From the Desk of Nettio Designs Issue No. 6
At the end of last week’s From the Desk of Nettio Designs, I asked you to share with me what you’re struggling with right now when it comes to creatively capturing your life adventures. A huge thank you to everyone who did! I loved reading all of your responses.
While I know it can be a bit uncomfortable to admit when you’re struggling with something, I can say based off all the responses that we are all definitely in the same boat. In fact I don’t think there were any struggles I read that I couldn’t nod my head right along with you and say “Yep, totally been there.” And I know I said as much in a lot of my responses back to you, haha.
Speaking of which, if you sent me an email or left a comment on my blog, you should have received a reply from me, so if you haven’t yet, either I missed it or it got lost in cyberspace, so please feel free to send your response again. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Since you were all so kind to share your scrapbooking struggles with me last week, I wanted to share a few of my own scrapbooking struggles with you this week. Because yes, even after 7 years of digital scrapbooking, I still have things I struggle with too, like:
1) Taking WAY too many photos
Ok, so maybe it’s not the taking photos as much as it’s a problem of managing the sheer volume of photos I take. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I have so many more details of our everyday life & adventures captured, but keeping up with the continuous flow of digital photo organization and editing sometimes makes me wish for the old days of dropping off a single roll of 30 exposure film at Target. Photo flow is not something I’ve managed to master just yet.
2) Taking on too much
I love the rush of new projects, ideas, brainstorming – that’s the fun part of projects for me. The actual details and execution stage: eh, not so much. Which means sometimes I get easily excited to start something and lose steam half way, and other times I struggle with not knowing how to give myself permission to without feeling guilty I didn’t finish.
3) Balancing work with scrapbooking for fun
There’s a funny thing that happens when you pair your hobby with your work: the line between what’s work and what’s for fun becomes very very blurred. It becomes even trickier when work from home and love what you do but still want to maintain some kind of work/life boundaries. I struggle with this and I know more than a few of you on Creative Teams expressed you struggle with finding this balance as well so I know I’m in good company here.
How Can We Turn Our Scrapbooking Struggles Into Assets?
So now that we’ve all admitted and shared our struggles (woohoo, group hug everyone!), where do we go from here? More importantly, how can we turn our struggles into assets?
Well, the first thing we need to do is reframe how we look at our struggles in a more positive light. When most of us hear the word struggle, the first thing we think about is hardship, frustration and pain. And yes, struggle often involves all of those things.
But when I look at my own scrapbooking struggles, what I choose to see is opportunity. Opportunity for growth, for improvement, for learning.
Because the areas where we struggle are not a sign of our failures. Instead they represent where we have the most opportunity for true growth – where we’ll get the most bang for our buck, if you will.
If we can conquer what we struggle with the most first, aka the biggest speed bumps in our creative process, then that will free up more of our time, energy, inspiration and creativity to be put toward the areas we really love.
But in order to get to that point, we have to first understand the root cause of why we struggle with these things in the first place.
Back in 2011, I asked a similar “what do you struggle with” question on my blog and being the numbers/infographic nerd that I am, I came up with this pie chart at the time to show the five main categories of scrapbooking struggles based on the responses:
- Time & Focus – finding time, avoiding the black hole of social media, maintaining balance
- Design – all elements of design: composition, design principles, photography, title work
- Inspiration – staying inspired, managing inspiration, finding your own style
- Storytelling – journaling, telling your story, title work
- Organization – both photos & scrap supplies
All of the responses I received this week could still be classified within these five categories. But that really only tells part of the story.
Two Key Causes of Why We Struggle
When I looked a little deeper at the WHY behind all of the responses from both 2011 & 2013, what I realized was all of these struggles could actually be categorized into two key causes: overwhelm & lack of confidence.
Overwhelm, as I’m sure most of us know, is that feeling you get when you have too much to do and not enough time. It includes struggles like: too many photos/photos/ideas/supplies/projects, not enough time to start/finish, a lack of focus when you do start, disorganization with you supplies or photos.
Lack of Confidence is that little voice of doubt inside your head that makes you rethink your choices (do I put this button here or here?) and whether you really are good enough (news flash, you totally are!). It includes struggles like: lack of confidence in your design/technical/photo skills or creativity, in your ability to tell your story thru your words and photos, and even in how you’ll look in a photo (which is why you hide behind the lens).
How overwhelm & lack confidence manifest themselves in our struggles is going to be a little bit different for each of us, and of course some struggles are going to fall into a combination of these two causes. But at it’s core, when looking at our struggles as opportunities for growth, what we need to do is focus on out how we can take action on these two things: reducing our overwhelm and/or increasing our confidence.
Which brings me to this week’s challenge…
It’s Challenge Time!
This week I want you to choose one of the struggles you shared last week and take action on it by doing two things:
1) Categorize the root of your struggle as either overwhelm or lack of confidence (or both). Really try to be as honest as possible and get at the heart of why this particular part of the creative process is a struggle for you. Don’t be afraid to mull it over for awhile and dig deep.
2) Write down one or two simple actionable steps you can take this week to help combat the root of your struggle – keep it something that is small, simple and doable – no big bold “I’m going to organize all my scrap supplies this week!” statements. We’re trying to reduceoverwhelm, remember?
Since I find having an example always helps, I’ll make it easy on ya and go first. You aren’t getting graded on this obviously, haha, so don’t worry about it being a well-edited essay – a simple list or mind-map can be a great way to do this as well.I’m choosing to focus on my I take WAY too many photos struggle which more me is a combination of both overwhelm and a lack of confidence:
- Overwhelm because I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume and ongoing nature of the photo-taking process. Even when I’ve managed to get my photos organized I’ve struggled to keep them that way.
- Lack of confidence because I know if I had more confidence in my abilities to compose photos I love in camera or get the right exposure/sharp photos the first time, I wouldn’t feel the need to take quite so many photos in the first place.
For my action steps, I’m going to do two things this week:
- Spend 30 minutes one evening adding the rest of my photos into Aperture
- Spend a little time (less than an hour) browsing through my pinned photos board on Pinterest and look for patterns in the photos I love. Then try to incorporate one of these patterns into my own photos.
See what I mean about keeping things simple? Your goal is not to solve your struggle in a single night. I just want you to spend some time getting to know your struggle and what it might take to eventually get yourself over the struggle hump. And if you’d like to share your plan, feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you’ve got planned. We can be accountability buddies, hehe.
This post is Issue No. 6 of my From The Desk of Nettio Designs weekly email series. Want to get in on the action? Sign up for Nettio Designs emails here.