April 25, 2013

But What if I Mess it Up?

Sometimes a blank 12x12 sheet of paper can be a scary prospect... trust me, I speak from experience here.  Sometimes when we really want to scrapbook the hardest thing to do is to just get started!  I know, I know!  Sometimes you look down at your paper and it looks back at you:

Sometimes you tell yourself that when you make that first cut into a shiny new piece of patterned paper and it ends up being a bad cut, this will happen:

I've been there.... I really have!  Even experienced scrapbookers sometimes get a little scrapper's block.  You feel like you've never had a good, original idea in your entire life.  You feel like you are going to make a big, HUGE mistake and that your entire family will be forced to look upon your failure for all eternity.  You feel like you will NEVER find another sheet of patterned paper as perfect as the one sheet you currently have in your possession, and nothing you can think of doing to it seems "worthy".

Scrapping anxiety can happen to anyone at any time.  Yikes!  Who knew?  It's supposed to be our fun time, right?  Supposed to be that safe hobby we can use to both honor our family and spend some quality time away from them at the same time!  Supposed to be the time when we feel like art goddesses!  Why should it be nerve racking?  Why, why, WHY?

The truth is that it's not... not really.  For some of us type A personalities a little anxiety-related perfectionism is to be expected.  For others, it may just be a little tension spreading from your daily life into your scrapbooking time.  In either case, there are things you can do to relieve your anxiety and get scrappin!

1.  Scrap with someone else.  Scrapping with other people is a great way to relieve getting-started anxiety.  If you're having a particularly good chat, you might not even think about the fact that you don't really have a plan.  Or perhaps your friends will have the perfect idea to get your page started.  Or, maybe you'll see something that your friend does that inspires you to try something new.  Two heads are usually better than one, as the old saying goes.  Unless those two heads are Nancy's and Michelle's... when their heads get together scary things happen!  Speaking of scrapping with friends, don't forget we're having a Craft Night on Saturday, April 27th from 6pm-12am.  Instant companionship provided, as well as a trained scrapbook professional if you really get stuck!  Come join us and get going on those pages!

2.  Cut something.  Anything.  OK, not "anything", Ms. Literal-Pants.  Nothing living, for starters.  I'm talking about a scrap, or a magazine page, or something that doesn't really matter.  Use your scissors or your paper trimmer and give yourself 5 minutes to cut it up.... little shapes, big shapes, doesn't matter.  The point is to get over that big blank page anxiety.  Maybe you'll cut a shape you'd like to use with your scrapping papers, or maybe because you're not thinking about what you're going to do, what you're going to do will just come to you.  You'll be surprised how a little distraction can work wonders.

3.  Give yourself a little break.  Maybe you are hanging on to stress from some other part of your day.  Maybe you're a little tired.  Whatever the case, do a little deep breathing, stretch your muscles, and take a short walk around.  If you're still unable to start, look for inspiration.  Go through a scrapbooking magazine, or take a look at some of samples... there are plenty of ideas out there to get you started.  Give yourself a time limit, thought... don't allow yourself to browse the evening away. Find something you like and just do it!  Once you get that first layout out of the way, you might be surprised to find that your next layouts come a little easier...

4. Organize for next time.  Those of us with type A personalities are sometimes in the wrong frame of mind to get started.  It might be best to sit this round out.  Grab a stack of pictures and start pulling papers and embellishments that match your photos together so you'll have little "kits" to get you started next time.  You might even find after you've put a few mini kits together that you get pulled to start on a page you hadn't planned on.  Go for it!  Despite what you're brain is telling you, there are no rules in scrapbooking.  You can scrapbook photos of Christmas before photos of Halloween... I have done it before and I can promise that lightning will not strike.  Well, if it does, it won't be because you scrapbooked out of order!

5. SMASH something.   The SMASH revolution has taken our store by storm... people who have been previously intimidated by that big 12x12 page are finding a perfect avenue for their creative side in SMASH book art!  They feel more free and creative because they don't feel like they have to follow so many "rules"... in fact, you really don't have to follow rules either way, but SMASHing can still be a little liberating.  Take a peek at the calendar... every month Amy hosts our SMASH club, giving great techniques and ideas to get you started.  Not familiar with SMASH?  Check out this little video... and don't worry, we carry all the supplies right here in the store!

6.  Accept that every page will not be an astonishingly good, fantabulous work of art, the likes of which no other scrapbooker has ever seen.   Because they won't.  Sometimes you'll come up with something amazing, and sometimes you just won't.  You know what, though?  Your down-the road relatives are going to be interested in the pictures and the stories, as they should be.  They'll appreciate the work you did because you did it... that's another part of the story of the page.  Don't get hung up on perfection because, trust me, perfectionism only gets you so far, and it's usually a lot less far than non-perfectionists!  To that end, if you're in a jam give yourself a one hour time limit.  You'll be amazed at what you can come up with when there's a deadline!  Just stop thinking so much and DO.... you'll be happier for it!  You know what might happen if you're rushing to get your page done in an hour?  You might make a mistake.  What, you say?  A MISTAKE?  Surely this awesome article on combating stress did not just admit that if you follow it's advice you might just make a mistake.  Why, that would be awful!  Horrible!  Unforgivable, even!  Or would it?  Some things in history are famous simply because mistakes have been made.... consider:

Take comfort in the knowledge that, whatever your mistake, it will probably not be as big, as permanent, or as public as these mistakes!  But even if it is, mistakes are interesting.  Mistakes have character.  Mistakes can be another part of the story.... OR, mistakes can be incredible learning opportunities.  Half of the techniques I've learned or come up with have been some kind of effort to cover a mistake.... so give yourself a break!  Don't let the possibility of a mistake keep you from ever starting!

7. If you STILL can't get going, here are a few motivational quotes... pick your favorite and tape it up in your scrapping space!

So, let go!  Leave your worries behind and get scrappy!  I give you permission to get started, make glorious mistakes, and end up with fun and memorable pages.  You can thank me later :)

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