As digital scrapbookers, we are highly dependent on our computers. We scrap on them, network and enjoy community on them, shop on them, and share our work on them. But what happens to our scrap processes when you take the computer out of the equation?
This happened to me two weeks ago. My laptop kept overheating, running loudly, and shutting down at random. I had to ship it in for repair, and found myself in a computer-less house for a (very long) week and half. To avoid complete mental breakdown, I devised a list of things I could do in place of that computer time. By the end of my enforced computer sabbatical, I actually thought, hey, everyone should take a screen break once in a while. It’s good for the mind, good for the heart, and surprisingly, great for refreshing creativity and passion.
I hope you find this list, with some ideas scrapbook-related and some not, helpful the next time you take a break (willingly or not!) from your screen. I’d love to hear your ideas, too!
At the risk of being too obvious, I had to include this one first. Stock up so you have plenty of fresh photos to scrap – take this opportunity to play with your camera settings, experiment with lighting and different poses or scenes, or practice your food or nature photography. I enjoyed trying out different photography apps on my new iPhone. Sometimes we get in a rut with our photo-taking and need a little push to try something new! Screw on a different lens than you normally grab, download a new photo editing app on your smartphone, or shoot from a different angle.
Go Outside and Smell the Roses
If you have children, spend some extra time with them. Go to a local park, or simply out in the backyard. Come up with new games to enjoy together. This suggestion also has the happy side benefit of creating lots of photo opportunities! While my computer was being repaired, I spent many sunny, happy hours on our patio splashing around in a wading pool with my boys. Alternatively, you could bring a book outside or simply sit and soak in the sun and fresh air. Spending time outside recharges that mental “creative mojo bucket” in our minds.
Make a List
Make a list of pages you want to scrap, blog post ideas, a summer bucket list, any kind of list. Although I often use my phone or computer for lists, there’s something about the smooth glide of pen on paper that really gets the ideas flowing for me. If you prefer electronic lists and note-taking, try Evernote, Taskos, ToodleDo, Wunderlist, or Clear, or a host of other iPhone and Android apps for organized list-making. I made a list of what I wanted to do first when I got my computer back.
Get Your Hands Messy
Whether you come from a paper scrapping background, enjoy dabbling in hybrid, or run screaming from scissors, playing around with a little “real” paper can be a fun way to fill that Photoshop void. No one ever has to see the results! I’ve been slowly dipping my toes into the wonderful world of hybrid lately, so I spent some time painting, gluing, and mod-podging the foundation of a hybrid summer mini-album last week. I also took the opportunity to make a few cards for friends (see above).
If paper crafting isn’t your thing, try another hands-on activity, like knitting, painting, drawing, sewing, or gardening. Don’t forget to document your crafty adventures for later scrapbooking!
For many of us, journaling is the hardest part of scrapbooking. Even though I’m a writer by trade, I still sometimes find myself staring blankly at a nearly-complete layout on my computer screen, trying to think of what to say. I love the idea, then, of using time away from the computer to jot down journaling. This tip works great for any time you have a few minutes to spare – in a waiting room, riding in the car (while someone else is driving!), in between sports matches.
Pull out a notebook or your phone and write about whatever comes to mind. Maybe you’re thinking of a specific photo or event, or maybe you just capture some emotional, my-life-right-now kind of journaling. Separating writing my journaling from the actual scrapbooking sometimes helps me remove a mental “road block” and takes the pressure off.
Flip through a fashion or home decor magazine, clipping or bookmarking pages that jump out at you. Walk through Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or your local scrapbooking store (warning: this could be hazardous to your wallet). If you have a smartphone, listen to a podcast – I especially enjoy The Digi Show. They recently produced a show all about journaling with special guest Kristin Rutten, and this one about finding lost mojo will have you just itching to get back into Photoshop.
I hope this list gives you hope that all is not lost when you have to be away from the computer for a few days or weeks! Although I was a bit twitchy by the end of my computer-less time, I must admit that the experience was good for me. I filled pages in my notebook with ideas for future blog posts, experimented with some new, messy paper-crafting techniques, and most of all, enjoyed the extra time with my family. If you have ideas for ways to stay sane sans-computer, will you share with us in the comments?