Overcoming Insecurity in Scrapbooking

I’ve never told this story before. I thought a guest post for Kristin might be the perfect time to share a part of my real life that I don’t talk about much, one that might come as a surprise to those who know me as the blogger behind Simple Scrapper.

Before I get to the juicy parts, let me back up here. (insert beeping noise) I grew up with glue under my fingernails and glitter in my hair. I’ve always been that artsy craftsy type who could never walk past a blank sheet of paper without creating something.

Going through my teen years in the ‘90s, I was very much aware there was this cult (let’s be honest here) of women who gathered together in basements and churches and little corner shops to do all these strange things with photos and paper. I didn’t get it.

By the new millennium, I had determined one needed things to document to really feel the calling (let’s be honest here) to be a scrapper. And I had that. However, a frustrating and failed attempt at scrapbooking a 2004 vacation left me feeling slow and inadequate.

It wasn’t until a string of massive life changes in 2008 (moving, changing jobs, getting married) and one single email a few weeks ago that brought me to a place of awaiting both the new releases at Sweet Shoppe Designs and Studio Calico.

How to combat perfectionism and feel like an extraordinary scrapper

Let me start with the big reveal. I didn’t paper scrap between 2004 and 2010 and it was because I was afraid.

I was afraid I couldn’t cut a straight line even with a Fiskars trimmer (thankfully wonky lines are trendy). I was afraid I could not layer embellishments with magazine-worthy flair (a majority of scrappers cannot). I was afraid that writing about scrapbooking meant that I would be expected to be an expert (I am not, I learn from you all every day). I let fear get in the way of telling my stories and I am slowly coming out of that.

Not long after I was married I jumped head-first into digital scrapbooking. The joy of having wonderful new people in my life to photograph and write up was so inspiring and I loved the, for lack of a less personal term, simplicity of scrapping with your computer. It was an easy escape from my fears and a solution for my perfectionism.

I’d like to say I didn’t wake up one day and say “I’m going to paper scrap again”, but I did, sorta. I had spent two years 100% in the realm of digital scrapbooking, 95% happily but 5% peeking over the fence and wondering if there was some extra fun left for me in paper, wondering if I could scrap with paper without fear.

But then I woke up one morning to a request by a sorta-celebrity to contribute to another blog, on the topic of summer scrapbooks, the kind that include real scraps, etc. (Uh, oh. She thinks I’m a paper scrapper. I’m a total fraud, what do I do?)

I was a bit nervous about accepting the opportunity. I could have just said no and continued to live in fear of being a stinky paper scrapper. Instead, I saddled up and gave myself a pep talk that included:

  • You are already an artist.
  • You are already a scrapper.
  • It doesn’t matter if your lines are straight
  • or your handwriting is not that beautiful.
  • It’s OK if some of your photos are noisy
  • and if you crop off someone’s hand.
  • Just because you are a perfectionist,
  • doesn’t mean you have to be perfect.

Which brings me to this date. I’ve not yet completed my challenge project (it is due mid-August), but I did purchase my supplies and complete a test run of my skills. Over the past week I constructed a mini book that didn’t involve any computers other than the Googling of ‘how to make a mini book’ and chatting with experts as I tried to demystify my new Crop-A-Dile Big Bite. Really, I did – a whole freaking mini book complete with eyelets and ribbons and photos from 1998 and 3-seasons-old paper and my not very fancy handwriting. And it’s glorious.

Though I can now say I am not just a digi scrapper, my perfectionist demons still lurk about. I am working around them to become a more varied and most importantly a more confident scrapper who can play in the paper sandbox as well as the digi pool.

Here’s what I learned in a nutshell:

  • You can be any kind of scrapper you want.
  • Seek motivation and extra pushes from challenges in the community.
  • Use others for inspiration and celebration, not comparison.
  • Always ask questions; people love to help.
  • Practice new techniques on scrap paper before trying them on your project.
  • Focus on the gift of your stories, not the artistic merit of the end product.
  • Enjoy the process or find a new process you love more.

Jennifer S. Wilson writes daily at simplescrapper.com where she provides tips to make scrapbooking (of all makes, models and orientations) easier and more fun for busy people.

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Comments

  1. Wonderful advice! What a totally cool opportunity. The mini-album turned out great! Congrats on being offered the gig and also accepting the challenge!

  2. Wonderful advice! What a totally cool opportunity. The mini-album turned out great! Congrats on being offered the gig and also accepting the challenge!

  3. I love your mini album! Simple yet fun. Glad you finally got back to it. Now, all ya need is to try it hybrid style, lol.

  4. I love your mini album! Simple yet fun. Glad you finally got back to it. Now, all ya need is to try it hybrid style, lol.

  5. Hi Jennifer, I love this article and can totally relate to it! I linked to your post in today’s daily scrapbook news article at http://exm.nr/afyX0Y 🙂

  6. Hi Jennifer, I love this article and can totally relate to it! I linked to your post in today’s daily scrapbook news article at http://exm.nr/afyX0Y 🙂

  7. I absolutely LOVED this article and I can totally relate to every single bit of it. Altho I have never been published or asked to contribute to an article or anything of that magnitude,. I scrap both ways…..have digitally scrapped for years and am fairly good at it 🙂 I started with paper and got frustrated (sound familiar???) and several years later paper called out to me again. I think there is room in ones life for both mediums and I love them both….and you are right….we need to give ourselves permission to be less than perfect.

    Wonderful article!!!

  8. I absolutely LOVED this article and I can totally relate to every single bit of it. Altho I have never been published or asked to contribute to an article or anything of that magnitude,. I scrap both ways…..have digitally scrapped for years and am fairly good at it 🙂 I started with paper and got frustrated (sound familiar???) and several years later paper called out to me again. I think there is room in ones life for both mediums and I love them both….and you are right….we need to give ourselves permission to be less than perfect.

    Wonderful article!!!

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