Scrapbook Mythbusting: 5 Ways to Avoid the Creativity Perfection Trap

Welcome to Day #3 of the "No Scrapbooking Police" blog hop! In this series, we'll discuss some popular myths associated with scrapbooking. Be sure to scroll down below for the list of of topics and the designers' blogs you'll want to visit this week during our blog hop.

Today's Topic: Scrapbook Pages SHOULD Look Perfect

I suffer from perfectionism. Perfectionism is the feeling that if something is less than perfect, it must have less value. This is particularly true when it comes to scrapbooking and crafting for me.

I like things to look a certain way when I'm creating a page. And I've been known to tear up an entire page and reprint photos if the layout doesn't turn out quite like I wanted. But honestly I don't like the pressure I feel or the creative cramping that sets in when I try to get everything perfect.

Today I wanted to share five easy ways you can let go of the "creativity perfection trap."

1. Focus on the Finish Line. What's most important about scrapbooking is sharing the story and your love for others. If that is always your main focus, then how you get there really doesn't matter. Here's a layout that's less than perfect, but that still tells the story that I wanted to convey. And while I'm not necessarily in love with the design, I have documented an important story.

2. Enjoy the Process. What's the point of scrapbooking, if you're not even enjoying it? I have had so many people apologetically explain that they gave up scrapbooking because they didn't enjoy it. That's completely ok. There are a million different ways to document your stories, and if scrapbooking isn't the way that brings you joy, then by all means let it go! Here's one layout that I did enjoy creating because it allowed me to play with some very "funky" colors and embellishments. This was a layout where I just played and had some fun:

3. Give Yourself Permission to Fail. If like a child learning to walk, we never got back up again we would never discover that we could run. Try new things. Make mistakes. It's how you learn, improve, and grow. (Plus making messes can be fun.) When I started dabbling in digital scrapbooking, I hardly knew what I was doing. Honestly I still have a lot to learn. But what I did learn were creative ways to add hybrid elements to my pages or to digitally create items for myself such as printables, home decor items, and more. While it took hours of investment to learn and lots and lots of mistakes, I am so grateful for the skills that I gained:

4. Perfection is Subjective. Who decides what "perfect" is anyway? You? Me? Some expert you follow? Learn to define your own definition of perfection. One of my favorite definitions I use for perfection is "complete." Once I reach a point, where I feel a project is complete then I relax and let go. If I judge my own work based on someone else's standards, then I fail to find my own style and voice. Imagine if Picasso had ignored his own inner voice and followed a more traditional style of art. Would we have appreciated his genius then? This is a layout from several years ago. And while the style of scrapbooking has changed, I still love it because it fits my idea of "completeness."

5. Learn to Love It. Just like when I'm trying to help a child recognize their own strengths, I need to encourage myself to do the same. When I look at a completed project, I want to see the good in what I've created. There's zero point in focusing on the negative. Remember #1 listed here. If I've either conveyed the story or shared my love for someone, then I've already accomplished everything I need to. Anything that goes above and beyond that is just icing on the cake. If I love a technique I've invented, great. If I really rocked the photo on my layout, then sweet! Take time to appreciate what you create and share it with others. I love this photo because between the photo and the journaling, I captured a funny little moment in my youngest son's life. Perfection complete!

No one will ever achieve perfection in this life. But if you try these five easy steps, you'll find that you're more pleased with what you do create.

As you read through the topics this week, take a few notes on how you can let go of those scrapbooking myths you've self-imposed. You'll find that you rediscover all that you loved about scrapbooking in the first place.

Want more? Continue to hop through this week's blog hop, by visiting the following blogs below:

August 4 - Paige Evans
A scrapbooking page SHOULD always have a story and lots of journaling
August 5 - Ashli Oliver
Scrapbook pages SHOULD be fast and simple to just get them done
August 6 - Jen Gallacher
Scrapbook pages SHOULD look perfect
August 7 - Melissa Shanhun
Digital scrapbook pages should look as much like a paper page as possible
August 8 - Ashley Calder
Scrapbooking SHOULD be done *this* way
August 9 - Caroline Davis
A scrapbooker SHOULD scrapbook FOR her family
August 10 - Lisa Harris
Scrapbooking SHOULD be a legacy for the scrapbooker's family
August 11 - Connie Hanks
A scrapbooker SHOULD follow the trends and be aware of what others think of her pages
A scrapbooker SHOULD scrapbook chronologically
August 13 - Nancy Gaines
Scrapbooking SHOULD be 12x12 traditional paper pages
August 14 - Cara Vincens
A scrapbooker SHOULD always be caught up


  1. Great post and great tips! I love when you share your old layouts!

  2. Great tips, Jen!! I'm a perfectionist too, in life, not in Scrapbooking. :) It's very freeing to say that out loud. Ah! When I started scrapbooking, I was a perfectionist, even in scrapbooking. I would try to eyeball the middle of something and it would end up on the left. I would try to eyeball the length, it would end up being too short. I would try to eyeball a straight cut, it would end up crooked. And then I DECIDED (I think that this is the key, decide!) that I wouldn't be a perfectionist anymore. My mantra when I scrapbook: That's just fine. However the outcome of each little steps I take to make my layout is, I tell myself that it's good enough and I build onto that. I find it very freeing too to look at artists work who don't use a trimmer and who don't use a ruler. That's another trick that helped me. :) I loved looking at all your layouts this morning. :)

    1. I am totally quoting you on my Facebook page. That is BRILLIANT that you decided not to be a perfectionist any more.

  3. Love this! I've always embraced the idea of being "perfectly imperfect"... I think it's the imperfection in my pages that make them PERFECT. :)

    1. Anonymous4:02 AM

      Oooo Ashley I love that!

  4. This is one of the BEST blog hops I've seen in a while. I have enjoyed each post so far and can't wait to check out the rest. Great layouts Jen, and I didn't see anything that didn't look right. Perfection is highly over-rated and pretty much unattainable, for mere mortals. :)

  5. Great article! I will read over and over and over again.

  6. What a great series! I suffer from issues of perfectionism as well. Love this! :)

  7. Such great advice! I tend to be a perfectionist with regard to my own work, but totally embrace imperfection in others. For example, I measure EVERYTHING (my grid ruler is my favorite tool), but when I teach classes, I have no problem with people "eyeballing" dimensions or taking off in their own directions. I need to take Marie's and your advice and decide to let go of perfectionism.

  8. Anonymous7:49 PM

    I feel like you are talking directly to me! I have been know to deconstruct pages time and time again to get it just right! Reprint photos that's me too, I hate to think how much ink I use getting a photo just so. Case in point, I spent the past Saturday at a crop working on one page only to come home after 7 hours and take 1/2 of it apart and recreate. One of my goals for this years is to learn to be a better hybrid scrapper using Photo Shop Elements. Currently taking Cathy Zielske's BPC Clean and Simple class. Oh the pressure we put on ourselves all the while trying to have fun! I am definitely going to take your advice to heart and try to let go of perfection. You are so spot on with this post, thank you!

  9. wow! love your pages!!

  10. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Hi, I commented the other day but I guess it got lost in cyber space :P
    As a recovering perfectionist this really hit home! I love hearing about your experience with it and thanks for sharing these amazing tips to helplet go of the perfectionist mindset! Awesome post!!

  11. Beautiful pages and perfectly stated points! I learned years ago that striving for excellence in the things I do makes it okay not to be perfect. I give it my best shot and, when I know I have done excellent work, I am happy with that. Because, as others have mentioned - what is perfection, anyway? And like I used to hear all the time, "done is better than perfect" - when it comes to scrapbooking (and cooking!) - isn't that true? Thanks for leading the pack on letting go!

  12. "Perfect" tips, Jen! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us! The whole "perfectionist" approach can become so paralyzing - it's nice to let it go and embrace being perfectly me instead of trying to be perfect for others :) xoxo

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    How to Stop Being a Perfectionist

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