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My 2021 Documenting Plans + Other Updates

I'm totally a fan of the beginning of the year. I've always appreciated the structure of beginnings + endings and I love the calendar based rhythms of our culture and find comfort in knowing that we get to begin again in one way or another each January.

Today I want to share with you my own personal list of memory keeping projects I plan to embark on this year and some thoughts/details on a personal intention + change for 2021.

2021 MEMORY KEEPING PROJECTS

Here's a look at the projects I'll be participating in + how I plan to document my/our story during 2021: 

  • Story Kits // Each month I tell 3-4 stories using the Story Kit™ products + theme as the jumping off point. These projects, along with the process videos that show how my pages are created, are shared in the Story Classroom as a benefit to subscribers. You can view the upcoming themes for this year here. If you are interested in what this class content looks like you can check out the completely free classroom we have opened up to give everyone a chance to see what comes with the education portion of the subscription each month (we also added the digital kit to that classroom). 
  • One Little Word® // This is a 12-month personal development project that I start each January and end each December to document my experience with my word. 
  • Day In The Life // In 2021 I'll be doing two Day In The Life™ documenting days. We will release a collection of new products to support this project later this month and we will announce the specific days after the products are released. We generally do one community documenting day in the first half of the year and another in the second half of the year.  
  • Pieces Of Us // Last year I lead a week long self-portrait documenting adventure and we are planning to share more about 2021 plans for this project in the coming months. 
  • Week In The Life // Each year I select one week (usually in May) and document how we are living for seven days in a row. These albums + the stories they hold are absolutely some of my most favorites as they go deeper into the daily rhythms of life at a certain point in time. 
  • December Daily® // Each December I embark on a documenting project where I tell one story per day December 1-25. We release a new collection for this project each year in early September. 
  • Craft The Story™ You Tube Series // This isn't technically a documenting project but it is something I'm excited about and looking forward to embarking on this year. Starting today I plan to share a weekly video on YouTube that has something to do with memory keeping. Topics I plan to focus on over the course of the year include: scrapbook page how-tos, journaling/storytelling ideas, organizing tips, etc. If there's a specific topic you'd like to see me cover let me know! I'm really excited about creating content for this new series.

For 2021 I'm not planning to include a yearly  Project Life® style of documenting in my personal memory keeping plans. Rather than taking a specific monthly or weekly approach I want to take a more intentional story-focused approach + free myself up to re-imagine my own personal documenting process. I have no idea what exactly this will look like and I wholeheartedly welcome that shift. My 2020 PL monthly documenting fell apart half way through the year for a number of reasons and it feels like the right time for me to take a break (I might go back in + fill in those months at some point but am planning to just set it aside for right now). If you are looking for specific Project Life® pocket page inspiration you can check out my archives from the last 10 years of that style of documenting

I'll also be continuing to work on Just Write prompts and we will have a Travel Collection (and workshop) released in the summer. 

Consider yourself invited to join me on any or all of the above documenting adventures. 

LESS SOCIAL MEDIA + MORE CREATING 

This year I will be taking a significant step back from the amount of time I spend on social media - most specifically on Facebook

My personal, heart-centered goal for 2021 is simple: I want to consume less + create more. 

I want to inhabit my entire life more intentionally (both personally + professionally) + I have zero plans to stop memory keeping. 

Over the last few years I've tried a variety of techniques to reduce the amount of time I spend on social media. I've taken breaks. I've removed apps. I've set up schedules that allow for certain periods of time spent on this or that app on my phone/computer. I do okay for awhile and then one way or another I end up back to the almost unconscious habit of scrolling + consuming + having my attention stretched in way too many directions. 

I am craving a different way of existing: one that goes deeper instead of wider and one that gives me both time + space to focus on creating vs. consuming. 

As many of you know I've been sharing online in one form or another ever since I first started scrapbooking back in 2002 when Simon was less than a year old. I was sharing the ups and downs of my story before social media even existed. I don't have any intention of stopping the sharing of my stories, I simply want to reclaim the way I'm going about it. 

I want to be writing my own story in my own way

To help make this happen  Lisa Varshine is officially joining our AED Inc team. Among other responsibilities, Lisa will take on the role of Social Media Community Manager in our Facebook groups and on Instagram. Kelly Ishmael will be continuing to operate + create amazing content for our AED Inc instagram account, act as our Creative Team Manager, and she will also be taking on a new role next year as our Community Education Manager. In that role she will be assisting community members to bring new classes to our AED education platform (more on that to come later in the year). Katie Jaeger is still working right alongside me + is the boss of many pieces of our business puzzle. 

What does this mean for you? 

  • First and foremost you will see less of me on Facebook and in the AED FB Groups. In her role as Social Media Community Manager Lisa Varshine is super excited about creating fun new ways to engage + share ideas within the Craft The Story Group. I will still be active and involved in our OLW Facebook Group for those of you who are participating in the 2021 workshop.
  • We will continue to request that you direct Customer Service questions to our Customer Service team who are there to help you when you need it. 
  • Our team will continue to provide information + inspiration + clear communication about our projects + products via the AED Inc Instagram account and within the Craft The Story Facebook Group (rather than coming from me in the FB group these posts will now come from our Admin AED Inc account). 
  • We are committed to continuing to encourage + inspire you in your memory keeping adventures via projects + products that support your storytelling adventures. 
  • I plan to continue sharing here on my blog, on YouTube (you can read more about my plans for that below), in our classrooms, and via my personal Instagram account from time to time. 

This is going to be one of my biggest personal shifts in 2021 and it is certainly the thing that is most on my heart right now. 

Thank you for understanding that my hope in stepping back from social media is to create space for me to create more in a way that feels most authentic to me. I greatly appreciate your support as I get more intentional about how I consume + create in 2021. 

Deeper. That's where I want to go.

As always, thank you for being a part of this memory keeping community. I so look forward to all the stories we will tell together in 2021.

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59 thoughts

  1. Stivel says…
    01/08/2021

    Thank you for sharing your approach. <3
    Does Just Write project stay in your personal plans or you will delegate or end it?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      No plans to stop - it's one of my favorite things I do! I debated whether to include that in this list because I don't/haven't made that into a "project" (nuances in my own head most likely).

  2. AnnieCarignan says…
    01/08/2021

    That is awesome Ali ! I have been thinking about removing Facebook from my life also and spending less time scrolling. I feel like that is all I do and it is so much time consuming. Can you let us know how that is going from time to time ? Looking forward to your Friday videos :)

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      Yes - I'd be happy to share how it's going! Thanks for the support!

    2. cbrook007 says…
      01/17/2021

      I don't have Facebook anymore, going on 3 + years and I can tell you, it was the best, most refreshing decision ever. I DO NOT miss it at all. Not being a part of it made me realize how toxic it can be (not always) and also a taker of time.

  3. mary_charlee says…
    01/08/2021

    Love hearing this! I too have been thinking of less social media and being more focused (focus is my olw) off my phone/computer. Very excited for your YouTube! I would love to hear more about your organization, products you love and use, and how you work with the kids being home with you and sometimes in your space (my craft space has become the dining table, ha ha). I would also love to hear how you motivate yourself when not "feeling it." Do you use another outlet (writing, painting, etc) to rejuvenate your creativity? Just love hearing how people do this.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      Thanks for those topic suggestions!

  4. cagoodm says…
    01/08/2021

    Hi Ali! Will the Story Kit class continue to have a pocket page layout each month?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      Yep!

  5. Sanran says…
    01/08/2021

    So happy to hear that you are stepping away from Facebook! Love everything that you do on this site.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. dsmarangoni says…
    01/08/2021

    Go Ali Go! That phrase kept coming to me as I am watching this video! My OLW this year is Wild and I am defining it for me as not always choosing the same thing/stepping out of my comfort zone and I feel like watching you change things up is helping me to feel like I can do it too! As always thanks for the motivation and sharing your heart! Super excited for your youtube series!

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Mel_12 says…
      01/08/2021

      Lol! Great minds eh?

    2. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      Thank you so much! A lot of what's on my mind lately is exactly that - we simply don't have to do things how we've always done them.

  7. Mel_12 says…
    01/08/2021

    Thanks for sharing your plans. I applaud and support you. Facebook has never been my favourite - info overload!
    I look forward to seeing the weekly videos and your more story focussed approach.

    Go Ali go!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      Thank you!

  8. virginiegoujon says…
    01/08/2021

    Thank you for sharing your approach. Love hearing this “I want to be writing my story in my own way” and “I want to consume less + create more”.
    Go Ali go!!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      Thanks Virginie!

  9. DebHeslinga says…
    01/08/2021

    Thanks for your overview and honest approach. As you were reviewing your projects and release dates something occurred to me that I would like you and your team to consider. You mentioned that the December Daily release is in the fall(months before December) however the new year release of OLW is usually less than a month before the new year. I have done OLW for 4 years and love the program however I am very frustrated by getting materials late. I am in Canada, yes that is international but materials aren’t arriving often for 4-6 weeks. Last year I was travelling in the US and tried to order at an American address but that order was lost. I realize you can’t control that delivery service but you can provide adequate time for items to be delivered. I know we can print digitally but when you order the materials you would like them to start the project. If you wish to keep and grow your international customers please consider having OLW available by early November so that they can be purchased and delivered before January. Thank you

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      01/08/2021

      Thanks for the feedback! Our team will definitely talk about this (in previous years we have been able to release it earlier - this year was much, much different obviously).

    2. Laurie_Anne says…
      01/08/2021

      I feel the same! It’s hard to keep track of where orders are? Not the fault of your company, Ali, but my stuff doesn’t come regularly at all! Hard to psych up for a project, only to get the materials over a month late. Maybe nothing you can do, Ali. I would still choose to live here!

  10. my3js says…
    01/08/2021

    I gave up ALL social media a few years ago and I have never looked back. I realized that my phone was in my face instead of engaging with my pre-teen daughters. I didn't want to have them remember me paying more attention to a phone than to them. I had been wasting a lot of time on FB, and I now know that I have better things I could be wasting time on! I feel much less anxiety now as well.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. mtercha says…
    01/08/2021

    I've had my ups and downs with creating (currently on a down turn), though its always on my mind. I've created some of my favorite projects that my family still look at today, that are specific to you. I'm excited for your you tube plans. It'll be fun and inspiring and just what this girl here needs. Thanks! Michelle t

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Untiedt says…
    01/08/2021

    I was sad to hear that you will not be doing project life in 2021. I have done it for many years and I was planning to do it in 2021. One of the things I love about you is that you are Authentic to yourself. You have a brave heart to mix things up. The more you talked about why you are not doing it, I started to question myself, is PL really what I want in 2021. I'm resistant to change but the more I think about it, the more I feel like I need a change too. If I decide to go back to PL I can always do that. Thanks for making me pause, listen, and take action.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. ScrappinMyHeartOut says…
    01/08/2021

    I love your goals - mine are kinda similar. My plan is to stick to strictly my social media groups - where I get so much encouragement, motivation, inspiration and have fun - Craft the Story, OLW 2021, Dec Daily, a weight loss group, a group related to a health condition I have, a Disney group called MouseJunkies and my high school group, I plan to start at Lent - for now I seem to still need the contact with my FB friends since I’m home, not working and only going to the grocery store til COVID subsides. I’m a little nervous about how well I’ll stick to this plan and look forward to hearing how you make it work!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Jeannew says…
    01/08/2021

    Thank you for sharing. I also have a goal of less scrolling. It’s hard though because I feel I miss out on your company products and news if I’m not in the Craft the Story FB group. There is such a catch 22 with social media. You can’t get more involved with CTs and design unless you put yourself out there and then you have to be on social a lot. It’s definitely a balance. I look forward to seeing what Lisa and your CT have planned. And love the idea of weekly YouTube videos from you! Thnaks, as always, for all your inspiration.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. nicoleseitler says…
    01/08/2021

    Yay! Exciting news, all of it. Glad you are doing what you need to do. Things need to change every now and again! I'm looking forward to these upcoming things, especially the Friday videos. Thanks for all the time that you put into this community. <3

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. AnnetteH says…
    01/08/2021

    Hooray for following your heart! So excited for you Ali and for your team! I've personally been trying to decide which projects to keep and let go. Looking back through what has worked and what has not...thinking about what I'm excited to do and go with that. Thanks for the reminders and inspiration. Giving ourselves permission to do whatever our brings joy to us personally is what this is all about. Much love to you and your team and excited to follow along your journey!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. michelezh says…
    01/08/2021

    I love this shift in the way you are approaching memory keeping this year. Also. congrats to Lisa for her new role! That's super exciting. I am so happy for you Ali. I can sense your enthusiasm and excitement and that just makes me all the more excited to come along this journey with you. I've been loving your process videos and going down a rabbit hole of watching some of the past ones and really looking forward to your Friday video series. Cheers to more creating and storytelling:)

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Laurie_Anne says…
    01/08/2021

    I am so JAZZED! It sounds like the way you want to try memory keeping for 2021 is just what my plans are! My fear is that it might be hard to find stories on a regular basis ... does it matter? Maybe, maybe not. I think tho, that it could be very rich, personal and fluffy or profound—reflecting both is good balance! Yea! Every Friday too! I hope to have a productive year! Thanks again, Ali for giving so much!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. stkong7 says…
    01/08/2021

    I have been feeling the same way about stepping back from the PL format and do something that's not so rigid. The projects you are planning seems fun, and I look forward to participating. Can't wait to see what my documentation looks like by the end of the year. Thank you so much.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. jackieajager says…
    01/09/2021

    Thanks for sharing, Ali. I very much understand your thoughts on this. I personally have deleted FB as it was just a time waste of scrolling and not really living my life- just consuming. It has been so freeing to delete fb! However, I sincerely wish there was a NON-facebook platform for scrapbookers to gather on. I miss all the creative activity and inspiration I found on the AE Facebook groups. Hopefully someday something outside of Facebook will exist for scrapbookers. :) Anyways, thanks for sharing your updates, Ali!

    Reply 3 Replies
    1. Kegger says…
      01/09/2021

      I agree - I don't have facebook or instagram and it feels rather isolating to be a scrapbooker without these places to discuss the hobby!

    2. Joelaw says…
      01/09/2021

      Same! I recently deleted Facebook and am no longer using Instagram (but didn’t delete so I could refer to my old posts for scrapbooking). Neither was working for what I had intended to use them for and I am a happier soul for not getting wrapped up in what’s happening on those sites! I would love to see more people in the scrapbook community return YouTube videos and blog posts...something I could follow where I KNOW I’m only seeing the kind of content I’m interested in.

    3. tksbaskets says…
      01/17/2021

      One of my favorite creators has a platform called ‘The Mighty Network’ it’s awesome - no adds, no drama, just crafting. I think it’s free to me (I’m a Patreon supporter but so t think that’s part of it). I wonder if Ali would consider that for her community groups?

  21. Kegger says…
    01/09/2021

    Hey Ali - Sounds like a reasonable way to move forward with all the projects that can become overwhelming! I noticed 'Art of Noticing' wasn't on this list - Does that mean there'll be no more products on this line? :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Joelaw says…
    01/09/2021

    I’m excited!! I’ve never done project life and, instead, have documented in a variety of ways (TN, mini, tag books, handmade books, 6x8, 3x8, etc). I recently returned to traditional scrapbooking and am enjoying the larger (12x12) format. Looking forward to seeing what you do!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. LoriAnde says…
    01/09/2021

    I LOVE this! And I say Go Ali Go. I am in your Just write class and it is right up there with December Daily as a favorite. SO excited to hear you say you are leaving FB behind. We need to grow and develop in our own voices not the directed and prescribed voices of social media like FB (which I left permanently a couple years ago). Would love to see our culture far less involved with social media and more connected to what it sounds like you are describing for your documenting this year. You have a beautiful gift for writing. All the very best to your 2021.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. arlyna says…
    01/09/2021

    Thank you for this post! After reading this, it sort of cemented what I had been thinking about Project Life taking a load off my mind. Instead I want to continue with the story prompts and other projects like Day in the Life, December Daily and maybe Week in the Life again. Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. kellyannlibby says…
    01/09/2021

    I appreciate the amount of time and effort it must have been to express your vision in writing for you and your team. I'm excited for the new year!

    Reply 0 Replies

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