When will I Learn?

Hey friends, Cheryl here with some rambling thoughts I hope will make sense to you, and help me make sense of my goals and creative plans for 2018. I am (for the third time) taking the One Little Word® workshop with Ali Edwards.

(Head here to see older OLW posts.)

My word this year is learn, and I have a lot to, well, learn. During a text conversation with Brande over the Christmas break, I realized/admitted/owned up to why 2017 had been an off year, creatively. I was struggling to finish December Daily® – or, more accurately, struggling to find the motivation and desire to finish. I knew I’d made less layouts in 2017, planned less, art journaled less, and generally just spent less time on the things I love.

I told Brande: “It may be time to think about whether I am doing DD because I want to or because I think I “should”. I struggled last year and this year, so maybe this has run its course for me? … I’m realizing that a lot of what I worked on in 2017 wasn’t authentic; it was what I thought people wanted to see or what might get me on DTs, and that’s not good.”

These thoughts forced me to look back critically at my year, and I’m not proud of what I discovered. For a person who praises and preaches authenticity, realizing I had forgotten to practice it in my creative life was a nice kick in the gut. I thought about my motives over the year, my choices, and my influences.

I dove head first into the world of traveller’s notebooks and was convinced I’d find my planner peace … as soon as I got a Foxy Fix, no wait, a Chic Sparrow. But Shop Jot is made closer to home … Oh, now everyone on Instagram has a Scriver Creek … But what about a Pelle Studio? Or The Planner Society? I was in deep, and entirely too invested in having the latest and greatest.

(I want to be very clear here; I mean no disrespect to any of those companies, or any that may be mentioned later. Each has its loyal fans and its not so loyal fans, and that’s not the point of this post.)

I followed all the Etsy shops that “everyone” liked, bought all the buffalo plaid and coffee stickers (to be honest, I do love those) and made set ups and spreads and page layouts that would, I hoped, get “noticed”. (By whom, is the serious question I am asking now?)

In fairness, I didn’t see this at the time; I was buying products I thought I liked, that I planned to use, and was creating things outside my comfort zone. What I wasn’t doing was being me. I’ve long joked that the florals and girly patterns I love in my planner are not something I can ever make work on scrapbook pages. So why try? Why work against what I know to be my style and my taste? So that someone on instagram might see it?

Often my motives were good; I wanted to show people what was possible with one planner kit, or create a 12×12 layout with products designed for smaller spreads. I wanted so badly to be like all the people I look up to who have made their careers in scrapbooking, planning and crafting that, as Brené Brown would say, I hustled for my worthiness. I hustled hard. And I forgot why I enjoy this. I found some amazing products, companies, and inspiration along the way, but what good is any of that if this desire to “keep up” sucks all the fun out of crafting?

With all that existential rambling out of the way, let’s focus on what I will learn in 2018.

I will learn:
To buy what speaks to me, and brings me joy;
To buy what I need, and think critically about what I want;
To use what I have;
To make what I love;
To let go of what other’s think;
To create for creating’s sake, not to be seen;
The value of my work, even if only to me;
My style;
My likes;
My priorities; and
That my creative path is mine and does not have to follow/copy/imitate/adhere to/ anyone else’s path or rules.

Thanks for listening, friends. Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see where 2018 takes us all.

~ Cheryl

Scrapbooker + Story teller + Historian = Scrapstorian. Are you a Scrapstorian?


  1. Love this post CA! Great inspiration to all of us… I believe you will be much happier with messy fingers than you will be with a mess of supplies!! Xo! Go get messy! and lets see the insta posts of those paint stained, glue sticky fingers again!

  2. Cheryl – what an awesome post! Your goal of being all you and all authentic in 2018 has been kicked off with a big ole bang (insert fireworks GIF here!) I love this post. Thank you for sharing your awesome self realizations and for encouraging the rest of us through your story to also just be ourselves! I love the goals that you have with OWL Learn – sounds fantastic and I cannot wait to see all you get up to in 2018!

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