the time.
Maybe this will be the year you focus on what you wish you knew about a relative or friend who has passed away as the inspiration for your own storytelling.
3. This is a project with a beginning and an end.
Over my years of memory keeping I have seen lots of different ways for people to approach telling their stories. It started with traditional scrapbook pages in 12x12 and 8.5x11, then mini-books, then Project LIfe® or pocket pages, then Instagram + Facebook as a way to document words and photos, then travelers notebooks, then 6x8 albums and page sizes, and it continues to evolve. Sometimes people tell stories in an ongoing fashion and other projects have a beginning and an end.
Week In The Life™ is a project with a beginning and an end. You start on a Monday (or some of you start on Sunday) and you end on a Sunday (or Saturday if you begin on Sunday). It’s seven days in a row of documenting pieces of your life at this point in time. Remember, it's way less about capturing every single detail and way more about paying attention and capturing stories that matter to you.
You don’t have to be crafty to participate. You don’t have to become a “scrapbooker” to participate. Even just taking photos and writing things down over the course of the week is enough. If you want to take it a step further and put it into an album I’ve got supplies to help you do that. But maybe what fits best in your life right now is simply documenting your stories and images via Instagram or a private blog.
Maybe this will be the year you give yourself permission to start and finish this project with whatever content you collect vs. thinking you didn't get enough or you got too much.
4. The vibrant, supportive community.
This project has been happening annually since 2005. There’s a dedicated Facebook group. There are posts here on my blog going back years and years with examples of past projects.
Connecting with like-minded people who care about storytelling is icing on the cake. They help me remember that I'm not alone in my love of memory keeping and in how my life progresses. I love seeing the creative ways that people take photos, write their stories, and play with the products we create to help get those stories told.
Maybe this will be the year you open up and connect with others for inspiration and support.
5. Make your life visible via photos and words.
There is a little bit of magic (okay, maybe a lot) that happens when you begin to pay closer attention to the story you are currently living. For me, seeing myself in the story - literally seeing photos of myself inhabiting my life (I take these with my self-timer most of the time) - has helped me to live through some of the most challenging seasons of my life. Taking photos and writing about my experiences - even if I’m not writing directly about the most challenging pieces - grounds me in the present and helps me understand my story. It helps me identify things to be thankful for and reminds me that life moves on.
One of the greatest gifts I give myself is taking the photos. The photos I take during this project are often some of my most favorite I take all year. I think this happens because I'm really paying attention. I am looking for the stories through the lens of my camera and letting it be a tool to gather my content.
Maybe this will be the year you really get intentional about the photos you take during the week and let those guide the stories you end up telling.
Consider yourself invited. You have the time to do this. Your story is important.