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Getting Real : Thoughts On Creativity & Scrapbooking

It's definitely starting to feel a like spring here today. It's warming up, things are blooming, and I have that wonderful inclination to open all the windows to let the fresh air inside.

Among other things, the weather makes me want to clean out my garage. It also makes me want to rid myself of the excess once again (a continual battle that seems to hit a fevered pitch when the weather turns a bit warmer).

One of the concepts I have been thinking about lately is the concept of "getting real." It seems to work hand in hand with shedding excess - it's about adjusting expectations and clarifying and moving forward with less pressure, less fear, less of whatever it is we don't need in our lives.

For me, getting real right now is about setting reasonable expectations. Because scrapbooking is a big part of my job, I am working on figuring out how to get real and find that life/work balance. It is a continual quest as the two are inherently integrated in my life. Also on my mind is finding that balance between taking a risk and extending myself in other artistic directions and staying in my creative "safe space."

Getting real for me also means living with intention. It is an attitude and a way of looking at my everyday life and the choices I encounter from minute to minute.

I see getting real as a very positive thing.

Getting real is a process that often involves identification and some sort of action. It may be that you begin something or it may be that you end something - a behavior, a thought, an unhealthy process. It may also mean saying yes to a new opportunity or saying no to something that is not bringing anything positive to your life or your art.

Getting real is about giving yourself permission to change, making adjustments and moving forward toward a richer existence. It's about not wasting a moment in this precious life of ours. It goes so very fast.

Here's some additional thoughts related to getting real about your creative life (if you don't scrapbook just substitute that word with another word such as paint, draw, write, etc):

• Get real about why you scrapbook and the role it plays in your life. There's no right or wrong answer here, it is simply taking the time to think about scrapbooking's place in your life.

• Get real about what you think scrapbooking should be and what it actually is for you. There are no rules, no ways that it is supposed to be or should be. Embrace what it is for you or make some changes if you want it to be different.

• Get real about the time you have to scrapbook. Get real about how much you are spending on supplies. Get real about how many albums you really need to tell your stories.

• Get real about spending time on you. Get real about finding that balance between all the different things that are important in your life.

• Get real about your personal cycle of creativity. I know for me there are ups and downs and ins and outs. Riding the down wave is a part of the process.

• Get real about whatever it is you are holding on to way too tight. Get real about your expectations for yourself. Perfection. Competition. Want. Commitments.

• Get real about telling the story that has been waiting to be told for months or years or decades.

• Get real about wasting time that could be spent in more creative ways. Get real about procrastination and the negative effect it can have in your life.

• Get real about the amount of projects on your to-do lists.

• Get real about your potential as a creative person. Where do you want to take your creativity? What is your focus? Telling your stories? Imparting a sense of creative wonder in your children? Hanging out with your friends as you make stuff together? Having your work in a gallery?

This week take some time to generate your own get real list. What's on yours?

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64 thoughts

  1. Debbie Servantez says…
    03/08/2010

    Thanks Ali. My word this year is place, and it is partly about perfectionism. This is a huge one for me and for my kids...it is everywhere in our little corner of the world. Thanks also for directing me to Dr. Brene Brown...I've just been reading her blog a bit, and it is great!

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  2. abbey says…
    03/08/2010

    I vaguely remember this from before, but still so resonant and a very good time to check in again on real.

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  3. Maria Rodrigues Pereira says…
    03/08/2010

    Finding balance between family, leisure and scrapbooking has been something I have focused on lately. I can't sacrifice one for the other... So this post really hit home today. Thanks!!!
    Maria

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  4. Carole Hepburn says…
    03/08/2010

    This was the most enlightening read of my morning = I am trying to find balance in my life , which is my word of the year, but this weekend it all came in perspective - I work too much !! I need balance, I need balance , I need balance.....my full time work , my scrapbook store, family, creating for myself, creating for the store , adding a new person into my life, getting rid of clutter , organizing, cleaning -- where to find balance.......patience, looking forward not backward and a smile is how I have started !!

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  5. amy tangerine says…
    03/08/2010

    your get real list is amazing.
    thanks for always inspiring.

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  6. KellyB says…
    03/08/2010

    Perfect post for me since my word this year is REAL. I made not only a layout about it, but also made a sign for my scrapbook room/office that says BE REAL. It's a constant reminder to make sure that my expectations of myself & others are realistic.

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  7. Amelia Critchlow says…
    03/08/2010

    wow - just came across you via a tweet on twitter. love this and it's really interesting. And you mention the same thing that Danielle @ white hot truth just tweeted about too: work life, passion balance - haven't read that post yet tho!
    February was about getting real for me and finding the balance and not getting too exhausted by all I have to do in life. Having worked in a nursing home too, I was reminded just how precious and speedy life is, and it made me realise now is the time to go for what I really wish to do with gusto. I have just launched my online art e-course whilst being a practicing artist too. This is what makes my heart sing!
    I think getting real is so important, yet I often find myself toying with the notion of creating reality versus facing reality - an interesting one!
    Thanks for sharing. I will be back.
    Amelia.x
    (www.101birdtales.blogspot.com)

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  8. Amy Culp says…
    03/08/2010

    I am sobbing right now after reading this post! You hit head on what I have been feeling and this shook me to my very core. I will be printing this out and hanging it up where I can see it everyday. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such an incredible inspiration. You blessed me greatly today.

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  9. LM says…
    03/08/2010

    Getting real about how much I spend on supplies - ouch!
    Today's post is so meaningful to me as I made a decision to downsize recently. I'm giving up my craft room and returning to the corner of the bedroom where I first started out scrapping. At the same time I'm getting items priced for a garage sale and when I see the boxes and boxes of stuff I'm trying to get rid of it's sickening. Hooray to getting real! Your post also ties in with my word for 2010, which is awaken.

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  10. julie says…
    03/08/2010

    loved everything about this. great thoughts.

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  11. Vivi V says…
    03/08/2010

    This is very timely, as I am in the midst of "getting real" with myself -- again. Perfectionism and procrastination are big hurdles for me and they show up regularly. Your attitude toward the scrapbooking process and enthusiasm for telling the story inspires me everyday to jump those hurdles. THANK YOU!
    By the way, I am looking forward to participating with Week in the Life in April!

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  12. Laura B. ~BoxerBratsScraps~ says…
    03/08/2010

    Ali,
    This is so true. I am so struggling right now with "who I am" and "who do I really want to be". This includes my crafting and every part of my life.
    I have been the person who always wanted more. I wanted the newest, the best, or the "in" thing of the moment. It didn't matter what it was. I wanted it. I really don't like that about me. I am realizing I never was grateful for what I already had. I just wanted the "new" one. Oh mine is green, it now comes in pink. I have to have the pink one.
    I have so much product~ I will NEVER be able to use it all if I make a layout a day for the next 50 years. I will STILL have leftovers! I have so many beautiful papers that were too pretty to cut. I am sure you have heard it all before.
    It isn't just my scrap room. It is everywhere in the house. I have three closets of clothes that range in size from 28-30 Women's down to Size 3 Juniors. All mine! I am currently a size 6-8. I pray I will never again be a size 30 women's, but I have kept the clothes, just in case.
    It is now about excess. I want back to simplicity. I want organization, not stuff. I want a quiet peace in each room of my house. I want to use what I have and then buy more. I want to actually NEED to shop for supplies.
    I am giving it all away. You heard me right. I am embracing the fact that when our hands are open to give, our minds and bodies, and souls are open to receive. I can't "get" things when I am holding on so tightly to what I currently have.
    Thank you for inspiring me to do the "right thing". I need to simplify, to be grateful, to celebrate now, today. There is joy in the simple basic things in my life. From the mail on the counter, to the laundry to be folded, it is all part of my story. I want my story to be simple, happy and clean. I want to be free of clutter. I want to be open to life. I don't want to be holding on to things so tightly that I can't embrace the beauty in front of me. Most of all, I want to be open to new possibilities and experiences.
    Thanks, Ali. You opened my eyes today.

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  13. Tracey says…
    03/08/2010

    Very well said Ali. Getting real is very important and one of the reasons I stepped back and took a hiatus from scrapping after my daughter was born. Yes, telling her story is important, but so is living her story with her and being in the moment, not thinking what supplies do I need to buy to keep up with everyone else or what challenges do I need to enter to try and get noticed. I hated that the scrapping world turned into that kind of place!
    Scrapbooking is now for me personal and enjoyable and something I look forward to doing. I hope others will arrive in the same place, maybe they will thanks to your post today.

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  14. Lya Lin says…
    03/08/2010

    So well expressed feelings and wise words said. Your "get real" questions made me re-think about my scrapbook world. Where I was kind of LOST. Thank you for the wake-up call through your thoughts and idea sharing. I'm so glad we all scrapbookers and crafters have you in here.
    Happy Week!
    Lya

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  15. Denise Laborde says…
    03/08/2010

    Everything rings so true.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Danielle says…
    03/08/2010

    Great post! You are the Wayne Dyer of scrapbooking!! When I read:
    "Getting real for me also means living with intention. It is an attitude and a way of looking at my everyday life and the choices I encounter from minute to minute."
    It seemed like you were channeling Wayne Dyer's "Power of Intention"

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Ali Edwards says…
    03/08/2010

    I am definitely a fan of Wayne Dyer.

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  18. Tracey H says…
    03/08/2010

    Well this post certainly has made me sit up and take a step back. I have been working in the papercraft industry for nearly 9 years now and I am at that point where do I want to move forward and grow my career or get out altogether and just create for personal satisfaction. This question has been on my mind for several months now the decision is not becoming any clearer, however, this post, your post has made me stop and realise that playing with this decision is not helping situation. So I intend to spend this week GETTING REAL. thanks for the kick up the backside
    Tracey xx

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  19. Kari D says…
    03/08/2010

    What a perfect post today. Thanks for your thoughtful way of reminding us that we need to lead a purposeful life....whatever that purpose may be. I have copied this post and put it in my idea book, the place where I turn when I need to be inspired. Merci Beaucoup!

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  20. Shawn Wenrich says…
    03/08/2010

    Great post Ali, Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Karin Podolski says…
    03/08/2010

    Ali, great post. Have you ever read the book, The Velveteen Principles? It is a quick read that expands on the great children's book. It is all about becoming real, much like the little rabbit in Margery Williams' story. Great read. Good luck in your journey. KP

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  22. Mary Ann says…
    03/08/2010

    This was exactly the inspiration and reminder that I needed to refocus my scrapbooking. Thank you.

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  23. cwittyk says…
    03/08/2010

    Loved this post before, love it today, I miss your personal stories and philosophical thoughts on being a mom, being a worker, being a woman. You have great insight that helps us all - look at the way you touched and inspired so many of us, your readers. Your gift is your scrapbooking and art, but also, your mind. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

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  24. Judith says…
    03/08/2010

    Thanks for this post today Ali. I think I spend so much time looking for ideas and inspiration for the perfect page I don't actually scrap anything! Time for more action on these projects I want to complete and less time organising and planning!

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  25. Staci says…
    03/08/2010

    These are inspiring words that leave me with one thought, where do I begin?

    Reply 0 Replies

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