Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Creative Rut

Last week I was really stuck in a creative rut. Every time I picked up a sheet of paper or grabbed a pair of scissors I had this overwhelming feeling of, 'What the hell do I do now?'

I doodled on a couple of tags, jotted down some journaling ideas, cut up a couple sheets of paper; but nothing was coming together the way I wanted it to. Had I forgotten how to scrapbook?

That seemed pretty silly -- I've been doing this for years, how could I just up and forget what I'm doing? After hemming and hawing a bit, I resolved to just finish up a project. Who cares how it turned out? (I could always change it later) I just wanted to get something done.

I needed that sense of accomplishment. 

So I broke it down. What do I need to do in order to get back that sense of accomplishment? The feeling of knowing that I can do this.

For me, there are a couple of different components to any page or project.

-- Composition
-- Photos
-- Subject/Story
-- Materials

I was feeling so overwhelmed by trying to get everything to come together, that I was neglecting to give each component its necessary attention.

And as soon as I broke it down, I saw which components just weren't happening for me. I saw where I needed help and remembered that there are great resources out there to help figure out each of those components.

-- Composition: Sketches. If I'm stuck with the composition of a layout, I'll turn to a sketch as my guide.

-- Photos: I'll try to grab a photo that really speaks to me -- if I'm not finding any, I'll just skip the photo and start with the other components and fit in a photo later on.

-- Subject/Story: This one can be extra difficult at times -- sometimes a photo has fifty potential stories and sometimes its hard to come up with one. I'm the first one to preach about the importance of storytelling, but if its preventing you from scrapping a photo or completing a project then it isn't worth getting frustrated over. You can always go back and scrap the same photos later if you figure out the story you want to tell.

-- Materials: Sometimes I'm just overwhelmed by the amount of 'stuff' that I have. I don't know what paper to grab first or which stickers I'm going to need. This is where kits come in. Whether you make them yourself, or get them from a kit club/store. If I restrict yourself to specific supplies, I find it a lot easier to concentrate on some of the other aspects of my project.

This is definitely not a list written in stone. Just some thoughts about my experience going through and getting out of my creative rut.

What other ways have you found to get out of the creative gutter?