Last week I receive a piece of reader email that I know could have been written by many of you. You’re stuck, for one reason or another (or many). Here is what reader Tammy had to say:
I just read your article, The Low Inspiration Diet, and I actually had already starting doing that. I only discovered Pinterest about a month ago and contrary to what they say to do, I pin everything I love. I’m also helping to plan my daughter’s outdoor wedding for July 2013 and though it’s still over a year to go I have to start getting ideas now to make it special for her. More than anything else I would love to sit and do scrap pages/books and make cards all day long. Unfortunately I have to work and have very little “me” time.
I have two main problems besides not having time.
I am not one of those creative kinds that can throw something together and love it. I am an analytical person trying to be creative. I critique every step of doing a project. I fight with myself to not worry if I have a 8×10 framed print on the wall that I have to match it with another of the same size. It’s never good enough. I see the edge that isn’t straight, or the embellishment that is a little crooked. I am getting better but I still critique so much that I am spending too much time and not getting done, which in turn discourages me so that I never finish.
Which leads me to my next problem of all these projects that I haven’t finished and a million more I want to do. Your article has helped me some, like I need to just stay away from Pinterest and the Internet for a while! There is too much out there that I love and want to do. I need serious help in starting and finishing a project.
Part of the problem [is that I have trouble getting organized]. My husband made me a wonderful craft room. It is a huge 20×20 room upstairs which doesn’t have all the storage in it yet but I have found ways for now of storing my supplies in pretty boxes, labeled. I have a couple tables, desk, filing cabinet but I have so much that I can’t really get as organized as I want to be. I want to be able to have everything I need right there. Within a couple weeks we should have everything painted and furniture moved in. At that time I would like to be able to re-organize and make it more conducive to do my scrapping. Do you have some suggestion on the organization? What should be readily available? How [do I] best to sort the materials?
I know as far as the time issue, I just have to make more time for myself. I think having and wanting to do so much prevents me from wanting to make that time. I’d rather sit back and complain that I don’t have any. Hey, I hope you are part shrink! Sounds like that is what I need! I appreciate any help. I’m sure I’m not alone is some of these issues.
Our team leader and contributing writer Jean Manis shares some of this reader’s challenges, so I asked her to offer Tammy some thoughts. I totally concur with Jean’s recommendations to use an analytical nature to your advantage to create systems and routines that help you finish pages!
As a “recovering” perfectionist, who is also analytical, I can relate to your critique of your in-process projects. For years, the fear of making a mistake held me back from starting scrapbook pages and a countless other projects. I hear the two problems related to your creative efforts as a) being too caught up in the details to finish the projects and b) having a long list of projects you’ve either started and not finished or those you’ve never started.
Let’s take a step back and ask, what goals do you have for your scrapbooking and cardmaking?
When you look at the bigger picture, perhaps some of the other pieces will fall into place. Is your goal to create a page or card you’re 100% pleased with, to create an album that will serve a goal of memory keeping for you and your family, or to become competent with specific techniques? It’s difficult for anyone, and especially someone battling perfectionism, to accomplish all three of those goals in any one layout or card.
By knowing what you want from your crafting and being as specific as possible with your next steps, you will eventually become a more confident crafter who looks forward to new projects.
It’s also important to remember that the finished projects you see online are just that–“finished.” What you don’t see are the mistakes that those crafters may have made in the process. Perfectionist, non-perfectionist, analytical or creative, none of us are “perfect.” In fact, some of the greatest discoveries have been made with mistakes. We have to be who we are and try not to get caught up with comparing ourselves to people’s whose work we may see online.
Between your job and the planning for your daughter’s upcoming wedding, you have a lot of balls to juggle. I suggest making a list of a few layouts or cards you’d like to make in the next several months, being as specific as possible with your goals in order to combat overwhelm. Once you’ve accomplished those, you’ll be encouraged to start and finish more. This is where your analytical skills can shine.
Let’s say you want to create a layout about a specific memory from your daughter’s childhood. With that goal in mind, begin to list the steps needed such as: gather photos, write journaling, brainstorm color and embellishment scheme, etc. Each day you could work on one aspect of the layout so that by the time you’re working on the assembly, all the pieces are ready. Having a “road map” makes the process all that much easier.
The second half of your letter talked about the organization of your craft room. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numerous storage choices on the market. Before you invest a lot of money on storage products, I suggest grouping your supplies by categories such as embellishments, alphabets, cardstock, ribbon, tools, etc. Within those groupings, you may want to have sub-categories, such as cardstock organized by solid and patterned.
Editor’s Note: We’ve got a free scrapbook organizing training coming up on March 27.
For me, the tools are the items that I have “at hand.” I don’t have a dedicated craft space. I do my paper crafting at my kitchen/dining room table. I keep scissors, mat knife, ruler, cutting mat, and adhesives in a drawer unit that’s one step away from the end of the table. I could just as easily keep the loose tools in a caddy/tote unit that I put out on the table as I crafted, but for now the drawer unit works.
As you begin to craft more regularly in your space, you’ll tweak the organization you initially set up. I’ve found that I have to give something a try and then make changes as I use it.
Now it’s your turn. What advice do you have for Tammy?