Tuesday, September 25, 2012

S.H.O. Time LOAD Blog Hop: Gotta Get your Head in the Game

Welcome to the S.H.O. Time  LOAD Blog Hop.  It's just days away...are you ready?   I've only recently started a blog and this is the first pre-LOAD blog hop in which I've ever participated.  I'm the first stop on the blog train, but be sure to hop along to the 10 other lovely LOADsters who will share their experiences with you.  We hope you find lots of tips and advice to prepare for your month-long scrapbooking journey.

I could start this post with all the things you need to gather to be successful in LOAD.  There's the obvious things like gathering cardstock and adhesive (more than you'll think you need).  You could be super organized and assemble page kits and prepare meals in advance.  Yes, all of those things are important and useful to a successful LOAD, but I'm going to take the preparation a little bit deeper by helping you create a checklist to mentally prepare for LOAD.  In other words, some advice to help you get your head in the game.

Image by Nina Matthews Photography

Let me share a story with you about my first LOAD in October 2010.  I had heard about this challenge about 6 months prior, but doubted I could follow through.  I thought I would just be wasting my money.  I was a scrapbook supply collector and not much of a user (talk about wasted money!).  I ONLY scrapbooked when I had the opportunity to attend a crop outside of the home - which was usually only twice a year.  And then out of the blue, just a day before the start of October, a fellow scrappy friend called to tell me about this Layout A Day Challenge she had heard about.  I immediately remembered, and on a complete whim, we both decided to go for it.  Within 24 hours, I mentally psyched myself into embarking on this challenge.  At the time, I didn't even quite understand how the "game" worked, but I was in for the long haul.  Little did I know how my life would be transformed.  All of what was keeping me from succeeding was in my head:
"If I only had a die cut machine..."
"If I only had a scrap room..."
"I can't scrap at home with the kids..."
"My supplies aren't current enough..."
"I don't have the time to scrapbook..."
"I don't have a fancy camera..."
"I need a large format printer..."
I pushed these excuses (and many more) aside and started scrapping.  I took the pictures from the boxes, the stories from my head, and the supplies from the shelves and created something real and tangible.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the month as I admired my thick stack of layouts.   I didn't have one thing prepared prior to that LOAD except a mental shift and the determination to succeed.  

So, in addition to gathering supplies, here's a mental checklist to get your head in the game for a successful LOAD.
  1. Let go of perfection.  I know, I know...easier said than done.  You are talking to a Virgo here, so I really know.  Done is better than perfect.  
  2. Give yourself permission to try different styles.  I encourage you, when possible, to stick to the prompts (not because Leslie and I put them together), but you may just find a new scrappy technique or a story buried in your heart that will surprise you.
  3. LOAD doesn't leave much time for indecisiveness, but don't fret too long over your decisions.  Go with your gut and you'll be amazed how satisfied you are in the end.  Kill maybe.
  4. I have found when I have my scrapbook mojo going, everything else seems to fall into place.  The dishwasher gets unloaded faster, the laundry folded, and meals prepped when I know I have some "me scrapbook time" coming my way.
  5. Scraplift freely.  Don't try to re-invent the wheel or think by doing so that you're not really creating.
  6. Work in small chunks by mentally preparing your page throughout the day or setting out a few pictures and paper in the morning.  Revisit your page, if possible, as the day goes on to add an element here or there.  
  7. Have fun and enjoy the process.  This is your hobby and these are your memories.  It's not supposed to be a chore.
  8. And when you are having a rough day and scrapbooking IS feeling like a chore, come back here and re-read this list, reach out to fellow scrappers in the gallery and remember your scrapbooking "why".  We're all rooting for you to succeed!
Can you tell I've been brainwashed, a-hem, trained by the scrappy guru herself, Lain?  I am eternally grateful to her for the transformation that happened to me in October 2010.  I hope you find this month productive, fun and satisfying.  Thanks for playing along.

Be sure to hop along to all of your other fellow LOADsters' blogs as I'm sure you'll find lots of tips and advice to get you LOADivated!  And, tell us you stopped by with a comment!

Kelli P.
Alison D.
Cathy H.
Heather H.
Alison C.
Heather D.
Danielle H.

Oh, and about wasted money?  LOAD was seriously the best $30 I've ever spent!