Whenever taking on a project, especially a big one, there has to be an end in mind. You know, what's the finished project supposed to look like. In other words, what's the point?
Since 1999, teaching people how to tell their stories in scrapbooks and family albums, highlighting their photos to best advantage, and how to be certain these memories stand the test of time, I noticed many who gave up before they even got started in earnest because of the overwhelming size of the job. Other obstacles, of course, were lack of money to buy all that elaborate stuff in the stores, not enough time, "my handwriting is awful," and "I'm not creative."
My forthcoming book, Memories in Order, addresses all of these barriers, but perhaps the most significant chapter is "The Point," early on, because if you can't answer this question, you won't be sure of what you're doing, and the project won't take on the significance it should. Die-hard scrapbookers and album makers know the point, or what the project looks like at the end. Maybe not exactly what the physical book will look like because they change methods and pick up new strategies as they go, but as far as what they want to achieve by doing the work, they are certain.
It's like writing. If I don't know what I want people to learn, or I'm not sure of what my real message is underneath all the words, I will give up. I've given up on projects a lot and can see them sitting on my shelves or stored away in drawers because I wasn't sure of "the point."
For me, when it comes to my albums, first off, it doesn't seem like work at all because I enjoy doing it so much. I know the memories are being kept alive in my books for the children and grandchildren for a lifetime and beyond. I have a true passion for this, passing down heritage. And I'm intent on passing down my lessons learned throughout my life, the good and the bad.
It's not like that for everyone who makes albums or scrapbooks. Some people just want to create an album for their graduating senior as a gift of all their school memories. They have a point. Some people want to create travel albums for the family, maybe holiday albums, or albums of all of their child's birthdays. And some people want to write a memoir, maybe incorporating some old photos. Like me, a lot of people just want their family pictures stored safely somewhere where they can be pulled out and celebrated over and over again.
So what is your point?
I plan for Memories in Order to be the first of my Scrapbook Simply series. Not to confuse the name with Simple Scrapbooks, which is a great magazine I love to read and copy layouts from. By Scrapbook Simply I don't want to infer creating simple scrapbooks, but rather simply sitting down to create that book of memories you've been putting off because of all of the reasons listed above, or some other reason you have. I point out in the book there is nothing stopping you from getting started. Just Scrapbook Simply already.
My website is undergoing a new face, and will be up and running in a few days, and you'll be able to see more about the book, which is in the first edit stage at present. It's an exciting task for me that I've been working on for a long time.
In the meantime, I have an essay in an anthology titled Gifts II that will be out this winter I believe. The book is about Down syndrome individuals, and I've written a piece about my son Jeff, "Road Pavers." I'm so proud of this work because it tells my son's story of courage, hard work, complete tolerance and love of every person--and every animal--he encounters. My SimplySpecial website will be up again in a few days after some changes as well. The subtitle: "Aren't we all special?"