Stop Self-Made Restrictions & Rules

Hello out there! I hope everyone is staying safe out there and wearing masks! I know we can all agree that this COVID-19 pandemic has not been fun. My family has pretty much been in lockdown since March 2020, emerging only for the occasional grocery store trip or nature trail hike. I’ve been reading a lot on Instagram how people are finding it hard to capture creativity these days — creativity that once flowed freely, but now has dried up and disappeared. I can relate.

Early in the pandemic, I didn’t feel a decrease in my urge to create, but I have to say within the last few months, it’s slowly been dwindling. Instagram feeds come across as boring and repetitive. I have ideas, but putting them into motion seems daunting or uninteresting.

A week ago, I decided to push through the feelings and make an autumn journal using an old Simple Stories fall paper collection, Forever Fall. Sort of the same way I pushed through and dragged out the Christmas decorations last weekend, urged relentlessly by my kids.

I constructed the journal using the line’s patterned papers I had leftover from an older project and a 3-hole pamphlet stitch. It was pretty straightforward; you really couldn’t get any simpler. I printed out all of my pictures the same size on matte photo paper — boring, I know. I trimmed them, leaving a white border around the perimeter. I even decorated the cover.

And then I just stopped. I couldn’t bear to think about what I would write about or how I would decorate each page. It was too much. I didn’t want to do it. So I pushed the project to the side and busied myself by moving things around my craft room. The project remained on the corner of my craft table.

If I even thought about working on it, I would start to feel deflated. I began questioning myself: Why can’t I just put the pictures on each page with no decorating? Who said I have to decorate each page? Where were these restrictions coming from? More importantly, why am I abiding by them? I decided to start with just placing the pictures on each page and see where the project went from there.

Then I had the urge to create a page of journaling for the front page. I remembered I had some leaves in the garage I collected from a recent walk and had a great idea of how to incorporate them in the journal.

After I pushed past my own illogical restrictions, I felt creativity flowing again. Many times we don’t do things in life because we’ve established parameters in our head that we either feel we can’t meet or we don’t want to meet. We need to stop doing this.

I am so glad I shut off that teeny weeny voice because now instead of stockpiling my photos in my Photos app on my iMac, I have a wonderful little journal filled with memories of our amazing autumn hikes during a not-so-amazing time.

Till next time,

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