Last year I realized that I was spending way too much time and money downloading digital product from lots of places, so I chose 2012 to be a year of streamlining. I cancelled subscriptions, unsubscribed to newsletters, and focused on one website: MScraps. This was a fabulous change for me and it went very well until September. In the nine months of actively scrapping with MScraps, I have 212 layouts posted there! That is a fantastic feat! I was able to become a guest creative team member, earned and won over $100 in free product, and got to know some of the members there. When school started back up in August, I was overwhelmed. I had been scrapping regularly all summer and somehow felt it was time to move my computer down to the basement. I wanted to remove some of the clutter I was feeling. What it really meant was that I would barely touch my laptop for four months.
In retrospect, I have been challenged with keeping any routines going for the past four months. My energy has been sucked into the negative events at my school and in just trying to be a good teacher and an adequate parent. I continued to take pictures and uploaded them to my computer, but I stopped telling my story. I stopped working through my pictures. I have done very little with my photos. But now here I am, with a catalog of over 45,000 digital photos - some keyworded, some captioned, some scrapped. I have over 40,000 digital scrapbooking files - with a good portion that I haven't even looked at since I downloaded them. I haven't even processed the Digi files in the past four months, they are still sitting in the downloads folder.
Let's talk about what I have bought for my photoscrapography habit. Last year I bought Photography Concentrate's Super Photo Editing Skills, Erin Cobb's Clean Scrapbooking for PSE, ebooks from Digital Photography School, The Shutter Sister's book Elevate the Everyday and Chris Orwig's People Pictures. These go unread, un-referenced. I bought PSE11. I bought supplies for my Cinch machine thinking I would make calendars. I have two scrapbooking memberships: Paperclipping and The Daily Digi (a third if I count Masterful Scrapbook Design, I download and browse). I bought Lifebook 2012 and did one lesson. I bought Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas and did three entries. I want this madness to stop. I want to stop downloading and buying and thinking that I am going to do things. I want to DO things
I am having an epiphany. I seem to remember a similar pattern last year that led to my declaration of simplifying all the scrapbook information that I consume. I was buying but not learning. I was lured in by the thrill of a shiny new kit or ebook or workshop or class. I would purchase, download, and just let the content sit. I vowed to simplify and I did. In the absence of a creative outlet in the past four months, some of that need I have to be creatively challenged has manifested in purchasing again. I have been buying in the hopes of doing. That is just crazy. Crazy wasteful. Crazy arrogant. Crazy period.
As I have relaxed and been super lazy the past two weeks, I now have some renewed energy to reflect on what went well in my creative life in 2012 and what I want to improve. I know that the thing that I have continued to do all year is to take pictures and upload them to my computer. I am really good about that. I have done a little culling and keywording, mostly to separate school pics from personal pics, but it is a step in the right direction. I have been thinking about ways to simplify my keywords to make the process faster and I have some ideas. I want to keep telling my story because that's the most important reason why I take pictures anyway. I want to scrapbook because that's just fun. I seem to have a need to share my work for positive feedback. In 2012, I shared my work with strangers. I uploaded to my MScraps gallery, getting a little thrill when I read the positive comments (Does anyone write a negative comment?). But I realize that while this kind of feedback does motivate me to improve my digiscrapping skills, I am avoiding sharing my work with the subjects of my photography-my family, my friends. There are ways to do that, Facebook or Flickr for example, but I have not done that.
There it is - my goal for my creative life in 2013 is: Share. (Now I am fighting everything inside me not to go sign up for Ali Edwards One Little Word class, because I did that two years ago. Yeah, no project completed from it.) I have signed up for Lain Ehmann's Crafting Your Business class and I can't wait to start putting some of my ideas to the test of possible business ideas. I believe that I am not the only scrapper who is just wanting something more out of their craft and doesn't quite know how to get it. It's all the trend to Project Life and Week in the Life and Project 365, but I just don't want to set myself up for failure. I have so much already, how can I use what I have to SHARE my message of beauty and simplicity and relationships that is life? I am giving up the MScraps challenges. I am going to see what happens when I start posting and printing and putting myself out there. What will it mean for me in 2013 to share???