Planning for Scrapping Success in 2023

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

While scrapbooking should be a hobby filled with joy, not deadlines and pressure, the truth is you’ll feel more satisfaction in this wonderful hobby if you’re productive. As you produce completed layouts, filling your albums – either digital or physical – or printing completed books, your overall sense of fulfillment with this hobby will grow.

So now is a great time to think about what you’d like to accomplish in the coming year specific to scrapbooking. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Take on an overarching project for the year
  2. Focus on an individual project
  3. Set a goal for filling your library of memories
  4. Get organized

Let’s take a closer look, starting with…

Option #1: Take on an overarching project for the year

Some scrapbookers enjoy the structure of tackling a year-long project. These might include:

One Little Word® – Popularized by scrapbooking artist and educator Ali Edwards, One Little Word can take the place of New Year’s Resolutions. “In 2006,” she wrote, “I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January—a word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon as I go about my daily life. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another—a process I document via simple creative monthly prompts from January to December.” Whether you go through the steps of her workshop or simply choose a word and honor it through the year in your own way, One Little Word makes a great year-long project for any life artist.

Take a look at this thread in our forum to read how some members of the Sweet Shoppe Community are using One Little Word in 2023, and join in the discussion!

Project Life – Both a brand and a philosophy, Project Life is the brainchild of scrapbooking maven Becky Higgins. Also known as “pocket scrapbooking,” it focuses on bringing photos and stories together in a creative and sustainable way. Some scrapbookers tackle this as “Project 52”, where they create one two-page spread for each week of the year. We have lots of gorgeous digital cards here in the Sweet Shoppe as well as pocket-style templates and week-in-review templates that are perfect for this type of project.

Month in Review – This is a bit of a spin on Project 52, making it more of a “Project 12”. Rather than chronicling each week in a 2-page spread, this project – also known as The Monthly – dedicates a 2-page spread to review the events of a month.

Faves Project – Another project focused on one layout per month, this one is dedicated to recording a simple list of your 10 favorite things from the month. Layout artist Lynette Penacho-Jackman of Nettio Designs popularized this project; she explains, “the Monthly Faves Project is your roadmap for getting more of YOU in your albums this year because what you love captures who you are.”

Photo-A-Day – Can you commit to shooting at least one photograph a day – every day – for a full year? A Photo-A-Day project is all about recording small changes over time. Have a new baby? Shoot a photo of them each day and watch them grow and change. Have an outdoor space you love? Shoot something small each day and watch how the seasons and weather manifest change in nature. Working on yourself, inside and out? Shoot a selfie each day and watch your own evolution. Just want to get in the habit of daily photography? There are countless prompts available online you can use to inspire your photo-a-day habit. This is a tough one to stick with, but just imagine what you could create at the end of the year with those 365 images!

Option #2: Focus on an individual project

If the idea of tackling a year-long project is too overwhelming, consider focusing on an individual project; specifically, one that has a beginning and end, such as a themed album. The sense of accomplishment you will feel when that project is complete – when you send it off to print, perhaps as a bound book – will be tremendous! Here are some ideas to consider:

  • a baby album
  • a vacation album (for one specific trip)
  • a wedding album
  • a tribute album
  • a family yearbook

Option #3: Set a goal for filling your library of memories

If you’re not one for big projects or themed albums, and you prefer to scrapbook photos and memories when and as you feel like it, consider setting yourself a goal you can track. For example, set a target for the number of layouts you want to create each month. Alternatively, you could set a goal to complete layouts for older photos from a specific timeframe (ex: everything from the fall of 2008, or the first half of 2020, or everything from your child’s 5th grade year.)

Option #4: Getting organized

It is perfectly okay to take a break from creating layouts in order to get yourself organized! If you feel like your photos and supplies are scattered and you don’t know where anything is, set yourself a goal to organize. Whether you work on filing photos by date or focus on tagging them with keywords, you’ll be happier and more productive when you’re done, and scrapbooking will be joyful rather than frustrating.

What to do now that you have a goal in mind?

Researcher John Norcross defines a goal as “a mental representation of a desired outcome that a person is committed to.” If I’ve decided to tackle the Faves Project this year, my desired outcome is a set of 12 layouts that summarize my favorite things for each month of 2023. I can envision what that would look like in an album or book, and I would feel excited, proud, and delighted to slide that finished book onto our shelves of family memories.

“Setting a specific goal,” writes Will Meek Ph.D. in Psychology Today, “makes us more likely to achieve the things we want, and is important especially when we want to make a change. The best news is that setting and striving for a goal, even if you don’t make it, will make you happier.”

When setting your goal, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be SPECIFIC. “My goal is to create a 2023 Faves album with one layout for each month of the year.”
  • Be REALISTIC. I love the idea of a photo-a-day project, but it’s not realistic for me to keep up with it this year.
  • Make sure it’s ACHIEVABLE. I can absolutely create one layout a month.
  • Write it down. I’ve written it down on a post-it note and pinned it to the board in my studio.
  • Now, break it down into an action plan.

An action plan for a scrapbooking goal might include things like:

  1. How will you measure progress toward your goal? A checklist, a spreadsheet, a journal… whatever works best for you.
  2. What is the timeframe in which you want to get it done? The end of the year, or perhaps by a milestone like a graduation or anniversary if you’re working on a tribute album.
  3. Make a list: what do you need to gather, research, purchase, and do in order to complete this project? Maybe you need to sign up for a class or workshop, purchase a set of templates, or select the supplies you’ll use for your project.
  4. Who do you need help from? Do you need assistance from family members to gather photos and information? Do you need to schedule a photo shoot?
  5. What does your timeline look like? Break your project down into steps; add them to your checklist, spreadsheet, or journal – whatever you chose back in step 1. Then start penciling in a timeline for progress checkpoints. If you need the project done for an anniversary on April 15th, where should you be at the end of January, February, and March? If it’s a year-long project, where do you want to be at the end of each month?
  6. Who will support you along the way? Having a community you can chat with about your project can make a huge difference in your success. Liz Lamoreaux talks about the benefit of having a team of like-minded people with whom she has a “conversation and touchpoint monthly” about her One Little Word project. She says these regular conversations keep her “mind and spirit a little hungry” and it helps her stay motivated and focused. Remember, our community here at the Sweet Shoppe is just a click away – and we even have a discussion board specifically dedicated to Long-Term Projects.

So, what does “Scrapbooking Success” look like for you in 2023? What is your goal? Will you undertake an over-arching year-long project like One Little Word, Project Life, Month in Review, or the Faves Project? Will you focus on completing a specific project like a baby album, vacation album, wedding or tribute album? Or does success for you look like lots of completed layouts for your personal library of memories? Tell me in the comments below, and join us in the forums where we’re talking about these projects.

Here’s to a fantastic new year filled with joy, success, and satisfaction in our scrapbooking endeavors – happy 2023!

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