Happy New Year everyone! After two solid weeks of rest and relaxation, I am finally back in Texas and ready to tackle the new year!
One of the great things about the past two weeks is all that downtime gave me a lot of time to think and reflect about the past year, my scrapbooking and where I want to go this next year.
2011 was a really interesting scrapbooking year around here. In addition to my regular scrapbooking and Creative Teams, I opened up NettioDesigns, celebrated my 5th Scrap-i-versary, guest taught over at Masterful Scrapbook Design and completed one of my favorite projects ever with my A Week In the Life photo book.
But what I realized in looking through my layouts from the past year is that while I like the individual layouts I created, I feel like there’s a disconnect between the stories I want to be telling and the stories I’m actually telling - gaps where meaningful stories are missing.
And if I’m being honest, I’ve been feeling this way for quite some time.
In a lot of ways it feels like I’ve been on scrapbooking and storytelling autopilot, not necessarily disliking what I’m doing but not feeling totally fulfilled either.
Busy vs Meaningful
Peppermint of One Little Bird had a great post on her blog about this topic earlier this week and there was definitely lots of nodding going on as I read it. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I highly recommend you do.
One of the key things I took away from her post is that when it comes to scrapbooking, there’s a difference between being busy and being meaningful. And when we try to do too much, especially with labor intensive projects like P365 or Project Life, we often sacrifice the meaningful in exchange for the busy work.
This quote especially resonated with me:
The common thread with all three of the projects was that they kept me really busy – busy taking pictures, busy jotting down notes, busy buying supplies and organizing supplies. All of that busy work made me feel like I was documenting our lives. But they didn’t leave me feeling fulfilled. Instead I felt like I spent my time living up to arbitrary obligations that I’d set in my own head while ignoring what I truly love – which is sitting down at my computer and pouring my heart out onto a 3600 x 3600 px canvas in Photoshop. A photo from last week, a photo from last year, an experience from today or an emotion that happened to flutter through my heart.
Can we say lightbulb moment?
This feeling of scrapbooking and storytelling disconnect for me started in 2009 when I began my Deployment 365 photo-a-day project. At the time I chalked it up to Adam being deployed and life being in an odd state of flux that messed with my mojo.
But looking back from the perspective of now, I’m realizing the other part of the story is I allowed the pressure of keeping up with that project (and others like it) distract me from telling deeper, more meaningful stories. I listened to the little voice reminding me that I was way behind, that I wasn’t keeping up and I neglected what made me fall in love with scrapbooking in the first place – amazing designs and awesome stories.
Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of things I loved about P365 and I have no intention of giving up projects all together. But I want to make sure in the future that any project I choose to take on, especially an ongoing time intensive one, is done out of a place of genuine LOVE and not only because it’s the it-trend of the moment.
And if I get part way into the process and realize I’m not feeling it anymore, I want to give myself permission to let it go. To call it done and move on. I don’t want my unfinished projects of the past to limit my creativity today.
There’s no room for scrapbooking guilt around here.
So with the start of the new year, I am ready to wipe the slate clean. To move on, let go of the guilt of old unfinished projects and get back to telling and creating the stories and pages I love.
My 5 Scrapbooking Wants for 2012
And to get things started, I decided to write a list of what I want to get out of my scrapbooking this next year. Since I’m still working on the Scrap-i-versary and Birthday Goals I set in 2011 these aren’t goals per se, but more like resolutions to keep in mind throughout 2012.
I WANT…to trade the busy in favor of the meaningful.
No more stressful guilt-inducing projects at the expense of meaningful pages. Unless I absolutely love the process (like my AWITL album), it’s not worth it.
I WANT…to push my creativity to the next level.
Challenge myself more. Expand my skills. Design pages that make me want to happy dance with creativity and excitement.
I WANT…to stop allowing disorganization to limit my creativity and storytelling.
My photos and supplies need to work for me. Reusing photos just to avoid hunting for new ones is craziness.
I WANT…to make time to scrap just for me.
Scrap for stories, not just to showcase product. And be ok with telling stories without product.
I WANT…to tell the stories that matter most to me.
More meaning, less routine.
Now It’s Your Turn
So there’s a little bit about my plans for the new year but I’m curious to know…
What’s one of your scrapbooking wants for this year?
I’d love to hear from you so let me know in the comments.