Long before I began writing seriously, I kept journals–reams of pages filled with daily entries, jots, sketches, and reflections. Then, I began scrapbooking in the mid nineties to record my family life and move my photos from boxes to books. This hobby gave my creativity an outlet my day job previously had but no longer did.
As with most things in life, there were negatives to my new obsession. Every material and specialty tool cost money, which added up. Between the price of the photos, books, filler pages, and specialty materials such as stickers, pens, scissors and other tools–not to mention my labor–one project could easily top fifty bucks.
Then, there was the mess. I didn’t have a designated space for my hobby and ended up filling my closet and kitchen cabinets with the supplies.
Durability was my greatest concern. Others were eager to look at the photo albums, but I was forever worrying about torn and soiled pages. That bothered me, because the reason I’d started scrapping was to make our family photos accessible. These albums help develop my son’s language and social connections, too, areas of concern for a child with autism.
The solution to my dilemma was the advent of digital scrapbooks. Not only is this form of scrapbooking quicker and more professional-looking than my best handmade efforts, but all the work is online instead of all over my house. It’s also easy to make duplicate books. The price of both kinds of scrapbooks is comparable, unless you splurge by creating an album like the Disney one I made two years ago.
Photo sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish are user-friendly and provide many options to create the book you imagine. They take up a fraction of the space at 1/2″ thick whereas the handmade scrapbooks are 2″-3″ thick. You can share digital albums online, so there’s no need to purchase every album you create.
With each successive album, I used fewer photos and more journaling until the photos supported the text rather than the other way around. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised I took that next step in creativity–painting pictures with words as a novelist.
What’s your creative outlet? Do you scrapbook, journal, or research geneology online?