When I first came up with the concept of the LOAD (layout a day) challenge way way way back like five years ago, I wanted a challenge that would stretch scrapbookers. I’d seen the amazing results of other “extreme” challenges like the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). How could I apply those principles to scrapbooking? Doing a layout a day for a year was insane. Doing a layout a day for a week was no big deal. But a month? That was just insane enough.
And so the LOAD challenge was born.
Over the course of the past several years, I’ve seen thousands of scrapbookers take the LOAD challenge. Wherever they are in their personal scrapbooking journeys, there are some commonalities amongst those who take on the challenge and find it to be a fulfilling, exciting, and FUN process. No, it’s not having a full-time catering and housecleaning staff (though that might help!). No, it’s not having thousands of dollars’ worth of product at your fingertips (that can actually hamper your ability to choose what to use on your pages!). Really, it’s an attitude.
Here’s that attitude broken down:
1. Know what YOU want to accomplish. Each person comes to LOAD with a different goal. Some are new scrapbookers hoping to find a great community and get their feet wet. Others are more experienced scrapbookers who want to see just how much they can get finished. Others want to use up their stash, stretch their creative wings, make new friends, finish a particular project.. the list goes on and on.
If you have a newborn baby and a full-time job and a broken arm, you may very well have trouble finishing a layout every day. But if your goal is really just to take 15 minutes for yourself and get inspiration from the message board and gallery, that’s completely do-able. DEFINE WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU. Don’t let the idea of “28 layouts” make you feel like you are not successful if you only finish 3 or 20.
2. Try to follow the prompts. The daily prompts are inspiration springboards. They are not intended to be “law.” You are not downgraded or penalized in any way if you do not follow them. At the same time, they are carefully selected and organized to create an overall LOAD experience. They build on each other and build up. They are not intended to be easy. They ARE intended to make you think. If you just do your own thing each and every day, that’s great – but it’s not really what I’m hoping for you.
I’m trying to teach you a process that you can then use in your own scrapbooking outside of LOAD, one where you push your storytelling and your creative process a little bit. That may take you outside your comfort zone – and that’s good! If we are not growing, we are dying. It’s as simple as that. I can’t tell you the number of emails I get after LOAD saying, “Oh my gosh, I created one of my favorite layouts EVER… and I never would have even remembered that story if it weren’t for your prompt.” This happens – if you allow for it!
3. Connect. One of the unique aspects of LOAD is the community. You can easily connect with other scrapbookers through the message board and the gallery. Leave comments. Answer questions. Ask questions… there are hundreds of amazing people there, who WANT to meet other scrapbookers. If you are new it may seem a bit intimidating, but trust me when I say that we WANT to meet you. The layouts you create are going to end up in albums… but the friendships you make will last long after the albums have been put on the shelf.
4. Ask for help. We’ve created a multi-tiered structure to help you when you’re having issues, whether it’s trouble uploading your image or trouble finding a topic for the daily prompt. You can post to the public message board, you can post to the “Questions for Admins” thread on the message board, you can reach out to any of the other participants… if you are stuck, ask for help! We’ve also got four featured scrapbookers and our “Scrapper on the Street” to help you with inspiration. Speak up!
5. Have fun. If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth it. Sometimes that might mean giving yourself a break and creating a simpler layout one day, or using a sketch. It might mean taking five minutes to post a funny thought (or respond to one) on the message board. It might mean just breathing deep and reminding yourself that even if you don’t like the layout you created today, tomorrow is another chance to tell a story, create, and make a new friend.
If you haven’t signed up for LOAD yet, you can do so right here. We start on Feb. 1!
Thank you so very much for allowing me to lead you through this process! If you want more tips, check out these posts from other experienced LOADsters:
Karen Siegel Fitting
Wendy Elliott Aebi
Connie Ochoa Hanks