During January and February of this year, I made 41 scrapbook layouts.
Partly I did so many because of different assignments I had. I did my Teen Week at Write. Click. Scrapbook. I also wrote this eZine article for Ella Publishing about two-page layouts. I did my usual Write Saturdays, too.
Another reason for that high page count was that I wanted to get Christmas 2011 scrapped, and I did.
But despite all that scrapbooking I got done, I felt a little bit out of touch with the scrapbooking world in general, and this is because of a thing called Project Life. This is a process developed by Becky Higgins wherein you create a sort-of scrapbook layout for each week of the year. I say "sort-of" because instead of putting everything down on a layout, your photos and memorabilia and journaling pieces slide into divided page protectors. This week, in fact,is dedicated to Project Life at WCS.
It's a great idea, really. It lets you get all of the elements of scrapbooking (photos, journaling, embellishments, ephemera) into their simplest forms so that you can get a lot of memories documented in not a lot of time.
But for some reason—a reason I can't yet clearly articulate, hence this post—I haven't jumped on the bandwagon. Of course, some part of it is my own quirk of not wanting to do something when everyone else is doing it. And it does seem like everyone else is doing Project Life. Go to nearly any scrapbooking blog and you'll find posts on it, and every new scrapbooking line has products for Project Life. It's everywhere, which means I am nowhere.
It's more than wanting to swim upstream, however. A large part of my resistence goes to the idea of the weekly layout. 41 layouts in two months notwithstanding, I don't have a set time for scrapbooking. I sort of squeeze it in when I can. What if I bought all the sheet protectors and the stuffand then I didn't make time to actually make the weekly layouts? And then there's also this fear: would I even have enough stuff to make a two-page spread for every. single. week? Would the fairly-regular blah-ness of my life be made completely visible by a Project-Life style album?
The funny thing about my resistance is that I really do need to figure out a way to make my scrapbooking affection less a part of my life. Which is an odd thing for a person who really, really loves scrapbooking to say. But it stops me from doing other things—namely writing—because it is an easy and pleasant way to be creative. "Scrapbook" has been the answer to the "what will I do with this free time?" question for the past 15 years. It's my way to de-stress and feel creative and feel like I'm doing something that matters. I don't encounter Resistance when I sit down to make a scrapbook page; it's just fun and it makes me happy. Writing also makes me happy, but it is much harder and I fight the Resistance with everything I have and then I toss it because it's not very good and then I start daydreaming about new green alphabet stickers.
I want to find my writing niche.
But scrapbooking feels important too. I like knowing that stuff is recorded. Stories matched up with photos. Experiences put down somewhere they're harder to lose. It makes me happy to look through scrapbooks with my kids, reliving moments. It could consume every single second I could pour into it and I would still never, ever be anywhere close to having told all the stories I want to tell.
And that is one thing the Project Life approach promises: less time scrapbooking with more stuff actually scrapbooked. So why am I resisting it?
I still don't know. What I do know is this: during March and April of this year, I made a grand total of ten layouts. I did write more. Mostly, though, I just sat around and thought about things. About finding balance and being productive and living joyfully. About not squandering my time, and about what has value and meaning for me. About how I want my life to be and yes, about where scrapbooking fits in that. Maybe all of this pondering also seems like a waste of time, but I don't think so. My gut tells me I am in the middle of a necessary project, even if it doesn't look like much is happening. The change is happening inside me first. And I can't really commit to anything until it works its way to the surface.
Just curious: if you are a scrapbooker, how do you feel about Project Life?
and if you are not a scrapbooker, tell me how you manage your photos and stories?