Existential Project Life crisis… and what I’m going to do to try and fix it.

I have a kind of motto for my life. If something is worrying me so much that I’m losing sleep over it, then I try to find a way to deal with it. Which is not really a motto now that I think about it. A philosophy maybe? Whatever. Suffice it to say that if something interrupts my sleep more than three times it needs to be dealt with asap.

Amazingly, I’m losing sleep over Project Life. Crazy right? Becky Higgins would not approve. The whole point is to keep things simple. Somewhere along the way I lost that.

A brief history- I’ve been doing P365 (taking a photo every day of the year), since August of 2010. I love it. It has become in ingrained part of my life and I hope it always will be. Soon after deciding to add more photo taking to my life, I started participating in the Project 365 Challenge at SDD. This is where you make a layout of all the 5-7 photos that you’ve taken throughout the week. I eventually became the hostess of that challenge. I continued making a page a week for the rest of 2010 and 2011. I’d heard murmuring of this Project Life thing, but it didn’t pertain to me since I have always been a digital scrapper. Then Becky introduced digital PL. I saw what Lindsay Teague Moreno was doing with hers digitally and I fell in love. One page had never seemed like quite enough room for everything I wanted to talk about in a week. Now I had these lovely two page spreads to work with. I loved the simplicity of the design and it was a huge relief to not have to find a new template each week. I dove right in. Then I lost steam. And now I’m seriously behind. I hate that feeling. I still absolutely love the project, but I don’t like how I’m implementing it.

Something needs to change somewhere. This is stressing me out to a ridiculous degree. So I made a list of things I love and frustrations I’m having.

Things I love-
Templates. Whether they’re digital or the physical pocket pages, I love them all. They’re simple and you get a streamlined look whichever one you go with.
It’s fun. I really do enjoy doing it. Most of the time.
Seafoam kit. I’m beyond excited for Elise Blaha Cripe’s Seafoam kit. Digital or physical, I’m buying that kit one way or the other. I’ll be perfectly honest here. The other Core Kits for PL just don’t do it for me. Not my style. But I absolutely love the Seafoam kit and I wish it would get here already!
Looking back. I love love love looking back through my 2010 P365 book. We actually use it as a reference sometimes when we can’t remember when we bought something or went somewhere.
Versatility. I like that you can make this Project whatever you want it to be. Every person’s PL is going to look different and yours can and will change through the years.
Documenting the little everyday stories. Can’t even tell you how much I love this aspect. So many things I would otherwise have forgotten are getting written down.
Photos. I take a lot of pictures. This is a nice alternative to putting them all in a photo album, or worse, never getting them off my HD.
Inserts. I loovvee the idea of using inserts to tell longer stories. I really like how I could theoretically copy and paste text from a blog post and throw it in PL. Or insert a regular LO. And don’t get me started on the adorableness of the new instagram sized pocket pages.
1 or 2 page layouts. I have almost exclusively done 2 page PL layouts, but I like how some people are going an even simpler route by doing 1-pagers.
Family involvement. This is huge. Jason will never be involved in making a PL layout, but he’s all over taking photos for me to use. And I seriously love that I can put in bits of phone calls between us and the Little Man. These probably wouldn’t make it onto individual LO’s, but PL is perfect for that kind of thing. Talking about him and including him in my scrapbooking for the 47 weeks a year we don’t see him was something I struggled with when I first started scrapping. PL has made those struggles disappear.
A place to put all those photos I don’t necessarily want to scrap a whole page about. Pretty self-explanatory.

Now for my frustrations…
Not having anything tangible. This is one of my biggest frustrations with digital PL. I am so envious of all the paper PL’ers who have their books to look through all year long. They have evidence of all their hard work. They can show their friends and family. All I have is a bunch of jpegs. We used to have screensavers that cycled through my layouts and acted as digital frames, but it’s not the same. Then Jason made a mind blowing suggestion to me last week… I could always stay digital, but get books printed out a few times a year, like every 3-4 months. That way I’d have something to show for it and to keep me motivated.
Kits. Like I said above, the core kits don’t get me excited. But right now my digital kits aren’t really getting me excited either. I need to find a designer to design a kit for me with all the stuff I want. I have a list if anyone is interested 😛 I’m just not finding any kits lately that inspire me. I have tons of inspiration for regular LO’s, but nothing specifically for Project Life. And I know I can use regular kits. That’s what I’ve been doing since 2010. But it’s extremely time consuming to not have everything right there when you need it. I’d prefer to have one or two main kits, and if I have extra time or I’m feeling creative I can look through my stash for more things to pretty it up.
Time. The way I’m doing them right now, PL spreads can take anywhere from one to four hours each week. I really don’t want to spend much more than an hour. They’re taking me way too long. Something needs to change in my process. Which leads me to…
I overcomplicate things. I need to find more simple ways to approach this. I can spend almost an hour on a single journaling card. Not good. It’s paralyzing me.
Printing. Not just books, but what if I decide to go hybrid? I’ll still have to print out photos or layouts each week. That’s going to cost extra time and money.
Bulkiness. One fear I have with going hybrid or all paper is the bulkiness of the albums. I really don’t want huge volumes taking up a lot of room. I know some people don’t mind that, but it bugs me. Plus I don’t like 12×12. It intimidates me. Everything I’ve ever done has been 8×8 or 8.5×11. I don’t have the shelf space for huge books. That would mean parting with cookbooks and I’m not going there.
Falling behind. There will be times I fall behind. I accept that. But right now I’m so far behind I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Do I try to catch up or try to move on? This is an even bigger deal for me because I host a freakin’ 365 Challenge but I’m not participating in my own challenge.
I would really love to incorporate ephemera into my layouts. This is a huge factor in considering hybrid. And I know myself well enough to know that I’ll never scan ephemera for digital pages.
It’s expensive. If I stay digital, my only estimated costs next year would be the digital Seafoam kit and book printing costs. I have everything else. If I go hybrid there are additional printing costs, page protector and binder costs, plus any extra supply costs.
I have bad handwriting and I’m not crafty. Not great starts to going hybrid.
I hate commitment. Committing to doing something one way for a whole year is smothering to me. I need to let go of that and realize that I can always change things up if something’s not working. Nothing is set in stone.

So that’s where I am right now. I will definitely be doing something next year. I love this way too much to give up on it. I just need to find a way that works for me.

These are the two options I’m looking at for next year-

Continue digital PL, with a concentration on managing my time and my stuff more efficiently. Print a couple of smaller volumes instead of one big book. Use the Seafoam digital kit and kits from my stash to streamline the process. Find templates to use as “inserts” between the weeks for things like blog posts. Slip a few timely LO’s in between weeks.

Try going hybrid. Invest in plastic page protectors and binders. Fill them with women… lol ok just seeing if you’re still with me. Do a mix of pocket pages, digital PL pages, and inserts using mostly digital products printed out, plus ephemera. I think the satisfaction of having the binders out and ready to look through might outweigh the extra cost for me. Maybe.

There you have it. I am on the horns of a dilemma. Any advice would be greatly welcome.

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3 thoughts on “Existential Project Life crisis… and what I’m going to do to try and fix it.

  1. Pingback: Project Life Week 44 (and a partial resolution to my PL crisis) | hclappy scraps

  2. Pingback: Project Life- Week 47 | hclappy scraps

  3. Pingback: Project Life Week- Products I use, and how I’m making 8×8 work for me. | hclappy scraps

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