Hello! This is Amy Sorensen, and I have a confession to make: I am amazed by those of you who manage to do a December-daily type album every December. Because even though Christmas is one of my favorite scrapbooking topics, I almost never manage to get any scrapbooking done in December. Let alone a page a day! I’m always pulled in so many directions in December, and there is so much to do, that scrapbooking sort of falls by the wayside.
Instead, I usually spend a good portion of January scrapbooking the previous December’s Christmas photos. I think of this as one-topic scrapbooking: a concentrated effort to scrap a bunch of stories and photos with the same theme. I did this in November with Thanksgiving photos, and I decided that this year, I’m going to do another one-topic scrapbooking month: This December, I’m scrapbooking Christmas photos. (I know! It’s totally a novel idea.)
Let me explain my one-topic scrapbooking approach. I’ve done this several times during my years of scrapping. I pick a topic first. One year, for example, I did birthday layouts in May. I’ve focused entire Septembers on autumn photo shoots, Octobers on Halloweens, and yes, Christmas in January. One year I did beach vacations all February! Aside from any scrapbooking assignments I have, I only scrapbook that topic for the entire month. My goal is to focus my efforts on getting a lot of layouts finished. I want to enjoy the writing and creating process, but I want to finish with a bunch of stories put on paper and pictures moved from my hard drive to my bookshelves. There’s a sense of satisfaction in checking off the layouts. Plus, focusing on just one topic helps me to be more productive because:
1. I leave all of my themed supplies sitting out all month. I get more and more familiar with what I have as I make more layouts, and I use more of what I have, especially patterned paper scraps.
2. Older stories come easier to mind. There’s something that happens with such a concentrated focus…I remember stories and experiences I didn’t write down.
3. It makes me happy! Working on the same topic gets me excited about going to my scrapbooking table, and that enthusiasm helps me get more done. (Not that I’m not already excited to scrapbook, but…this feels different.)
For the next few days, I’m going to be sharing my one-topic scrapbooking approach with you. Maybe it will inspire you to do something similar!
The first step is picking your topic. I like to do something that relates to the current season, because it helps to reinforce how the month feels. During my November of scrapping Thanksgiving photos, I felt more anticipation for Thanksgiving day than I usually do. I also arrived at the meal with a whole bunch of ideas for photos I wanted to take. (Photos I didn’t actually get to take because my big camera was being repaired and my sister, who’d agreed to let me use hers, had a dead battery.) Your topic doesn’t have to be related just to holidays, however. You could do spring layouts in March, or vacation photos in August. Or a thematic approach…how about a bunch of photos you love during February?
For this round of one-topic scrapbooking, I already knew I’d be doing Christmas photos. I decided to finally work on my pictures from 2004 and 2005. These are years I’ve scrapped nearly none of my stories, partly because I was teaching and then I had a new baby, partly because I had some issues I hadn’t yet resolved. Letting the pictures sit for a while (almost a decade still counts as “a while,” yes?) gave me some much-needed distance and perspective on those issues. I think I can see more clearly what has meaning and what stories didn’t have to be told.
Plus, I rediscovered this photo, and oh, my. How have I not scrapped this photo yet?
(My relationship to it has changed entirely, though. I didn’t know how it really felt to have three little kids who all still believed in Santa Claus until I had three big ones who don’t anymore.)
The second step is doing some research. This is especially important if you’re working with older photos. Your goal is to reacquaint yourself with your stories. Where do you write things down—your blog? Your Facebook or Twitter page? A journal? I’ve even remembered stories by looking through my old check register. Even just looking through your pictures will help your memory spark. Take some notes about the stories you want to tell.
Tomorrow I’ll write about steps three and four!