Renew Your Love For Unfinished Projects

UnfinishedProjects

Okay, let’s see a show of hands.

How many of you out there have a December Daily album that you have not yet finished? Now, I’m not necessarily talking about the December just past. Oh, no. Come on, be honest… did you finish that one from 2014 (or maybe 2013 or earlier)? How about that vacation album that you started with such gusto, and then things just fizzled out? Don’t even get me started on Project Life (I swear, one year I will finish that!). How many of us have these sorts of unfinished projects laying around?

Earlier this month, Chloe shared some great tips for staying up-to-date with long-term projects, such as those I’ve listed above. Today, however, let’s talk about some ideas to actually renew and recharge those creative juices and help you revisit a project that’s laid dormant for a while (you know, the one that you always say you’ll get around to finishing … eventually!).

For myself, with regard to the examples that I just mentioned above — I have one version or another of all of them sitting on my external hard drive. My December Daily album from (wow!) 2013 is the most complete… with all pages completed through December 26. Then nothing. Sure, I have photos, but they have never actually made it onto a finished page.

Here’s an example of one of my unfinished projects: a vacation album from a trip to Australia…

WorkinProgress

As you can see, I have a bunch of partially-completed pages (there’s more than this, too!), and I had made a really good start with putting pictures into templates (shown here using Simply Tiffany Studio’s “Window Series” templates). But there’s nothing else. No journaling (the words on the files are just the default “you can journal here” text). No embellishments. In fact, some windows are left blank where, I assume, I was planning to put journal cards. This vacation was from late summer 2014, so who knows where my head was at that time!

The thought of suddenly focusing on 10, 15 or even 20 or more pages as a spur-of-the-moment project to complete can be quite overwhelming. In fact, this may be the very reason that those larger single-event projects don’t get finished. Our intentions are great … at the start. Then… well, life happens. Burn-out. Loss of enthusiasm.

We can do this, though! Get that initial love for your project back with these quick and easy tips:

  • Don’t panic! No, seriously, relax! As an organized, project-oriented list-maker (I even have to-do lists for weekend household chores!), I can often slip into a situation of putting too much pressure on myself to finish what I’ve started. Do you? Relax. A finished project is awesome, but it doesn’t have to be completed in one sitting or over one weekend. Remember: You should enjoy the process of recording your family memories, not feel panicked or stressed out by it!
  • If an album is your end goal, keep the “formula” for your pages similar. Not only does this lessen your stress level (because there’s less to think about from page to page), but it also adds some cohesiveness to your pages. In my vacation album, for example, I opted for templates, sticking to one designer, and all pages have a kraft paper foundation. It’s the “keep it simple” methodology that Chloe mentioned in her blog post earlier in January.
  • Ask family members for their favorite memory! If you’re revisiting a project that’s several years old, ask those who were present for their input on what they remember about the event. Think of this as a mini-brainstorming session. Friends and family members might remember events a little differently from you — and their memory might trigger something for you, as well.
  • Following on from that last thought, as you look back on not-so-recent events, use this as an opportunity to really look at the photos you’d like to include in your album. You might have taken 700 or 800 (or more!) photos during a long-weekend trip to the beach, but let’s be honest here: how many pictures of sand and the beach do you really need? That previous need to scrap everything in sight from a vacation or event can now be tempered with a little restraint as you focus on those photos that really evoke the mood or memories you want to capture.

How do these tips work, in practice?

Above, I shared nine incomplete pages from my Australian vacation album, but there were more stored on my hard drive — a lot more! The original goal was to have two or three pages for each mini-event from the trip. But where to start? My foundation was set, so that was a big help. However, I deployed the “ask family members” tip and talked to my son, asking what he remembered the most from our vacation. I let him scan through the photos and when he came upon a few from a day we spent in Sydney, well, I couldn’t shut him up! He recounted a ferry ride on the harbour and the panic on his father’s face due to the really bad weather and high seas. Ah ha! I now had my starting point to getting this project nearer to completion: tackle the page that had photos from the ferry ride. Did it work? It sure did – take a look! In a few hours in one evening, I got three pages from partially-completed to ta-done!

Sydney2

sydney3

Sydney1

Credits: Window series templates by Tiffany Tillman; That Magic Moment by La Belle Vie Designs;
Vacation Magic, Walt’s Park, Dreams Come True – Word Art, and 2014 Vacation by Scotty Girl.

 

So there you have it. Those long-time projects that have been collecting dust can have life breathed back into them. Why not give it a try? Renew your love for that unfinished project by creating a page (or two) to get you motivated to move closer towards completion. Join us over in the Drawing Board: Challenges forum and tackle this week’s challenge & share your pages!

 


Kat About the Author  Kat Hansen is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. A Director of Human Resources by day, she loves the opportunity to spend a few hours each day being creative. Vacation memories feature pretty heavily in Kat’s scrapbooking pages, as do her son and “daughter” (of the four-legged furry kind). Kat has quite the sense of humor (she “blames” her father for this), which she incorporates into her journaling and memory-keeping.

Renew Your Love (and Motivation) for Long-Term Projects

Renew Your Love (and Motivation) for Long-Term Projects

We scrappers usually love long term projects. They bring this comforting feeling that come with routine and habits, without mentioning the joy of recording those memories… but they can also be challenging at times!

These sorts of projects come in all shapes and forms:

  • Everyday/Photogaphy-Centered Projects: pocket-scrapping (Project Life); Project 365 (P365; one photo a day); Project 52 (P52; one photo a week); Project 12 (P12; one photo a month). For example, here’s a look at my last layout from my P365 project in 2015:

  • Themed Projects: All About Me (AAM; one page a week or month about yourself… with the mandatory selfie, of course!); “letter to my kid(s)” (or any other loved one); a year of _____ (fill in the blank; it could be about a hobby, about your pet, or about anything that you’re passionate about!); monthly resolutions-check up layouts; words of the month throughout the year, etc. This year, for instance, I plan to do such a page every month (in addition to my P365-ish) that contains a look at what happened, how I felt, how I progressed on my goals / resolutions, new things I learned, things that worked or didn’t work, etc. I think this will make for a great album! I haven’t started yet, but I found this gorgeous page by TDP creative team member Sabrina, which I found to be totally inspiring:

  • Technique-Centered Projects: these would be about one technique or scrapping style, like Art Journaling layouts, ATCs, journaling-focused layouts, trying a new technique every month or week, hybrid projects, etc.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably started and stopped those projects many times over the years. For instance, you might have started an annual album — but now you have an unfinished pocket-style scrapbook project that is making you feel guilty. Well, first of all, please stop feeling guilty… right now! Even if you only have one page done, it’s one more page than nothing. It is still a documented memory! Put it in your book. And rather than focusing on the memories you “missed,” focus instead on the ones you did record. That is already amazing — and there’s no such thing as “failing” in memory-keeping!

I’ve completed everyday-type projects every year since 2011, and here are some tips that have helped me get through each of them:

  1. Knowing WHY I am doing the projects. When I’m clear about my motivations, it’s easier to keep going even when I am busy, when I lose my scrapping mojo, when I feel like my life is boring and not scrap-worthy. I’ve often scrapped those motivations and/or thoughts about the project, and used those as the first page in my photo book. It’s a fun way to make an intro to the album!
  2. Keeping things simple. The first 2 years, I used a template I created with a spot for the daily photo and some journaling, plus a journaling spot for extra info. That way, the planning and design was all done and I simply had to switch my photos from horizontal to vertical when needed… clip my papers, add a few elements, add my journaling… and I was done. I’ve since switched to pocket scrapping, and I’ve used actions (more on that later) to create personalized templates for each page that fit my photos perfectly. I also simplify things by using one kit or collection for the entire month… and the same fonts throughout the whole project (one for journaling, and one for the dates on my photos, and that’s it!). This not only helps me scrap faster (as I don’t have as many creative decisions to make), but it also brings some unity throughout my whole album when I get it printed.
  3. Trying to scrap regularly. It’s much easier to go through one or two pages at a time, rather than catch up and finish 5 months in a row. If you want to use your “big girl camera,” keep it as easy to grab as you can (just make sure little hands can’t grab it too easily! Gaaaah!). You’re way more likely to use it if it’s right next to you, than if you have to search for it or go grab it from somewhere far from where the action is happening.
  4. Automating things as much as possible. Technology is fantastic… let it help you! I’ve created actions in Photoshop to help me scrap my pages as quickly as possible. I originally started with a commercial use pocket-templates maker, and eventually tweaked it so that it not only creates the photo spots but also the double page spread, the background just like I like it, etc. I have another action to save the JPG and the web versions of both the double-spread and each page individually. Same goes for journaling: I use an app to record my journaling, and I’ve set up reminders every evening. When I forget to do it at night, I go through my social media accounts and my calendar to help me remember what happened (I have the worst memory ever!). I call my smartphone my second brain for a good reason: it’s an amazing tool to help me remember to take a photo, write down a few sentences about what happened that day, even record video (as I explained in a previous post here on the blog). Set up processes to upload your photos regularly, edit and rename them as you upload them, back them up (it goes without saying, right?), etc. Anything that helps you go faster through repetitive tasks is a great help!
  5. Let go of perfection and the guilt that comes with it. There is no such thing as a scrapping police! I used to call my projects “P365-ish” …because I do miss days here and there! If I can, I quickly change the date on my camera (that way the metadata shows the previous date too!) and take a picture for the day(s) I missed. And if I can’t, then so be it! No big deal! I’ve started many P365 projects over the years, taking my daily picture religiously for… 2 months, and I finally switched to a pocket-style project because I stopped taking daily photos. Again, no big deal. I’m getting memories recorded either way, right? I’ve had 2-page spreads with tons of photos for one week (especially for Christmas when a lot is going on), and other times I just have one page with only 2 photos for a 2 week period. I’m fine with it. I usually take photos with my DSLR, but I’m definitely OK with phone photos, too! The most important thing is to enjoy the project, both while doing it and when it’s completed.
  6. Don’t forget to print your pages! This is incredibly rewarding and I love to go through my books from the previous years. I usually wait to create them until there’s a sale because I love a great deal (who doesn’t, right?). Sometimes I buy a credit and use the deadline as a motivation to finish my pages (That’s what I did with my 2014 PL: I finished it in May 2015 since I had a credit for a book that I refused to lose! I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be printed yet if it weren’t for the credit! LOL)

I hope those tips will help you enjoy one (or many!) long term project in 2016.

If you’re feeling inspired now… please head over to the forum where there’s a challenge to go along with today’s post!

 


Chloé

About the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, and is a digiscrapper “by night” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and fur-babies in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown.