Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Scrapbook Mistake? Just Put a Sticker on It!

I just had a lovely surprise visit from one of the Teen's friends and her mother this week. It was totally spontaneous and fun and surreal. The Teen and her friend had a blast reconnecting and talking about college options. The mom and I had a great time revisiting our days as school volunteers and fellow scrapbookers.

I used to be a big time scrapbooker before I became a full time writer. It was a wonderful creative outlet  and I enjoyed designing the pages and documenting our family's history. I have LOADS of scrapbooks. Are they perfect? Nope. But when people look through them they love the way I've pulled the pages together. I do, too. They are fun to look at and read.

My friend and I laughed about how different we were in our scrapbooking world compared to our day-to-day world. She's a spontaneous and by-the-seat-of-her-pants roll with it woman whereas I am an organized, everything-must-be-in-its-place and in order kind of woman. Yet when sat down to scrapbook together we were the polar opposite personalities.

And we were so surprised! She carefully planned her pages, measured everything twice, made sure all the pictures were aligned just so and very meticulously plotted her pages. By the end of a 3 hour scrapbooking session she might come away with 1, maybe 2, completed pages.

Me? I'd have 5 or 6 pages done. Why? Because I would go into the work with a basic plan, then happily select my beautiful accent papers and stickers and notions and go, go, go. She was so surprised by my complete lack of desire for perfection. I just cut pictures and paper, placed the sticky tape on, threw in the photos and notions with joyful abandon. I'd blithely say to her if it was little off center I'd just throw a sticker on it or add another notion to embellish the page and "hide" the imperfection.

Her visit this week reminded me that I'm pretty much that way in all my creative endeavors. When I don't worry about being perfect, I have fun and I end up with a fairly decent product that is pleasing to the eye, mind, spirit.

Hmmm, can you guess what my writing process is like? Wonder what my friend's would be like? Yup, I'm a planner, pantser, fixer. She'd be an outliner, plotter, editor on the go.

What is the worst thing I can do to my writing process? Try to be perfect. I need to go with the flow knowing that as long as I have a basic plan about what I need to do and where I need to go I will get there. And I'll actually enjoy the process because I know that if something isn't quite right I can always go back and add a sticker.

Have you ever scrapbooked? What's your creative process? Do you have any other hobbies that mirror the way you write?


Pam Asberry said...

Great post, Christine! I don't do a lot of scrapbooking but I aspire to, and I think what has stopped me is the same thing that stops me from writing: perfectionism. With other hobbies, though - sewing, knitting, beading - I am not afraid to jump in with both feet, make mistakes, rip out when necessary, and move forward. I think I need to apply that attitude to both scrapbooking AND writing. I would probably be more productive and have a lot more fun in the process. Thanks for the inspiration!

Christine said...

Hi Pam: I think the key is to find the process that works best for you in your writing while knowing that you can always fix the mistakes. Even the most meticulous planner has to redo her/his work. I read a quote on Allison Brennen's blog (I think I have her name spelled wrong so I apologize if so) that resonated with me this week during my self-flagellation.

“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.” from the War of Art

I think that's the key. And I also liked another blog post's suggestion to tackle problems with small questions that seek solutions so we aren't paralyzed by the big picture and the fear.

I know you will accomplish all you set out to do!!


Cheryl said...

Hey Christine. I have never scrapbooked. But I do paint, crochet and bead. My favorite is painting. I go at it with joyful abandon, then stop, look at it and realize I need to paint over something. Like you said, it's the free-flow of creating. I do the same thing when I write, just go with it. Then, sadly, I have to go back and fix things. But I have fun doing it!

Vicky Dreiling said...

Interesting! I once heard Susan Elizabeth Phillips talk about how an author's process often changes over time. I think that's true. Now that I have deadline, I no longer have the luxury of writing multiple drafts, so that means paying more attention to plotting, even though I'm a pantser by nature.

Christine said...

Hi Cheryl: I didn't know you were a painter. Wow. I think that's amazing. A great way to get the mind free for the writing and finishing the books.

Christine said...

Hi Vicky: I agree with that idea a lot. I think that what happens to writers is they start out thinking there is a certain way to write, then it doesn't work so they look for another way--a magic bullet--and try it. Then they continue to grow and learn with each book which how they eventually fine tune their natural writing process with the work that has to be done in a timely manner. I do spend a bit more time "cleaning up" as I go along so the revisions will be faster and I'm glad I'm doing that given what you've shared. I'm truly a hybrid. Need a plan, need to know where I'm going, some major plot points and of course the CHARACTERS--love working on them. But I also like knowing that if it isn't quite working I can plow through and find the solution in the process.

And SEP is awesome. I heard her speak at the RWA National Conference. Very inspiring!


Katherine Bone said...

Cool comparison, writing and scrapbooking. I don't scrapbook because I know it will suck up too much of my time. Though I would love to have the intricately detailed photo albums. ;)

Vicky said it well. Another thing that changes when an author is published (as quite a few have told me), the writing is tighter, better, and completed more quickly because the author knows what the editor or agent wants. Once that relationship is established, an author can write without fear of making that BIG mistake. Guidance makes a ton of difference, doesn't it?

I tend to write, revise as I go, and then revise just before I move on. Sometimes that sets me behind, but then I have a cleaner version written. Don't know if that's working for me but I'm sticking with it until I learn different. ;)

Christine said...

Hi Kathy: Yes, having the guidance liberates the author to write toward the expectations. I think that's awesome. Builds confidence in the author. I hope that when the time comes for me to cross into the great published lands that I will grow faster, writer smarter, be more focused.

I don't scrapbook anymore, but I still have tons of papers, embellishments and stickers :-) said...

This is a really great idea, Mish! I was wondering what I was going to do with the extra journaling spot for the week, but I haven't thought too hard about it since I haven't even gotten my page protectors yet :( They've been out of stock for a while and are not set to return until Feb. For now, I'm taking your advice and writing everything in my daily calendar that I got at Target. Thanks for all the inspiration!
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