The Done Manifesto for Digital Scrappers—Part 1

with 19 Comments

by Jen White

1402-blog-manifesto-img2I’m always on the search for good stuff (fun and wisdom) pertaining to real people (like you and me) who are in the business of memory keeping (specifically scrapbooking). So to make a long story short, I found an article by Melanie Pinola called Done Is Better Than Perfect.

“Ooooh. Two of my favorite words,” I thought—done and perfect. Then I kept reading, and my snarky grin slowly faded. A few clicks later it was clear that my persistence with perfection (which I previously perceived as priceless) was the very thing that was holding me back from claiming the ever elusive “done” in my life. Here’s an example:

True confession time . . . I have been painting my kitchen for two and a half years. The paint cans sit on the kitchen counter, wrapped in Press ‘n Seal, waiting for the next time I strive for “done.” But wait. Am I really striving for done? Or, perhaps the reason I’m not done is because I’m actually striving for perfection. Dang! I hang my head in shame. Wink.

I often find myself in the imbalance of Done vs. Perfect in the scrapbooking department as well. The perfectionist inside me endlessly tweaks layouts to the point where my progress in memory keeping is crippled. I’m a mess! Do I hear an “Amen?”

Here’s the good news: perfectionism is a choice we make. (I’m fairly certain I’m not alone.) Are you interested in being done instead of perfect? I am!! Read on.

Welcome to Part 1 of a new series entitled, The Done Manifesto for the Digital Scrapper.

Into the scene steps the Done Manifesto by Bre Pettis. It’s been quoted as being “a set of working rules based on a sense of urgency.” In the coming weeks we’ll take a look at one “Done rule” per week and relate it to life in the digital scrapbooking world. I’m hoping you’ll be inspired. I’m guaranteeing a smile-a-week and maybe even a giggle or two. Let’s start this week off with the first of Mr. Pettis’ Done rules.


The Done Manifesto Rule #1
There are three states of being: not knowing, action, and completion.

Dang. I wish we didn’t have to start out with a hard one! But, seriously. Chew on that statement for a few minutes. What does that mean to you? Can you relate it to digital scrapbooking?


Well, I’ll admit that this one took a little creative thinking on our part. (I called Sharon for help!) What do you think about this statement:

The Done Manifesto for Digital Scrappers Rule #1
There are three stages of a digital scrapper: learning, creating, and completion.

A pretty far stretch, but if you close one eye and balance on just one leg, it kinda works. Let’s think it through. These three steps are something you do over and over again—sometimes over a short period of time, sometimes over a long period of time.

Stage #1: Learning
You must learn how to use your scrapbooking software. No one knows everything about digital scrapbooking. Everyone has something to gain from learning. Personally, I hope to never stop learning. Here at Digital Scrapper, all our scrapbooking tutorials are based off of Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, and we have classes for both beginning and advanced digital scrapbookers.

Some people think they can skip Stage #1 and start with Stage #2. Learning really makes all the difference in the Scrapbooking stage. Forcing yourself to go through the Learning stage will transform you into a faster, better, and less frustrated scrapbooker.

Stage #2: Scrapbooking
This is the stage where you create scrapbook pages you love. Because you’ve already spent time learning HOW to use your software, the process of getting those photos and elements on a page will be more enjoyable to you. Do your best work on each scrapbook page. Avoid the trap of perfectionism.

Stage #3: Completion
Part of being a good digital scrapbooker is finishing a project and knowing when to quit. Don’t drag things out. Get that baby uploaded to your favorite online gallery! Hopefully that’s here!

Here are some wise words for more of the Digital Scrapper Team:

Susie RobertsSusie Roberts suggests using a deadline approach to each of the three stages. She says:
“Write up a timetable for each item and stick to it. For example, I would aim to do a tutorial every week (or more if you can fit it in) and practise it. Same goes for completing a page. Give yourself 1 day to get a page done and by day’s end, it’s finished! Deadlines are the container that you put your assigned task in. From this date, to that date is the container and the task must be finished within that timespan.”

linda-sattgast-48x48Linda Sattgast reminds us that not all scrapbook pages should be completed with the rules of the Done Manifesto. She says:
“I think there are times to lose yourself in a scrapbook page and simply create and have fun. That’s when you try new things and come up with cool ideas. (As a teacher, I really need this kind of activity or my well goes dry.) Most of the time, though, I just need to get it done. I have many scrapbooks that I’ve started and very few, comparatively, finished. Makes me sad. Just today I mentioned to my daughter that my book about our family trip to Germany in 2007 is about half done. It’s been 7 YEARS since that trip, for Pete’s sake! And just today I discovered I can’t find any of our photos from Prague. It’s a total mystery, since I have photos from every other city we visited. I had to download someone else’s Prague photos from! If I had only just gotten it done years ago…”

Darcy BaldwinDarcy Baldwin recommends journaling, sorting stash, and inspiration hunting as part of the Learning Stage. She says:
“Creation ebbs and flows and you have to go with the wave you’re on at the time. If you’re not creative at the moment, don’t force it. But give yourself some time to help you keep in the spirit without actually scrapping, which will help you be more productive when you do catch that scrapping wave. Journal, sort and tag photos, browse everyone else’s work. Then when the mood strikes, JUMP ON IT! Recently, I’ve been in a huge slump, and found a new love for scrapbooking with Project Life. It’s allowed me to be creative on a small scale, but more importantly, it has allowed me to appease my practical side and get pages done! I completed the entire 2013 year in about 7 hours. Pages that record our memories, capture our lives, and got them off my to-do pile to boot! Project Life may not be for everyone, but finding joy in your hobby is paramount! So shake things up, try something new, make the time!”

Now it’s your turn.

  • What’s your take on The Done Manifesto Rule #1?
  • How would you relate this to digital scrapbooking?

Rule #1  |  Rule #2  |  Rule #3 | Rule #4 | Rule #5 | Rule #6  |  Rule #7  |
Rule #8


jenwhite-48x48Author: Jen White |
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19 Responses

  1. Rosy
    | Reply

    “not knowing” for me is the part where I want to scrapbook & put a page together but I don’t know what the layout, colours and creative inspiration will be…
    “action” is when I buckle down and commit to a specific idea – more importantly: I let go of all the other creative possibilities (my paint supplies have been sitting in the corner of my downstairs bathroom for 2 months now 😉
    “completion” I always give myself a deadline for this and usually don’t use more than 2-3 hours for a 2 pages spread.

  2. Su Hall
    | Reply

    We all strive for perfection – it is our way. We’re rewarded for good work as children and all through our lives things come up that have to be done just so and we are rewarded with acceptance. So, is perfection being rewarded and/or accepted? I know we do it for ourselves, but, by what standard do we grade ourselves? I see scrapbook kits with torn papers in it and we talk perfection! LOL Anyone seen a wad of gum yet?

    As a granny, I felt it my duty to ‘maintain’ all the family photos. That is what got me interested in Scrapbooking. I acquired and started learning Photoshop. In 6 years, I have learned so much and laugh at my first layouts. But, it has been fun! Some things I learned, I have perfected them and use them all the time – like masking. Other things, well, I’ll either learn them, too, or do without. I just want to enjoy it all!

    I am always a day late and a dollar short, so, I am participating a week too late, but, thank you for this series!


  3. tmmarx
    | Reply

    This is so inspiring! I have pictures from so many places to which I have traveled and more to come. I am really happy to be made aware of What a lifesaver! Thanks so much.

  4. Angela Hoynes
    | Reply

    Seems good to me! I think it should be, for me anyway, Step one Learn one tutorial, Step two use what you have learnt, Step three complete. I say this because I find myself doing more Step One than Step Two, which means rarely getting to Step Three.

  5. Lynphd
    | Reply

    I am 65 years old and have been a scrapbooker for 40 years. I am always up to learning something new when it comes to my passion. Wasn’t sure I was going to like digital scrapbooking, but I really, really do. I am learning so much from this website.

    Now, on the Rule #1. One can not spend to much time learning and not creating or creating and not getting it done. It really helps to have a plan. When I get or purchase a new kit, I do a page with it during the first 10 days. The same with a new tutorial. I have plenty of pictures that have never been scrapped, so there is no problem finding them to go with just about every kit.

    I am going to be blogging for a craft site this month, and I will be talking about blending digital and traditional scrapbooking. This, I think, it my new passion!! I still like to handle paper and fabric and ribbons and all that stuff. & I love the technology of the Adobe Photoshop Elements. What fun times!

    • Lainey8
      | Reply

      YOU SAID:__ I am going to be blogging for a craft site this month,

      So, where is your”Site”? It should be very interesting, since you have “paper” scrapbook for so long! You must have great ideas with the “digital” – You go girl!!! You’re an inspiration:)

  6. donnal
    | Reply

    I can relate to all three statements by Susie, Linda and Darcy. First of all, I am not a “quick” scrapbooker – not with the traditional paper scrapbooking, nor the digital kind. I really have to push myself to not do too much too long. But one thing I enjoy about digi scrapping is taking the time, like Linda does, to create. I love the create part! Having a deadline does get me off my total create mode and onto the finished mode. I’m working on it!

  7. Nanci25
    | Reply

    I currently have 6 scrapbooks “in the works”; one for each of my grandchildren. My problem is that I want to scrap every photo I have of them. There is always a special face, a special event, a family activity or a photo one of my kids “facebooks” me, that is so special that I want to preserve it forever in a scrapbook page. My challenge is to decide which are the most important photos and which one’s will be fine saved to disc.
    I find that if I am keeping up with Digital Scrapper’s tutorials, challenges and blogs, I get more done in less time. New techniques and inspiration from my fellow scrappers keeps me from feeling like I’m working in a vacuum.
    I’ve also been making an attempt to go back to the beginning, 2006 for me, and re-watching the older videos and re-learning the older techniques.
    Having a “scrapbooking family” is definitely and asset!

  8. Mary Anne Chevalier
    | Reply

    I’ve always thought “perfect” is in the eye of the beholder. My family never notices the missing shadows, but loves the layout and memories they evoke. BUT, I can’t tell you how much ink I’ve used re-doing things after I see them in print!
    As a relatively new grandma, I started making a calendar page for my son when his 3 yr old daughter was born. I never have put together the ‘scrapbook’ that is on my list for her, but what a wonderful look back these monthly pages are! Now there are three, so it is a bit more challenging to get them done, but these are three deadlines I do manage to make.
    A year ago I finally finished a book I was making for my sons and husband on all the trips and vacations we took as a family before the boys left and started their own families. It was five years in the making and looking thru the pages you can see the progress I made the more I learned! They loved it all, regardless of my level of expertise or perfection.
    Thanks for the inspiration to get some of those other projects completed!

  9. joansmor
    | Reply

    When I first signed up for the monthly kit the lessons seemed beyond me. I created just a few pages. Then I signed up for the My Story the first time and struggled to get a set of pages done each month. SO I made a bargain I would do at least on video tutorial or one newsletter tutorial each week, I would post to the My Story every month, I would create a new calendar for my office each month. I did it for the most part. I haven’t done one book yet. I told myself recently just learn now and when you retire in a few years you can finish the books. That will happen Right! But I sometimes have the opposite problem of perfection. I get so excited to be done I don’t see the errors until I have posted them on line or shared with friends. Oh, well, no one is perfect. You can only be the best that you can be.

  10. Lorna Schreck
    | Reply

    I’ve been following Ali Edwards’ “One Little Word” for the last few years. My word for 2014 is accomplish, because I get too busy, or wait for the perfect time to get projects done so I wanted to focus on accomplishing projects. Done is just another word for accomplish – how poignant that you would bring forth this Manifesto. I am eagerly awaiting part two!

  11. Frenchie
    | Reply

    I totally agree. I am a veritable mess when it comes to getting DONE. Two years ago, I started digital scrapbooking with a very basic idea about how my software worked. PSE 10 provided templates I could use to complete a ‘Flat Stanley Visits Chicago’ book for a niece in Massachusetts. Then I discovered digital scrapbooking websites, classes and kits. I finished a few projects for various classes (finishing and submitting homework was required to get the next lesson) and even upgraded my software twice, but kept signing up for classes and accumulating more stuff. I haven’t yet finished all of the Art of Blending classes and have only viewed, not attempted, the Shadows Class exercises. It is time I set timetables for everything I am doing (as I do for preparing meals), forget the ‘Forever Access’ benefit that helps me procrastinate, stop looking for more and more techniques and materials to create the perfect layout, and get things DONE. Step # 1: Add to my list of things to do – a new #1, set realistic timetables for everything on the list and stick to the timetable.

    • lilola
      | Reply

      This is sooo me!

  12. Bubby
    | Reply

    I can definitely relate to everything I have read on this blog.
    A while ago I did up a series of pages to include in a particular video editing project which I may say is half finished. My problem is I tend to be very critical of my own work and never seem to be completely happy with it, were family
    members and other people are. After I had done the blending class I decided to go back and re do those pages, and now after
    the shadow class, am not happy with my shadows so guess what back to a re look at those pages. So consquently I never get anything finished in a hurry. I should definitely take Susie’s
    idea of setting a time frame and stick to it, and stop being so
    critical of my work, now that I do need luck with it.

  13. sheila king
    | Reply

    I have this posted above my workshop bench: “Things done perfectly have no style because they have no idiosyncrasies.” This helps remind me that they will never be “perfect”, but they have my “unique” stamp on them and get they will get finished!

  14. Vicki Spencer
    | Reply

    I relate to everything I’ve read in this blog. I have finished books that I look at with my new knowledge and cringe at the shadows, etc. But others look at them and see the pictures and journalling and love them! So I try to not be so critical and enjoy what I’ve finished. One thing that keeps me on track is a commitment to give scrapbooks of the year’s events to all my family for Christmas. They are usually 100 pages long, so I have to keep up with scrapping events or I can’t get them done in time to print and wrap them to put under the tree. I enjoy using the new techniques from the classes to create these pages and sometimes I’ll redo previous pages, but I have to get them DONE!

  15. feramaz
    | Reply

    This article really struck a nerve. What I took away from it is what a procrastinator I am. Last June I took a trip to Paris with a girlfriend. Her camera was stolen. I decided to make books of our trip with my photos. I got halfway finished then took the wonderful Art of Blending class. I had to go back and redo many of the layouts. The old buildings were just begging for blending techniques. Then I took the Easy Page Design class. Very helpful. Again, went back to redo several. (ha! many, lots, a whole bunch) Now I’m taking the Custom Mastery Shadow class and you guessed it. I don’t have shadows on any of those first layouts. How could that be.
    My dilemma now is to accept my current level, quit taking classes. Fix what I can and just finish the book. Or, as suggested, don’t try to make them perfect and just finish. (scary)
    The learning is the fun part for me. I enjoy the classes most. This being my first scrapbook, I have a lot to learn.
    I think to start with I will try Suzie’s suggestion of using a timetable to get it finished. I do well with deadlines.

    wish me luck

  16. Kathy S
    | Reply

    I think we all hit “walls” and it’s good to stop, reflect, and then MOVE ON! I have been so wrapped up in another project that it has taken quite a lot of time away from the creation of scrapbooking!! Relearning and revisiting some of the tutorials is like opening presents once again. It’s fun and exciting to begin again…and…again!!

  17. Kellielinn
    | Reply

    This blog is helpful to me as I’m working on my son’s book. I go back and look at the layouts I’ve done and I always wonder: ‘Is it just right?, I like it but will he?, should I tweak it some more, leave it alone or just start over??” So, you’ve inspired me to leave them as they are and get this project wrapped up in time for graduation!

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