Midweek Muse: Photo Anxiety.

Note: This post was intended for yesterday (Wednesday) but I got busy and forgot to post it. It’s still “midweek” isn’t it?

Guess what arrived at my house yesterday?

Not these books.
These books arrived at Allison’s house last week, and yes, this means she has passed the test of true friendship.
As in, Could I arrange for delivery of 300 books to your house, and would you be willing to ship them around the world?”

but, I digress …

What I received yesterday, was two disks with all the electronic files for these books–It’s official then–I now own my own work.
This feels really, really good.

And since my work includes the title, Photo Freedom, I thought I’d post a midweek muse that could be called Photo Anxiety.

These are mostly-unfinished thoughts that have been lurking in my “draft folder” for several weeks …

There are too many scrapbookers not telling their story because they are sinking in an ocean of excess photos.

We tend to assign an immense amount of value to photos because in the past, they have been rare and therefore extremely valuable. In other words, 12,000 photos are not as valuable as twelve. Stop and think about that for a minute. If you had only twelve photos from your childhood, they would automatically (regardless of their quality) be valuable–they are all you have.
12, 000 photos are not individually valuable, until you assign value to a few of them.

Excess photos create an environment of anxiety.

Creativity requires full engagement. To connect to that most essential place inside of you where emotion and memory come together to find expression, you really can’t feel anxious or distracted or overwhelmed.

Anxiety does not allow full engagement. You can hardly take a deep breath when you feel anxious, let alone find the calm and focus to fully engage!

I believe the antidote to all this anxiety is (quite simply) action. We need to learn to take action, in small chunks of time with small groups of images. We need to develop the skill of selecting a relatively small percentage of our digital images and then we need to assign value to them–somehow make them different from the rest. Make them rare.

There seems to be an ongoing debate over the best and most efficient and safest way of protecting and preserving our excess collections of digital images. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that backing up and archiving are not important. I am saying that investing inordinate amounts of time, effort and money into the process is not necessary. Backing up and archiving excess photos is like treating a symptom (the pain) rather than finding a cure. I really believe this.

The source of our anxiety and symptomatic pain (for many) is the fact that we haven’t assigned meaningful value to enough of our photos. We haven’t told enough of our story to find that sense of peace and calm that we crave.

I get that our thousands of digital images represent our lives–even in it’s mundane-ness. I get that it is extremely cool that we have digital technology that affords us a collection of such images. I get that they are priceless. Ok, actually I don’t get that they are priceless. I think they have the potential to become priceless, but really outside of the context of personal perspective, they are just images. Some of them are beautiful and elicit wonderful feelings of emotion, but really, until we pair them with some kind of story, they will fail to find any lasting value beyond our lifetime. I know technology is constantly unveiling new ways of interacting with and appreciating photos and I know that my children and their children will embrace technology with far greater ease than I do, but they will not value my 12,000 photos–even if they are backed-up, archived, organized and tagged!

This could become a long, rambling and nonsensical essay if I keep going, but I feel so strongly that we understand that backing up and archiving isn’t going to solve the photo anxiety we feel. The anxiety we feel stems from our inability to take action that feels meaningful and it stems from our inability to fully engage and go to the place of authentic creativity with “some” of our images, so that we generate gratitude and energy sufficient to deal with the ongoing onslaught as we take more!

Is this making sense?

I’ve listened to several recent Paperclipping Roundtable episodes (which I so enjoy) and this topic has come up more than once. There is always a good discussion, but no one has come out and said, the cure to all of this anxiety is in fact, SCRAPBOOKING. If you are know you are telling your most important stories, the photo anxiety turns into photo freedom (really.)

If you are currently feeling a paralyzing anxiety, do the following, before Saturday night.

Sit down at your computer,
with a timer set to 15 minutes
and sign on your back, “Don’t bug me now!”

Scroll through images until you find
5 pictures that make you want to run next door
and borrow a cup of sugar, just so you can say,
“Oh and by the way, look at these great pictures I took …”

Scrapbook these pictures.
Don’t worry that you are behind.
Don’t worry about where these pages might go.
Just scrapbook these photos.

I know it’s hard to believe that scrapbooking five photos could make a difference if you are years “behind,” but if you forget about all the crazy expectations even once a week and just tell one story, you will have recorded 52 stories in one short year. Wow. I’ll venture a guess that 52 stories is far more stories than any previous generation in your family line has recorded.

If you an additional dose of healthy and liberating perspective on this subject, register for my  FREE Start Here with Stacy class, I believe it will help.
btw, there are two great books you can read too.
They be available, here on my website, in just a few days!

and please, share your thoughts …


  1. Although I’m trying to get us packed for a quick weekend trip out of town, I’ve decided to take your advice and scrap photos today. Ok so I’ll have to multi-task but I’m going to do it – today – before we leave tomorrow am. (Maybe I’ll have to eat lunch while I work – but I’m sure it will be worth it.) THANKS (as always) for the inspiration – and the challenge to just DO IT!

  2. Stacy, you are so right! I love to frequent antique shops and flea markets, and I can’t tell you how many pictures and photo albums I see for sale. I feel sad because someone’s photos – which must have been important to them – are no longer in their families. The stories and names behind them will remain unknown. So just scrapbook those photos!

  3. Congratulations on owning the rights to your books! If I didn’t already own both of them, I would be ordering them asap.

  4. Laurie T says:

    I already own both of your books and I let friends borrow them all of the time. I always write down who I loaned them to so that I make sure I get them back. I still use these as a reference on a regular basis. In fact, last summer when I was off from work (I’m an elementary school secretary) I organized most of my photos using your guideline in Photo Freedom. I have always LOVED your philosophy of “scrapping out of order” and I’ve been scrapping that way for years now. :) I’m always amazed when I go to a crop and see all these scrappers stuck in – “but I have to scrap these in order!” They just don’t realize how freeing it is to just grab some pictures, write a short story about what’s happening in them, and put them in a book! It doesn’t even have to be fancy. I’ve reverted back to the old style of simple pages – I tend to put them together a lot quicker. Which reminds me…I really miss Simple Scrapbooks!!

  5. Lindsay says:

    First of all, yup its still mid week. Don’t stress so much about your blogging being on time. Take your own advice and not worry so much about being “on time” ANYTHING you have to say at ANY TIME is worth reading. No kidding. Just don’t stop.

    Secondly, I have to say THANK YOU for defining that weird feeling I’m having. You’ve nailed it (again!) Anxiety is the perfect way to define what I’ve felt in my gut. Not only do you give my fears a name, you provide solutions! You’re so smart and brave and AWESOME. Thanks Stacy.

  6. ari macias says:

    STACY! i am so happy that you finally own your work again. i had to change the way i scrapped recently and switched over to digital. The Big Picture and Photo Freedom are the ONLY two books i kept when i cleaned out my space. i adapted the LOM system for my books and am SO happy i did. this is my summer to get it all done. thanxs for all the inspiration.

  7. The most important part of this post was that it made me feel as though, maybe, perhaps, it might be okay to discard the 42 photos of the Borgatta’s water fountains that I took – AND PRINTED – but never scrapped ’cause really, it’s just water, and I already scrapped all the fun stories that happened in Vegas…
    I sort of feel like, maybe, perhaps, I might be able to actually just keep a couple of them, representative photos in the “where we’ve gone” category, and not all 42!
    Thanks, Stacy! And I have both your books, too, or I’d be ordering them!!!

  8. I cannot wait until I can get those books in my hot little hands!!! CONGRATS!! This totally makes perfect sense to me! I know that I’ve tried several approaches to managing my photos and none of them has completely worked for me. I love this assignment…tho the big boy cannot yet read and so will totally ignore the sign on my back. I wonder if I can distract him with legos???? hmmmmm…

  9. Thayer Bentley says:

    Yea! I am wanting to buy both of your books, can you post the information where to purchase them?

  10. Thank you for the push Stacy. Five photos is five more than I have done most weeks and sadly my scrapping is always about or for someone else. Time to focus on me :)

  11. I just wrote a post about this yesterday. I’ve gone through LOM twice now (The first time through was interrupted by a death in the family and the attendant guilt that I had not a single page about her, which I was able to do by the end of that first LOM) and I love using it, because it makes me so much more EFFICIENT. I can find photos to illustrate any story fairly quickly, and my category drawers are jumping off points for more story inspiration. I have done three LOADs with Lain, and successfully completed all of them, so in the past year I have scrapbooked over 100 (much more) pages. Or should I say stories. Because that’s why I scrapbook. I never got caught on the chronological bandwagon, or the “I should” train of thought. But finding what I wanted to document took forever before I implemented LOM.

    On another note, I am so so glad you’ve got your books available again. I recommend them to my students every time I teach introductory scrapbooking. And it looks like Wendy and Aby’s book is available too. Yay! Are Cathy Z’s still available? Cos that would be a reference trifecta :)

    oh, and if you want to see what I wrote last night: http://heathersdragonsden.blogspot.com/2010/07/lom-as-attitude-adjuster.html

  12. Amanda M. says:

    I really could not agree with you MORE! I love Paperclipping, but one recent discussion included things like (a) not deleting ANY images because one day you could do something with them, even blurry ones, because the future may have technology to “fix them”, (b) a tagging system, and a rating system…. on and on. Who has time for this!? Let’s scrap some pictures and not worry if we tag it with keywords “swimming”, “Mary” and “school” and rate it a 2, no wait, a 1, not wait a 2. The amount of time and energy being spent on this is just crazy to me. I also have stopped reading certain blogs because of the utter negativity some people put out there with comments like: “this photo isn’t perfect, but I like it anyway…” with a sense of guilt and sadness that their photos aren’t “enough.” Since when are all women supposed to be professional photographers? Do we need “professional” level photos of the pizza we ate for dinner last night? Or, “this page isn’t that great, but I like it…” What is that?! I am a 2010 LOM alum, I am a hyrbid scrapper, I don’t tag, I don’t rate. I upload, delete the bad ones, put the best in highlights folders and print them. Then I SCRAP! Also, I love digital photography, and it’s ease, but honestly, why are people taking 10,000-12,000 photos a year?! Of what?! Why??? It’s TOO MUCH. Excess, over-kill. I doubt I take more than 700 in a year. I don’t need 50 photos from one day. I don’t. I am not sure anyone does. Stacy, you gave me Photo Freedom a long time ago and it’s the only sane approach out there. Thank you. :)

  13. I already own both the books and have really enjoyed them so far. Even in the first flip through of some of my loose photos and sorting them into the categories, I found some cool page ideas – like this HUGE tree that was in my backyard growing up. It was wide and low to the ground and great for climbing. I found two pictures so far – one of the tree with streamers on it for one of my old birthday parties, and one of it covered in ice from the ice storm that eventually killed the tree. I need to find if my mom has one of all the kids up in the tree, as we often were to complete the layout. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Oh my gosh Carrie — have you read the children’s book, Our Tree Named Steve?
      You would LOVE it!

  14. such a timely post. I have begun to feel just, I dunno, droll? I also have not scrapped in quite some time and I can’t help but think that the two are related. and now I Have decided to go back and revisit your LOM class that I started but then ran out of steam midway. I feel a creative spark again.

    One thing though that I have noticed when going back through pictures, is that I don’t have a lot of GREAT pictures of anything. This is also something I need to work on.

    Anyway, thanks for the soapbox post. good stuff, indeed.

  15. I’m so excited for you, owning your books:-) I can’t wait to order them. Thanks for the inspiration and the push to tell our story.

  16. betty koch says:

    Stacy, your blog today speaks to me…(and I’m sure many others too). I feel the anxiety of having the photos… just had a new grand-son 6 weeks ago. Of course the photos are both awesome and overwhelming. I get anxious because I haven’t kept up with my list of what I had hoped to have scrapped. Then I look at my pile pf pictures. My ideas are running around in my head and I want to free up the creativity.
    YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE ANXIETY! It is a block… and I know that taking a deep breath is the answer to finding the calm and allowing the creative juices to flow.
    thanks Stacy for the “A-HA MOMENT

  17. Stacy – this is just awesome! I scoured the planet (ok, via the web) to get copies of both of these in the last year – and LOVE them! so happy that others will more easily get copies at some point (soon). You continue to be an inspiration.

    (do find a way to make getting the “process flow” poster out to people – I have it tacked (gently) to my scraproom wall!)

  18. Ashleigh says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your insight on what’s really ailing us :) I definitely feel as if I’m behind–those baby albums are just not filling up w/pages. I guess I’ll have to follow your advice and pick 5 photos and tell the story.

  19. Laura B says:

    I’m so glad that you officially own your books! I’ll be the first one to buy Photo Freedom…have been looking for it for years! Love the thoughts shared today!

  20. Stacy!

    Two Thumbs Up!


    It is about time someone just put it out there plain and simple! Get over your anxiety by scraping something! Anything! After reading the big picture I was able to let go of all my self imposed rules and just create beautiful stories about my family! No my pages are not perfect but I love them and they bring back memories and create feelings of love, value, and happiness to my children.

    There are no mistakes in Scrapbooking!

    • Also wanted to say that it is fantastic that you have a plan for people who can’t let go of their anxiety or rules or whatever keeps them from capturing those precious memories. No everyone can let go as readily as I did! It is fantastic to have an approach that helps us to progress as scrappbookers, papercrafters, people. It is by far better to do something then nothing and you have given us a place to start in all the overwhelming anxiety of being stuck. Even for someone like me who isn’t stuck it is good to take a new idea and try it. It really get the creative juices flowing! ;) Thanks again!

  21. So happy you own your work now.
    And thanks for the thoughts. I don’t consider myself a scrapbooker, but I do want to somehow document life and I can put a picture on a page and tell a story about it. It may not be cute or creative, but it will be there for memories. Thanks for the push to do just that at whatever level we’re at.

  22. Congratulations! Now you have much more control of your life.

    As for being photo paralyzed. When I had a film camera I would scrapbook quite regularly. I made a point of it and knew exactly how much was to be done and could clearly see what photos I had to work with (I was still selective).

    Since going digital in 2001 I have hardly scrapbooked at all. I quickly was overwhelmed with the sheer volume of photos on my computer and not wanting to print them out or knowing exactly how was the best way (is my perfectionism showing), so I did nothing.

    Now 9 years later I am slowly working on my now totally out of control number of photos. I have taken to heart that any work done is better than no work done. It is my project for the 2nd half of 2010 and 1st half of 2011 to sort every photo on my computer. Following your guidelines of a highlight folder and favorite photos. I can’t wait to see what comes from it.

    Thanks for inspiring me again.

  23. CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so excited to have a RELIABLE resource to send friends/family to for buying this book. That $44 USED copy on Amazon was just not cutting it!!!!!!! ;)

    And YES! I totally agree with everything you say. I have to tell you, though, that sitting and DOING is SOOOOO HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even 5 photos seems to take me HOURS to accomplish. I think the distraction of my 4-year-old is the problem, but it’s just SO DISCOURAGING sometimes! HOWEVER…what I will do this week is perservere on my WEEK IN THE LIFE project, which I started in April! My goal: glue down photos for LAST DAY of the week, so I can start the journaling process!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the inspiration, Stacy. HEY! Today’s Thursday!!!!! THAT MEANS…LOM COMMUNITY EMAILS IS WAITING FOR ME!!!! How exciting!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!

  24. Thank you Stacy, you always have a way of helping me put things into words and perspective. These thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for a while too, but not quite as succinctly. I totally believe everything you say and I’m going to try to scrapbook those 5 pictures this next week, starting today. I’m also not going to let my failure to get EVERYTHING done BEFORE I scrap them get in my way. Maybe you should do a post about that sometime. My scrapbooking takes a back seat sometimes because there is so much other stuff that has to be done (never enough time in a day to do it all). Plus others notice if my house isn’t clean, but they don’t notice if I’ve scrapbooked today.

    • Desiree says:

      I totally agree! how do you let go of the nagging feeling you get when the house needs to be picked up first etc… I feel like I can’t do anything in my scrap room until the house is at least picked up… but by then I’m not in the mood to scrapbook and just either lay on the couch or go to bed. LOL

  25. Stacy – I so agree with this! I’ve been scrapbooking for about 11 years now – but for years and years I felt this overwhelming anxiety about so many things. Not using the right photos, scrapping a layout and then finding BETTER photos, using a product and then realizing I should have saved it for a better, more perfect layout.
    In the past few years, I have done two things that have made a HUGE impact in my ability to scrapbook – and my albums prove it. I now have 10 12X12 albums full or almost full of layouts. Not perfect layouts but done! And my family and friends LOVE looking at them, I love looking at them, and I have such peace knowing that if something should happen to me tomorrow – those people will have memories of me and things we did. And nobody else cares if they are perfect or not!!

    Those two things -
    First, I took your LOM class and have completely embraced your idea of spending at least 15 minutes a day in your scrapbook room working on whatever needs to be worked on. Some days I put up supplies, reorganize and clean. Some days I do layouts. Some days I just sit there and look at my pictures or at the layouts I’ve done. But it keeps me focused on the present and keeps me from becoming overwhelmed. And I miss it when I don’t do it! I’m still working on some aspects of the class but that 15 minutes a day made total sense to me. And it really is doable.
    Second, my sister and I have made a decision that we completely share all photos on CD’s with each other – she has a CD of every picture I have or have taken in the past few years and has also put them on her computer. And vice versa – I have hers. So that is our back-up. If something happens at my house, I can get the pics from her. We swap CD’s once a month or so and we BOTH have great peace of mind about it.

  26. Stacy ~ I really appreciate your post today! I have inherited literally thousands of photos from my parents and grandparents (not to mention hundreds of slides from the 1950s-1970s) and they – along with my own 40+ years of photos (film and digital) have me really feeling overwhelmed! I cannot bear to part with any of the heritage photos, of course, nor my own and my (4) children’s childhood photos.

    That said, your post today has inspired me to start recent and go backwards through all my digital photos and select just the “very best” (in terms of emotion – not necessarily quality) from each month and delete the rest. Thankfully, I’ve saved several years’ worth organized by year, then month. Some months may have a greater number of “best” pics than others, but if I concentrate only on those, then that feeling of being overwhelmed will be lessened quite a bit.

    At least, I *HOPE* so…!

    Hugs from Alaska ~ kimB

  27. To answer your question – YES, this is making sense!! I am so thankful for your thoughts on this, especially during a week in which I’ve found myself feeling immensely behind on my scrapbooking.

    Yet, in a contradictory and amusing way, the one thing I’ve found to be most helpful in managing the size of my photo archive and deciding which pictures I consider most important is being “behind” in my scrapbooking. (I know, it’s crazy.) When I sit down to pick which pictures from an event I want to print and scrapbook, having a few (or more) months between when the event happened and when I’m scrapbooking helps me realize which pictures I really, truly want to keep – in other words, having that mental and emotional distance makes my filtering process so much simpler, because some will automatically stand out as “the pictures I must keep and use” from the event in question.

    Thanks again for the reminder to think and work simply. =)

  28. Monika Wright says:

    amen. I’ve been thinking to myself lately that photo-taking has become a chore because I take so many. The download’s not bad, but the keywording and deleting and cropping and “fixing” is what takes time. Because of this, I have not put keywords on a single photo in 2010! It’s a chore and I like photography way too much for it to feel like a chore. I’ve been stepping back from all the photo-taking and trying to enjoy the moment. I still have too many photos, but I don’t have to download as many, ha.

  29. SO so happy that you have the rights to your books!! Now you can share your information with even more lucky ladies!

    Scrapbooking is my hobby. I want my girls to keep their favourite pages. I want them to feel no obligation to keep every.single.page. I have ever made. My grandma crochets tablecloths and afaghans, it’s her hobby. She’s given us a few but I’m sure when she passes we will not keep every single thing she ever made.
    Relax and enjoy your creative pastime.

  30. Susan M says:

    Congrats on “owning” your own books! They are wonderful publications, and I recommend them quite a bit, now people will be able to get them! :)

    I’ve also been listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable (thanks to you!), and I just listened to an episode where Izzy wondered why scrapbooking seemed to be the only hobby that is filled with guilt. Other hobbies don’t seem to inspire the guilt that we scrapbookers have so often imposed on ourselves. Ali Edwards talked about it, and said that she is so not interested in the guilt, and that is truly my quote of the day. I am also not interested in the guilt, but it’s taken me a while to get there. Your LOM class helped a lot, and I can now say goodbye to the guilt forever! :)

    Thanks for your post today, helping banish the guilt for everyone!

  31. SueinMtVernon says:

    Oh, you are a wonder — woman!! You have this unique ability to put into words a concept that is so simple, yet most of us make it so difficult. I love my digital camera, but it is a curse, too, because I am now able to take millions of photos instead of being limited to the 24 images on a roll of film. The digital age has put so much pressure on me to make decisions on pre-processing, size of print, delete or keep, etc. Thanks to May Flaum and her Camp Scrap class, I am choosing pictures that I have longed to scrap for years – pictures that are almost 20 years old from my film days – and using them for my “camp” layouts. I’m loving it! Thank you, Stacy, for LOM and thank you for BPS and all its wonderful class offerings and teachers – I just can’t rave about all of it enough!

  32. Kary in Colorado says:

    Wonderful post, Stacy, as usual. I am on a road trip, but I promise to scrap a photo or two digitally while I’m sitting at the beach house or at a hotel. I love that I can do a page even without all my wonderful supplies! I have been telling all my relatives this week that the photos are only illustrations to our STORIES, and the hundreds of photos will only be treasured if they are accompanied by stories! Thanks for this reminder to get the stories down and lose the perfectionism.

  33. Candace B. says:

    I no longer “worry” about the photos (which are stored by year and subject) and since I have boys I am not sure how much they will ever really care. But I do make albums when I know others will enjoy them..such as sharing the National Jamboree photos with the next group going this summer..the parents loved that album. And their Eagle Court of Honor album will be of interest I think if they have kids someday. And their baby album. And an ancestry album (first one given to my brother). I will be doing vacation albums at some point (probably for me) and a Senior year album for the boys. I figure these are worthy goals and if I accomplish these I’ll be good. I also started an album about me and I may do one for my wedding (27 years ago). I think realistically it’s all I am willing to do right now. But the good news is that we have the pictures but maybe not the whole story since I did not journal in the old days. I hope to journal, after the fact, in the album about me. My dad did that and I typed it up and gave it out. It was interesting reading about WWII and the Great Depression. If I have grand kids they will read what I wrote someday!

  34. My thoughts are this. I *know* that scrapbooking just one page a week would relieve lots of photo anxiety. I *know* that 15 minutes committed to the cause helps. I know because I’ve applied a similar action to housekeeping, a la Flylady. And it worked and works. Great advice for overwhelmed scrapbookers, Stacy.

    Btw, I’m wondering if anyone is like me. First, I have no interest in digi scrapbooking, but that’s just me and I know that’s not unique (I do just a tiny bit of hybrid, occasionally adding text to photos or printing journaling or a rare title, but that’s about it.) I’m referring more to the fact that I do not worry about archiving or backing up at all (well okay, not much). I upload nearly all my photos to Snapfish for printing. That’s the extent of my backup. I don’t use external hard drives or flash drives or burn to discs or anything else. And really, it doesn’t bother me either. I really feel my own sense of FREEDOM in not worrying about my photos beyond printing them.

    Hopefully, they’re safe at Snapfish (I’m not naive though.) And if they go out of biz, HOPEFULLY they’ll give us the option to claim our photos somehow before the site shuts down (the way Photo Island did years ago.) And if not? I’ve never (ever) reprinted any photo from a negative so I guess I’m really okay with it. Is that weird???

    • Wow, just reread my post and wish I could delete it. Hubs was playing with our kids in the background as I tried to type my comments. As such, uh,…they make little sense, lol. :) My point was, great advice from Stacy (it has worked for me with my Flylady routines and I’m confident it would work with scrapbooking “clutter” as well.) And I have no idea what my digi point was (sheesh, where was I going with that?) other than to perhaps say I’m not current on trends, I suppose. Not current with the rise in digi. Not current with the rise in archiving/backing up photos. But it’s all about personal scrapbooking freedom, right? And I do have a sense of that.

  35. Mid week – you bet (although sliding gently down to the weekend, thank you very much) – Congrats on owning your own work! Huzzah! And thank you so very much for yet again helping to put into prospective photos – and all parts of this great hobby that sometimes cause anguish. I’ve been forever a fan of scrap what you love. Thanks again!

  36. The too-many-photos thing really resonates with me, which is why I delete freely (as well as order prints about quarterly and scrap regularly). Thank you for sharing!

  37. Congratulations on owning the rights to your books!

    I agree with you completely about the need to “add value” to the pictures to make them “valuable.” My theory is that even if all our software and hardware was still around and working 70 years from now (no way!), my family is not going to sit down at Great-Grandma Laura’s 70-year-old computer and click on the appropriate tags or star rating to know which ones are valuable. However, we have my grandmother’s scrapbook from her college years (early 20th century) and my grandfather’s from the same time period — on paper, in darned good shape.

  38. Rhonda Z says:

    I read your blog everyday. I thouroughly enjoy it! The beginning of your blog made me laugh out loud! I read it to my coworkers.

    I read your scrapbooking advice but am very frightened of my photo storage cabinet and the gazillion digital images on our computers. Today, I am taking your advice and scrapping 5 photos. I am painfully FAR behind in documenting our lives. Thanks, Stacy.

  39. Stacy, congratulations on owning the rights to your books–that must feel really great!

    I so agree with you about the photos. I do actually back mine up quarterly onto CD, but other than that, my feeling is that I’ve scrapbooked the most important ones to me (apart from the most recent ones sitting on my desk waiting to be scrapped) and if I lose the rest, so be it. I have VERY few photos from my childhood because most of them were lost when my parents had a house fire a few years ago. Those I do have are extra special to me. However, even if I didn’t have them, I still have my own memories of my childhood which I can record and if I need pictures there’s always the good old internet…you can find so many images of things these days, including photos from my childhood era and including photos of me which other people have put on the internet (class photos, etc.)!

    When I was a child, nobody worried about having copies of photos in case something happened to the originals. So it seems to be a bit of a paradox that we worry about having several backups of our photos when millions of digital images are available at our fingertips!

  40. I took your class and signed up for some other at BPS that yes, were free, and then I signed up and paid for another. I find that I get more done when I take a class. I’ve done three or four other classes online with other artists and I plan on take more in the future. I’m one of those people who needs a nudge of direction to get my creativity started. Take Stacy’s class and get your nudge. You’ll find yourself wanting to take more. :)

  41. Kelly Driver says:

    Can’t wait to get The Big Picture. I have Photo Freedom and took LOM this last session and loved it! Congratulations and I’ll be checking back to get my copy.

  42. Heather P. says:

    I love you Stacy! (Yes, that was a little gush.) :) I teach a monthly scrap workshop where we create a summary layout from the previous month. We honestly spend 1/2 the time whittling down pictures to those that truly tell the story! It’s tough to overcome the chronological “reporting” methodology…for me too! On that note: when are you going to teach your Library of Memories class again? I must be one of only a handful that haven’t taken it! :) Looking forward to your books re-release!! I need Photo Freedom! Thank you being so positive and giving.

  43. Just signed up for your class at BPS. Can’t wait to start! I would love to take the LOM class as well. In the meantime, I really hope that I can purchase the “Photo Freedom” book. I have really, REALLY been wanting that book!

  44. I am scrapping with some women tomorrow who feel the pressure of scrapping every photo. I’m bringing your book to see if it can help alleviate some anxiety. You rock!

    And on a tangent, I scrapped the very bad photo I took of my purse contents, when I finish it, I’ll post it and give you a link. I had SO much fun scrapping it! I called it “My Life in a Bag.” What a great idea!

  45. I want both books!

  46. I’ve been hearing you talk about this a lot lately (I guess because I downloaded the “Start Here” class at BPS too) and first of all, KEEP TALKING CAUSE I NEED TO HEAR IT! Secondly, all thru your post today, I kept thinking you would say that the cure to the anxiety was PRINTING photos. Don’t you think that’s a big part of it? Honestly, I can’t scrap anything recent right now because I have at least one year’s worth of pics on my computer unprinted and have to send them off somewhere to be printed. I have tried like four online developers and I’m unhappy with them all and I wish I could go back to the days of dropping my film off any old place and being delirious with joy when I picked them up! I had a not so great 35mm film camera when my baby girl was little and I was always tickled with my shots. Now, I think I expect too much out of my photography. Can we talk about that for a while? heehee You are so wise. I remember Heidi Swapp saying once, “What do I wish I had started one year ago?” and you are right, if we only did 52 layouts a year, that would be 52 stories told. I wish I had started doing THAT one year ago!

  47. Congratulations Stacy – that is so exciting!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Not only was it inspirational and encouraging, but it was that extra hand, extra push to “get to it”.

  48. HI,
    Hurray that you now own your books!!!!!! I have them both and LOVE them.

    I am an avid scrapbooker of 12 years who really tries to “stay on the ball” with my scrapbooking. I do know that anxiety feeling when the photos pile up. I make an conscience effort to redirect my attitude from anxiety to eagerness and excitement to “get scrapping”. Then I am more likely to enjoy the process rather than the dread of just getting it done. Using your LOM mindset, I scrap what I am excited about and let the boring stuff simmer a while until inspiration sparks. I think it is all perspective…..and this is big…..PRIORITY. To stay on top of ALL the scrapping, projects, classes, etc. that I want to do, I have to make scrapbooking a priority and make time to do this craft that I love. When I make the time to stay on top of it, the anxiety disappears. I only feel excitement to get to the next project.

    I also wanted to share that I recently expanded my LOM categories from 4 to 5. I talk about it and have pictures on my blog, angiekyledesigns.blogspot.com….. check it out and see what you think.

  49. Thank you, miss! You’re spot on as usual of course. Congrats on getting your book rights! I know that’s been a long process. Thanks for the confirmation I’m actually on the right path, even if I don’t generate the words for it that fortunately you’re able to. I keep trying to stay on top of all the organizing but HAD been paralyzed for a few months and didn’t scrap a whit – for the anxiety – sort of like laundry and chores! – that the photos should be better dealt with FIRST before I could “allow” myself the luxury of a good scrap. I’ve enjoyed scrapping more lately with some of your BPS classes, throwing caution to the wind and trying to keep widdling back into the LOM process (overwhelmed myself by not relieving the “old” photos in the system and kept taking and printing) – but the stories couldn’t be stopped any longer. So – I’m scrapping! And the photos will get dealt with (or not!) in their own good time. And I try to keep the anxiety at bay. Darci’s class was the one that REALLY got me back in the scrapping groove, so please pass her my thanks if you would. GREAT concept for a class!

    Many hugs –
    Lezlee (lezleeptmom)

  50. Rhonda H says:

    Congratulations on purchasing the rights to your books! I know when I was taking LOM, many folks were hoping for this!

  51. Laura J says:

    Oh Stacy, sometimes you write things at *exactly* the time I need to read them! I’ve been struggling lately, trying to keep the proper perspective on scrapping, feeling a little alone (right now I am mostly around a strict chronolgical scrapper with lots of self imposed scrapping rules who just doesn’t get me!) Your words reassured me…I’m not alone and I need to remember that! It reassured me in my choices of how I tell my stories and inspired me to spend some more time with my photos…thanks!

    Congrats on getting the rights to your wonderful books! It must feel good to control your creations!

  52. YAY!! on finally owning all of your own work! I’m so happy for you that you proceeded with this and they are finally in your own hands!

    As for the photo anxiety . . . I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve actually thought about writing a similar reaction on the PRT blogsite . . . maybe the male will read my mail! LOL THANK YOU for reminding everyone that where we are is okay – that telling our stories to give those images some actual meaning is what will give those images the true importance in future generations. I couldn’t agree more!

    love ya stacy! April

  53. Phyllis says:

    Congratulations on owning your own work!

    Photo anxiety – I have it :) I think I managed better with film than digital – it’s wonderful, but also overwhelming. Thanks for the reminder that it’s the story, not thousands of pictures on a computer that are important to our families.

  54. Tiffany says:

    Stacy, congratulations that you finally own your work!! I know this is BIG… HUGE, and I’m so very happy for you!


  55. Tammy B says:

    Congratulations Stacy! I love and own both of those books. I started the LOM system but then had to shut it down for a bit while we finished our basement (had no real place to lay out and organize all my pics) but I am hoping to have it completed this summer. Also just wondering when we will be able to see some more of your organization videos?! Really enjoy seeing how your whole system works for you.

  56. {vicki} says:

    I signed up for the class.

  57. Teresa Lynn Cotterman says:

    You inspire me every day. I love the way you look at things and put them into perspective. I am feeling anxious about my scrapbooking: don’t have the time, money, or space to do what i think is a good job. Stressing already about having my daughter’s stuff complete in time for graduation…3 years from now. I have both of your books and hope that they will point me in the right direction. Hoping to take Library of Memories next year. Please keep the inspiration coming.

  58. i am a veteran of your LOM classes and i have to say those took so much of the anxiety out of scrapping and photo management for me. THANK YOU!!!! it’s always nice to have someone tell you things that in hindsight are obvious but ideas to which you probably wouldn’t have arrived at comfortably on your own. it’s OK to scrap “out of order”. it’s OK to NOT scrap every single picture. it’s OK to not even KEEP every single picture. congratulations on finally owning your own work!!!!! that is so exciting!!!!! – heidi

  59. Oh, I’m so happy for you that you own your books! They are both so fabulous and so helpful and it’s just perfect that you now have the rights. Congrats.

  60. I related instantly to your thought with an ‘ah hah’ feeling. For years I have kept a small purse or back pack size personal photo album that holds about twenty five pictures in my underwear drawer. These pictures are my ‘emergency’ grab it item. I have had to take some out as new favorites get added as I limit my self to only what the book holds. OK, I cheated and put two cropped photos in some spots. But the idea is to focus on those most critical photos. I think this has cured me of photo anxiety, because I think…if all else fails I have these. I take that album when I travel or leave home long enough to have to pack spare underwear. That is why it is with the underwear. Some pics are very old and some are not. But they are my all time favs. I now understand why I did this. I never thought of scrapping these with stories. Thanks for the insight stacy!!

  61. Ann K WI says:

    I love the videos!! I love seeing how you’ve got your items organized, very inpsiring.

    What makes me blue, a week of rain and a raingutter that backed up and leaked in the house on my newly painted ceiling of my newly redone dining room. Really blue.

    (question: how come the sound and video are “off” not timed together… am I doing something wrong?)

    PS: Can’t wait to see the, blue office, those are such pretty colors. You’ve really inspired me to USE MORE COLOR in my life! :) :)

  62. I read your above entry and found myself nodding in agreement. I don’t often have time to scrapbook, and the anxiety I feel leading up to an organised retreat often makes me freeze up when it is time to get started. I never know where to start or which photos to start with. Recently a friend of mine organised a retreat for 6 of our friends and we spent 3 days and 2 nights just using what we already had in our stash and scrapping whichever photos we had on hand. I found myself scrapping photos I printed years ago but never knew what to do with. While my friends achieved a huge number of layouts over the weekend, I went at my own pace and was delighted with my results. 10 layouts that I am truly proud of. I know that telling the stories that go with the photos is important but journalling is still the bane of my existence….

    Thank you for reminding us to just breathe, choose a photo that speaks to us – in that moment – and create something that is beautiful.

  63. I’m so happy you now own the rights to your work. These are both great books.

    You inspired me with the videos to create color drawers & I’m so loving them!

    I’m on vacation, so I can’t pull 5 photos & scrap, but I’m really loving how scrapping has changed how I take photos. I now look at it very differently (and take photos of things like rock walls because they would make a great texture for my digital scrapping). I’m also collecting small odd bits of memorabilia for my traditional/hybrid pages.

    You rock!

  64. Phyllis says:

    I did it – well my layout only uses 4 pictures, but it’s the story of a mom whose only daughter is gone for 2 months to Army schools, who’s missing her like crazy and getting testosterone overload from all the males here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  65. Congratulations on owning all of your amazing work! Just wondered if you ever considered writing an App for the iTunes store – it seems such a natural fit for your iLife, Apple-loving real life. It’d be great to have some of those tips on an iPod or iPad. Just a thought :)

  66. Jennifer says:

    It’s funny, I only read this post today (couple of days late) but in fact that’s exactly what I did over this weekend. Revisited some photos from a desert safari we did for my sister’s 40th birthday three years ago: had about 120 pictures, had done NOTHING at all with them, and over the weekend made a mini-album for her and a double page layout for me. Now I have culled out the best, I can put the rest (most of the rest) into cold storage and and beyond with no guilt whatsoever.
    Never quite got the hang of every aspect of LOM, but clearly parts of it have penetrated the subconscious …

    Thanks, and great news on the intellectual property ownership issue. As a lawyer I can understand what a big (and expensive) exercise that must have been for you.


  67. Congrats on getting the rights to your own work, Stacy! I am so happy for you!

    I have mixed thoughts about your post. I understand photo anxiety but I don’t know that I have it. In 1997 I spent 9 months with all of my photos, which were in magnetic albums, and labelled on the back. I moved them into archival slip in albums which were new at that time and hard to get. I put them in order. I typed up the notes on the backs of the photos, the info of who was in them and where and when we were, the funny captions I wrote way back when. I printed these out and slipped them into the space between the photo slots. I labelled the outsides of these albums and I called it good. Every year I would buy a new album and do the same, but that first push created 17 albums, all my memories all organized and available.

    I started scrapbooking bc I have “memorabilia anxiety.” I have so much memorabilia. Most of it is very very important to me. A lot of it has stories, some of it is just a sort of touch of the past, what I picked up and used and saw when I was 15 – 20 – 25. What was important to me then. I spent 3 years scrapbooking nothing but memorabilia, gluing it into wire bound scrapbooks, labelling it, writing down any stories attached to it all.

    I love having those albums, even if the “sticker sneeze” is sometimes hard to look at. But then I discovered scrapbooking memorabilia with the attached photos and it was even better. I love it when I can do that. I love it when it all comes together. I feel such a sense of accomplishment. That is why I love scrapbooking. But if I just slap something together, something partly done, something that feels barely held together, I don’t feel good about it. Instead I feel like I have “wasted” the photos and the memorabilia on something that was not what I wanted.

    Your post emphasizes the importance of telling stories for your children. But I don’t have children. i scrapbook and only rarely do other people see what I have created. If they do, it is maybe once. That’s all. I can’t spend this much money and time and space looking for the momentary appreciation that comes with it. I have to do it for ME, because I want to do it. And I don’t have my anxiety alleviated by telling only part of the story.

    These are not so much issues when I am working with digital photos, which can be easily reprinted, and no memorabilia, or memorabilia that doesn’t mean too much to me (for instance, a brochure from last week’s trip to the zoo is not that big a deal, compared to say, my brother’s wedding invitation). So I end up scrapbooking the current stories, the surface of things, what’s happening right now, and the weight of my backstory still presses down on me.

    On the other hand, taking LOM twice has really helped me out, and I like feeling that all my photos are archived and stored and organized. I like that I have been able to throw out photos, knowing I won’t use them and don’t care about them. I have even thrown out ACTUAL SCRAPBOOK PAGES. Yes! If I scrapbooked 8 pages of a trip out with someone no longer in my life, do I really need those? No. I keep a 2-3 pages that have the story, a few pictures, the most important piece of memorabilia, and toss the rest. It is very freeing!


  1. [...] hope all you scrapbookers red Stacy Julian`s blog post yesterday? Having too many photos is a problem for most people and for scrapbookers [...]

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