The idea of leaving the incomplete albums as they were did cross my mind several times. Every time I thought of filling in the blanks, I pushed it away - it was too much work to recall the stories. After all, two of the albums were from 2012 and I had doubts about whether I would be able to accurately recount the memories.
But at the end of January, a wave of creative energy swept over me and somehow I managed to finish my first album for 2012. As the weeks went on, I finished my second album for 2012. And then my second album for 2014. In less than a month, I had caught up with things that were sitting on my to-do list since 2012.
Aside from intense focus (which I can only attribute to nesting), here are some things that helped me get caught up with Project Life:
KEEP IT SIMPLE, GET IT DONE
That was my mantra for the times when I got stuck. I still wanted my spreads to look good but they didn't have to be perfect. I didn't need the spreads to have a cohesive look and I used way less embellishments on the “catch up” spreads. The goal was to get those stories documented before I forget.
PLAN IT OUT
In 2012, I roughly planned out each layout with which photos to use, dates, and little notes about journaling. (Marcy Penner has some really great planner pages available.) I had the photos printed and put into their slots, and that was huge for getting caught up. Most of the work was done - printing is the longest and hardest process for me (choosing, editing, resizing, uploading, waiting, picking it up from the store).
I keep a random assortment of little bits and pieces, like business cards, packaging or the boys' work. A lot of the time, these pieces don't make it into my spread because I have way too many photos but they do come in handy when you have extra pockets to be filled. Now, I just have to learn how to let go of the pieces that don't get used, except for the boys' drawings because I will cling onto those forever.
LOOK THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
If you’re like me, Project Life isn’t the only way you document your life. I post quite regularly on Instagram and on this blog. Digging through my archives was especially helpful when I just could not remember little details about an event. You can also try Facebook and Twitter if you use those often, and news websites if you like to include some of that.
My text messages to Andrew were a gold mine for me. I tend to send Andrew messages about what the boys are up to, things they've said, things they've done through out the day so I don't have to wait until he gets home to tell him (because I'll have forgotten by then, no doubt). It takes a lot of scrolling back but sometimes it's worth it.
LOOK THROUGH PHOTOS
For those stories that did not make it into social media, I went through the photos on my computer. Recording the date was especially helpful here because I could go straight to that folder and sift through other photos from that day to help jog my memory.
DON’T FORCE IT
Work for as long as you can, take breaks when you need to. The more you force creativity, the less fluidly it comes out. There were times when I knew exactly what I wanted to have on each spread but I just didn't have the energy or creativity to put it together so I either moved on to the next part, or I had to walk away. Other times, I was physically aching for a break but my hands kept working and ideas kept coming so went with it.
Remember, just do what works for you. Memory keeping should be a good experience, not a torturous one. Enjoy the process!