Ali Edwards Week in the Life project is one of my favorite annual scrapbooking projects. The idea behind WITL is to, for seven days, take a more examined look at your everyday life. Document the things that are important, document the things that are mundane, document the things that make your life your own.
Over the past few years, I’ve taken a couple of different approaches to the Week in the Life project. You can see my previous albums from 2013, 2014, and photos of my process from 2015 here on the blog, or check out highlights from my albums featured on the Ali Edwards blog.
When I set out to do a project, I try to make sure that I have a series of small goals set for myself, in order to be as successful as I aspire to be.
Here are the questions I ask myself before getting started with any project:
- What story is this project telling?
- What makes this project special?
- What do I need to accomplish to feel successful with this project?
- How can I break that up into manageable, bite-size pieces?
For this year’s WITL project questions 1 & 2 are pretty easy. I’m telling the story of my week, and what makes it special is that I really examine a week of my life once a year, and things change so much from year to year.
The third question What do I need to accomplish to feel successful with this project? is a little bit harder. As someone who’s been scrapbooking for fifteen years, you would think that this part would come naturally at this point. But I think the fact that I do struggle with this part is exactly why I continue to come back to this hobby over and over again.
Successfully telling our stories should be difficult. Just living our lives can be difficult, let alone trying to distil that process into photographs, words, and pretty paper products.
Setting Project Goals
When I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by a project, I try to break it down as simply as possible. What do I absolutely need to have?
I like giving myself an easy task list for projects like this one. What things can I accomplish on a daily basis? What easy ways can I insert memory-keeping tasks into my everyday routine this week? The goal is not to bash yourself over the head and get ultra frustrated. Done is better than never completed aspirations.
One of the best things about scrapbooking, and life in general, is that you can start out simple — and go from there. This is about your life if you get so overwhelmed that you can’t complete it, you’re setting your goals too high. You don’t need to complete an entire album in a week. You don’t even need to complete an entire album at all. Maybe a single scrapbook page, or even a single photograph, is all you can manage. If that’s what works for you, that’s what you should be doing.
For this year’s WITL, my goals are as follows:
- Take several photos throughout the day, each day.
- Add as much or as little journaling as is appropriate.
- Keep the amount of content for each day as equal as appropriate.
- Print out photographs within a week of wrapping up WITL.
- Have a completed album on the shelf within a month.
These are pretty simple goals for me. I feel very comfortable with my ability to attain these. I’m not putting too much on my plate, but I’m still giving myself enough structure so that I have a plan in place to start, create, and finish this project.
Here are a few of the strategies I’m employing for WITL 2017
- Instagram Stories photos in B/W with timestamps. I love using black and white photos for a introspective. I also love that you can make black and white photos look good no matter how bad your external lighting is. It’ll make everything that much more cohesive.
- Ali Edwards WITL kit. I got the kit from Ali’s website last month. I love the 6×8 albums she designs. This year’s kit is also really excellent. Lots of color, but nothing overwhelming. Everything is simple and clean and ready for my unique spin.
- Supportive Friends. I have a group of friends who are participating in the project, and we have a chat amongst us where we’ll share our photos of the week, or our album process. It’s also a great place to jot down journaling in a pinch.
- The Awesome Ladies Creative Community. In addition to a small group of supportive friends. I think it’s so important that we share our projects with a wider community. We not only get to share the stories of our own lives, but we get to listen to the stories of other people’s lives as well. It’s pretty cool how much you can learn about both yourself and other people when you’re all working on a similar personal project.
We’ll be discussing Week in the Life over at The Awesome Ladies Project forums. Head on over and let us know what type of project you’re creating for this year’s WITL project.