Going through my entire collection of scrapbook layouts a couple weeks back (read here for details) was quite an experience. Now that things have settled a bit from the initial craziness of pulling all the pages out I have moved on to actually putting them in yearly order (with a couple theme-based albums mixed in for good measure).
As you can see from the photos above I have made some progress: those albums are 2002-2006.
Not sure about whether this location will be their permanent home (especially since there will be more), but I like the idea of having some sitting there with a small basket of minibooks. I could rotate the large albums in and out seasonally. Lots of options.
And as you can see in the second photo, I still have more to do.
One of the things I am being mindful of as I put the pages into the albums is this: what's missing from my work?
I am taking this opportunity to take stock in what I have created so far and where I want to go next.
Whether you scrapbook once a month, weekly, or daily (or whatever your creative endeavor entails), taking a step back to look at the entirety of your work is so worth the effort to refocus and figure out what you are missing.
Ever take a look at a layout and think (or literally know) that there is something is missing? I definitely had many of those thoughts come over me as I was looking through my piles. How about taking that one step farther and seeing what is missing from the overall "body" of your work? Maybe the words are absent. Maybe it is a particular person or topic (maybe it is you). Maybe all your photos are up close or maybe they are all far away. Maybe what is missing is real content rather than just a bunch of pretty embellishments. Maybe it is a sense of experimentation and fun and playfulness.
This is what I know: I want to continue to strive for balance. Balance between in-depth stories + fun embellishments. Balance between close-up + far away photos. Balance between stories about Chris, stories about Simon, and stories about me. Balance between creative experimentation + pages that are purely words and photos.
I believe, as you may know, that there is no right or wrong way to document your life or the lives of people in your family. We will all be missing something in our pages according to someone. Every one of us should have our own way of scrapbooking – for some that will be detailed and precise while for others it will be more organic. The key is to not be afraid of finding your own way and embracing it and taking some time to evaluate yourself as you go along.
In looking back on my own work I can see (and remember) periods of time where I was being influenced by other designers and/or concepts and/or products, or where other things were happening in my life that seemed to have a direct effect on my personal creativity. I have found that sometimes finding your own way means trying out lots of different options along the road.
I can also see when I was doing a layout more for the sake of showcasing a product or technique rather than telling a story (a potential occupational hazard when your job and your hobby become one and the same). This is my personal reality and something that is on my mind especially now after looking through all those pages. I want the photos and the story to always be first on the list. I want the products and the fun stuff to enhance and support my stories rather than take center-stage.
Will I go back and adjust any of those layouts where I feel something is missing? Probably not. My first thought is that they are what they are. They represent a time and a space and piece of my life not only in what they show on the page but also in what they say to me without speaking. In so many ways they are the perfect reminders of what I don’t want to be doing – and direction for what I want to see on my future pages. Here's my current thinking: if I feel like the design is horrible but the story is there then I will leave it; if the story is completely missing and is not told elsewhere in the albums (such as a "looking back" sort of page) than I will probably do a new layout at some point that more completely tells the story.
Today I invite you to reflect a bit on what is missing from your layouts, from your creative life, from your photography, from your everyday life? Are the words missing from your scrapbook pages? Are the everyday photos missing? Is a particular person missing? Are the pages themselves missing because there is always something else that needs to be done before you can get to your creative time? After reflecting a bit (or literally going through and looking at all your pages – which I completely recommend to everyone), write down your observations. These are invaluable as you move forward.