Project Life is the brain child of Becky Higgins. It’s scrapbooking without the glue. You slip photographs into photo pocket pages, write some thoughts on a predesigned journalling card and you’re done.
I love Project Life and I use it to document our lives; I am even on the Digital Creative Team for 2016, focusing on using the App. Most times when I sit down to record our recent photographs, it’s quick and painless. Half an hour or so and I have completed several pages and exported them to Dropbox ready for our album. But, there are also occasions when a page just doesn’t seem to come together. I don’t know how I want the page to look visually and so I agonise over the layout, editing the page over and over again and I’m never quite satisfied with the end results.
If you’re stuck in a Project Life rut, I have found five things that work for me.
1- Search For Inspiration Online
I am so hesitant to put this as an option, but in truth, it’s probably the first thing I do when I feel stuck for ideas or in a creative rut. It can so easily become an overwhelming spiral of procrastination, though. I search #projectlife on Instagram regularly, so I have a few Project Life accounts I follow that speak to and inspire me. I tend to go to these accounts for inspiration and have a quick look at what the others on the Creative Team are doing. For me, having a couple of go-to sources for inspiration stops me feeling overwhelmed.
2- Use a Different Kit
There are so many beautiful editions of Project Life created by talented designers. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself drawn to the same kits every time you create. I get it – they are comfortable and familiar. If I’m struggling to make my layout work, I challenge myself to use a kit I haven’t used before. Even if it’s just one journalling or filler card. It puts me out of my comfort zone and normally helps me to achieve something different.
3- Go Big!
Take that favourite photo from the weekend and use one of the big shot templates to display it. I spent a couple of years doing physical Project Life and I loved it, but I struggled whenever I used a different photo page layout other than ‘Design A’. The other side of the photo page layout always had me stumped. I stuck to ‘Design A’ because that worked for me. With the App it doesn’t matter which layout you use. It’s taken me a while to branch out but now I love featuring one photo. If I go back to physical Project Life, I would cut up larger photos to fit the photo pocket pages.
Sometimes I think we document because it’s a habit and it’s what we do. It is when I am in this mindset of seeing it as a chore on my to-do list that I get stuck. I forget the reason I am doing this. I want to record our story. So I ask myself: What is the story of/behind the event I’m documenting? What was the conversation that stood out and made me giggle? What details do I want to remember?
Sometimes as I consider the story I want to be telling, I realise that my photos aren’t telling that story. Maybe I have got lax in the way I document with my camera. Normally this is when I give myself a new photography project, whether that’s documenting a day in the life, 25 facts about me, movies/books I’m loving, or an alphabet book for my nephew. Doing something different gets my creativity going again. I put aside the day-to-day life for a moment and embrace what excites me. Once that mini-project is finished, I find the layouts I was struggling with fall into place with ease.
5- Get Others Involved
I think sometimes we feel like we have to do it all – at least, I know I do. Sometimes when I struggle with journalling or layouts and work through some of the other options, I realise that the story I want told is not mine to tell. At this point I start asking My Handsome Man questions and his answers will form the journalling, or I ask for his opinion on a layout and he’ll ask me to make a photo bigger, or change one to include his favourite.
What do you do to encourage creativity when you’re stuck in a Project Life rut? What would you add to the list?