If you are a scrapbooker, I am sure you have had the feeling before that you will never get caught up on your pictures… I know I have.  I have heard from a lot of people that they just quit scrapbooking because they were discouraged that they never got caught up…so they quit.  I can remember going through I time when I wondered myself if it was worth trying to capture all these memories because I was so far behind I would probably never be “current” in my albums.

Today I want to challenge you to think about this a little differently.

I want you to give yourself permission to not be caught up on your albums.

It’s ok.

Really, it is.

Let’s think about this for a minute…  if you are like me, you are constantly taking pictures. I probably take anywhere from 5-10 per week on various things that capture my fancy, or that my kids do that I think are cute and adorable at the time.  So, doing the math, 10 pictures/week, not counting holidays, vacations and birthdays, equals about 500 pictures a year.  Add in another 500-1000 for holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc. and you’re looking at around 2000 pictures.  (Heck, I think I know people who have done that on one vacation. But that is another topic for another day.)

Given these numbers – along with the fact that most of us have very busy lives and jobs, kids, husbands, and other commitments that prevent us from scrapbooking all day every day (no matter how much we’d like to do exactly that) And, given the fact that we are constantly taking more pictures, the reality of the fact is this:

We are NEVER going to be caught up.

There is always going to be another event to photograph, another something to record, more pictures coming down the line.

So, if we are never going to be caught up, we can’t be behind. (go with me here…)  We’re just working at our own pace and working on the pictures we need to be working on right now.

I think a lot of us, myself included, get caught in the trap of thinking we should have no pictures in the “backlog” and should be current on all our projects. I used to be, before I had kids (and that was a long time ago).  But one thing I realized recently was that working on an album or pictures from a specific time period just because they were the ones that were next in line or because the project was not current wasn’t always what I really wanted to be doing.  And when I’m working on something I don’t really want to work on, I’m not as creative.  It’s not as much fun.

Scrapbooking, for me, has always been as much about the journey as it has been about the finished product.  Actually, probably more about the process than the finished project.  It’s the act of creating the pages that is fun to me.

However, when I get caught up in the self-imposed stress of thinking I have to finish something or catch up on something, that creative process gets lost along the way. I become more focused on getting it done rather than just scrapbooking because I love to scrapbook.  And when I do that, I usually end up not wanting to scrapbook for a while.  It’s not fun anymore.  It becomes work. (and who needs more work?!?)

So, my challenge to you (and myself) is this:

For the month of November, only work on pictures or projects that inspire you. If you have a stack of pictures waiting to be scrapped (Halloween pictures, for example) but they are not something you are excited to work on, or don’t have an inspiration to work on, then just leave them alone.  Trust me, they will be there when you are ready.  Find something that does inspire you.  If you don’t have pictures, but you have a thought or idea that is percolating in your mind, work on that.  Try to bring it to fruition.

The key here is to follow your creative flow.  Work on things that get you excited and make you feel the desire to scrap. Don’t just do something because it’s next in line.

Are you game to give it a try?

I’ll be keeping you posted here on my progress.  As I mentioned last week, I have a lot of projects in the works right now.  Some of them I feel compelled to finish even though they are not giving me any creative “sparks” right now.  I’m going to suppress the urge to finish them just because I want to be finished – I’m going to let them sit and see where my inspiration takes me.

I have a feeling that we may all surprise ourselves.