You do not need to create an Alpha, simply clipping a paper(s) to the Title will do... but you certainly may create an Alpha (or least for the letters you use). I just don't want plain, typed letters.
Regular font text is still fine for the journaling, if you choose to journal.
No on the templates. It didn't specifically say, so if you are already all done it won't disqualify you. However, in the final week of a LO contest I want to see you