In a recent post on Simple Scrapper, Jennifer Wilson asked “What would you do differently if you got a chance to start over from scratch with your memory keeping?” It opened up a world of questions for me and bought into sharp focus some of the things that have been a stumbling block for me in the past and some that still are. While pondering this I found that there was a bit of cross over – as it is in scrapping, so it is in life – often the things that I find myself needing to work on don’t just affect my scrapping but are also part of the bigger picture. If I could start over, this is some of what I would tell myself:
When I started scrapping I used to spend ages looking through scrapbooking mags, doing sketches and rifling through my scrap stash to pull things together for a page or project. I am by nature a planner – I like to have things mapped out for me, a route to follow, and general idea of where I’m headed before setting out. While it is a worthy ambition to have direction sometimes this has meant I have invested more in the planning than I have in the actual thing I planned for. Well that or I either let the planning intimidate me out of following through because now the task in front of me seems so mammoth, whereas if I’d just begun and done one step and then the next and then the next I totally could have accomplished it.
Other times I end up burning out on the planning stage and lose my creative mojo with no energy left over for the actual end game. I am slowly teaching myself that starting small can still accomplish the same results but is far more effective than letting myself be intimidated out of doing things. Case in point – this blog – I’ve no idea where I’m headed with it but at least I’m going somewhere. The words ‘just begin’ are fast becoming my mantra. The added benefit of starting small is that when you look back you can actually see how far you’ve come and be pleasantly surprised. Often you don’t even realize that you could achieve so much. Having a big picture but a small focus is really where it’s at.
Oh my word did I waste time pushing little pieces of paper around on a page. Now I look back at those pages and go “For the love of Pete what on earth took me so long, they are so simple?”. Having kids has certainly refined this one for me. That luxury of time is no longer there, that freedom of space and ability to spend so much concentrated focus on something – all but a distant memory. If I’m in my scrap space I better get it down and get it down fast. That means going with my first choice of patterned paper and limiting my embellishment choices. I once heard Katie Scott refer to this as her ‘pick it and stick it’ approach and I love that! There will always be beautiful papers, there will always be a myriad of options and choices for other design elements to add to a page and there will always be a myriad of ways to fix it, if you think you’ve really stuffed it. And if all else fails – there’s always the bin. Not every creative choice or creative project is going to work out and that is absolutely part of the process. Besides 99% of the time, it turns out beautiful and better than you expected in the first place. The creative process can take you down a myriad of paths that you never expected and result in some really wonderful creative play – and that is part of the reason I love to scrap.
I really, really, really wish I had told myself this one back in the beginning because these three things revolutionized my scrapbooking. They are the best investment in my scrapbooking EVER. Part of my scrapping process used to be waiting round for photos to develop, or using good scrapping time during crops fussing with the printing service at my local scrap store. Or alternately spending oodles of time selecting photos at the processor on my weekend. Part of this problem was that I was still using film up until about the end of 2006, occasionally borrowing a digital camera from a friend or requesting copies from other people. The moment I got my hands on a decent photo printer sometime in 2009 my ability to scrapbook exploded because I could scrap on demand. Add to this learning to use the Adobe Creative Suite in 2007 (including Photoshop & In Design) and I suddenly had the tools to edit, tweak and crop my photos to whatever size and shape I wanted.
Watch Less Tellie, Make More scrapbooks.
Oh my this one was so huge – For me it was television, for you it might be something else, but seriously the crux of this one is choosing lesser things over the things that we want more, that fill us up, that feed the core of who we are. I spent most of my twenties living in a house all by myself. I had plenty of social engagements to keep me occupied but not every day. So often after a day of work you’d usually find me sitting in front of the tube and just wasting my precious solitude and time on things that really did not fill me up. How I would love to have used that time for scrapping now. There are so many parts of my everyday life I would love to have in my albums now but didn’t prioritise then.
Don’t let your perceived struggles stop you from at least documenting some part of your everyday. Or to put it another way, don’t let the not so great stuff stop you from getting down the rest of it. I had a bit of a rough time during uni I had to move to the city, leave a really wonderful established friendship group for the nameless masses of the big smoke and I wasn’t really sure that what I was studying was what I wanted to study. So I spent a lot of those years feeling a bit like a fish out of water. It was still a really worthy experience though. The minutiae of my routine, the victories of nailing an assignment and even the struggles I felt have all dimmed with time, who wouldn’t love to laugh now at some small record of boyfriends past, what you used to live on, when you had limited funds but boundless energy. We all hit a rough patch every now and then and in my scrappy history this often resulted in me not scrapping stuff that I would really like to have in my albums for fear that I might not want to remember it later. At least if I got it down I would have the choice to let it go now or keep it as part of my albums but the thing is… I would have the choice.
In my next post I’ll share some solid scrapping advice that works no matter when you started scrapping.
What have been your scrappy stumbling blocks? Do you have the same issues in other areas of your life?