Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blasting Out of the Hobby Blues

What do you do when you can't get started?

Even if you love a hobby--scrapbooking in this case, but even needlework or painting--you occasionally decide, "Oh, bother. This is tooooo much trouble." You open your supplies, you stare at them, and then you go take a nap.

Which is so silly because "playing" is recreating, and recreating is renewing the vital spark in all of us. Hobbies don't sap our energy. They increase it.

Here are a few suggestions that work for me when I can't get back into doing what I love--

1. Get obligated. Promise a page to a local store or enter a contest. The drama of a deadline can move mountains. I wrote my first book under the pressure of a contract with Simon and Schuster. Believe me, fear is a great motivator!

2. Go small. I like what Todd Stone (Boot Camp Your Novel--great book!) said in a seminar about writing: "Make a goal so small you can't fail. Then do it. Kick it to the curb and spit on it!" (Okay, do NOT spit on your paper goods.) A small goal might be to make a card instead of a page. Or make a tag.

3. Swiss cheese it. Nibble around the edges. Just organize your photos. Just go through your paper. Just separate your paper and photos into a page protector.

4. Open a magazine. Or my free ezine. Go to click on the archives. I have lots of pages there for you to view. Somehow, seeing page designs usually sparks my creativity. Which leads me to ...

5. Scraplift. Steal a design. Copy it. It takes so much less effort than being creative--and you'll feel virtuous for getting something done.

6. Buy more paper. Okay, this is an addiction! I admit it! I love paper. But a lovely piece of paper can encourage me. Heck, it's like a siren's song luring me to create.

And last but not least...

7. Reward yourself. Do any of the above, then go eat chocolate. (Alternate version: Eat chocolate, then work on your hobby.)

Above all, don't beat yourself up. The weather here in St. Louis is dreary. My house is a mess. I'm staring at a stack of papers that need to be filed. I don't need another reason to flagellate myself, do you? We got into our hobbies for relaxation. It's a real crime when they become just another of our many jobs.

Do you have a terrific way of blasting yourself out of your hobby blues? Write me at I'll post a few of your suggestions in an upcoming blog.



Deborah P said...

My current problem is getting myself organized to be able to pursue my hobby. I've recently cleared out a room for scrapping/crafting, but then moved in all my supplies (I'm addicted to purchasing scrap supplies - not to putting them up!) and have no space to work or find the tools I need. Even though getting organized would allow me to create, the quantity of the stuff is overwhelming me and it's all new and good stuff, so I'm not willing to get rid of it. My plan is to work in there 15 minutes each evening; taking baby steps usually helps me deal with an overwhelming task.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Love your ideas, Joanna. I agree especially that pressures, self-imposed or otherwise, particularly help with motivation. In my case, my favorite pastimes--my dogs--don't let me forget about them! Then there's my writing, and deadlines keep me going. Sometimes I combine the two and let the dogs take me for a walk to let my mind relax before writing.


Caryn St.Clair said...

Thought I'd stop by and see what the site was all about! I don't collect dolls or scrapbook, though with a brand new grand daughter that might change! I do needlework, knit and pets though.I have an aunt that has done oall of the geneology for us already. I look forward to reading your columns.
I'm in St. Louis, so its nice to see some fellow Missourians on the blog.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Deborah,I think getting organized is one of the hardest parts of scrapbooking! I'll share some great ideas that have helped me in upcoming blogs.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


Welcome! You'll see that some of my pages are all about those Cardinals. It's great to have a fellow St. Louisan (Louisian? I can never decide)who's stopping by.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

To all my scrapbooking buddies--Our counter showed a whopping 140 of you stopped in to see our blog. I've always felt like you were extended family, and your kind response proves how super all of you are! In fact, this morning I was at a meeting at Kaldi's in the Valley, and one of you came up to me and said, "Hi!"

God bless you all! You make my day--and here's bunches of kisses and hugs to all of you--XXOOOXXX

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, and Linda--You'll notice my dogs are two of my favorite scrapbook subjects. And they're a lot less finicky about their pictures than my teenage son!