Five Barriers To Making Awesome Junk Journals

by Debbie-Anne


Junk journal newbies often express that they're overwhelmed when they first start out (which is how this junk journal site came to be, with the hope to help crafters find sound advice and tips from those who tried, learned and shared).

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record in our Facebook groups because I keep repeating 'just dive in!' and it's not always that simple. Here are some of the barriers that could be stopping you.

1) Watching too many YouTube videos on the subject, long past the point of having enough information and inspiration. Once you've got the techniques and ideas in your mind and/or on paper it's probably a good idea to stop there and experiment hands on. If you don't, you'll get it all scrambled in your brain (and cause you to do way too much of #5 below).

2) Setting your expectations too high for a perfect creation. Your first junk journals should be viewed as learning tools. Embrace this idea before you get started - they are possibly the first of many great junk journals, so look at this as the training wheels on your first bicycle, not artwork headed to a gallery.

3) Comparing yourself/your abilities/your projects to others. This one ties in with the previous point but goes deeper because if you compare your abilities you could actually sabotage your creativity and squash it completely! You can't possibly know the hours, skills level, time and learning curve a fellow crafter has experienced prior to the projects you're comparing to - so just don't do that, it's self defeating. There are so many layers to this point but any comparing is unhealthy once it goes beyond the point of seeing something that inspires an idea or project. Don't take Facebook project posts at face value. It may appear like a picture perfect jj but there's no telling, is there?

4) Not trusting your creative intuition - also known as forcing yourself into a mould of what others are doing and in what order they're doing it, etc. Your gut is your best friend in all matters including creativity. Once you've done your junk journal homework, picked up a few tricks, ideas, and supplies, trust that you have everything you need to get going. You'll discover your own personal style and what techniques, process, speed, work for you. Trust yourself and the process.

5) Overthinking/fearing a disastrous end result (which again is related to intuition). What's the worst thing that could happen with the first few junk journals you make? They'll be rough 'sketches' of amazing jj's to come, or just plain ugly in your own eyes. That's it! That is the worst possible scenario. So if you stop overthinking, over planning, over collecting supplies and just make one, you'll have new experience from trying. You will learn things like what glue worked best for which paper, or that measuring really does make the signatures look more straight, or that in the end it doesn't matter what supplies you used you just really had fun. It will not have been a waste of time, it will have given you a wealth of new information. No more putting it off or spinning your wheels. There comes a time where you must stop looking outside of yourself for the solutions and just do it.

Ultimately it does comes back to this - (recognize what's stopping you and then) just jump in!

xo

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Dec 15, 2016
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Advice for so many aspects of life
by: Nancy

Your advice applies to so many areas of life: Child rearing, marriage,home decorating, learning a musical instrument or foreign language, and of course all types of crafts. Thanks!

Dec 15, 2016
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Another lesson I learned
by: Linn F

When I finally started I learned that making all the layers and tags and tuck points and and and....takes time. So don't worry if you don't get that lovely beaded, thick, complicated book done in one or two sessions. My last one was worked on nearly daily for two weeks. Then I decided to set it aside for awhile. Now I feel like I'm ready to work on it again. There's so much more I want to add.

Dec 15, 2016
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Such Great Advice
by: Claire

Debbie is so right! I have been making JJ for a while now. I still feel uncomfortable sharing them with the world (outside of my close friends who will like anything I make!) But for me, the best part is in the doing. Regardless of how it looks, the process of being creative is what keeps me going. I like being able to play and have fun. That is why I make JJ. Not for anyone but me -- it is the best thing to help relieve stress from work (yes!) or home or family or anything.

So jump in and just do it. You will never regret the decision to make that first (or second or hundredth) junk journal. The results are worth more than you can imagine.

Dec 15, 2016
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Just jump in
by: Barbara

Just jump in so I did. I have one complete journal finished. I have made four more covers getting ready to fill them up.I thought when I started I would give them for Christmas presents but I love them so much I don't know if I can part with them. Lol Cheryl (delygirl 1961) said just jump in no on is going to see it but you
I thought that's right. So no I am working on my second one. It's very relaxing for me. Thank you Debbie Anne for sharing and cheering us newbies on.

Dec 15, 2016
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Wise Words
by: Debbie

This article covers it all, I know I've been in those places before, and probably will again. I need to remember...just do it. :)

Dec 15, 2016
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Over organizing
by: Anonymous

You said it; all 5 apply to me as I am still a beginner. I might add another (although you did mention it briefly). Over organizing. I have been wanting to mention this but actually feel so embarrassed about it. Honestly, I spend FAR more time organizing all this stuff then I do creating! Does anyone else do this? Is this a substitute for actually creating a journal...or do we just really like handling this stuff?

Dec 15, 2016
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You hit the nail on the head with all 5
by: Jackye

Oh wow, thank you so much, this is exactly what I needed. I have watched way to many videos and bought way to much supplies the time has come to stop all of this and make my first JJ!

Dec 15, 2016
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Wise Words!
by: Elizabeth

Sound observations and advice, Debbie-Anne!! I'm a stamping girl; have been for lots of years. I love the fact that when making a JJ I can combine all the 'ugly' scrapbook papers that I wouldn't use in other projects, my love of stamping, and junk papers or cast offs from other projects. My journals don't look like many others' projects. But they ARE a reflection of me. And they give me joy for that reason.
Still, I had to face and knock down each one of those barriers at some point or another. I think we ALL face them, even those who are strong enough to know them for what they are and not give them the time of day! :)

Dec 13, 2016
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Great Advice
by: Heidi

I would agree that I too fall for all five of those. I am constantly comparing myself to how everyone else does and feeling inadequate. One day at the place I take my son for his music lessons, someone put a post-it-note on the bathroom mirror that said Be-you-tiful! That really struck a chord with me and since then I remind myself of that! What I make or do might look different than others but it is still beautiful because it is what I created from my heart and with my hands. I don't want to be a copy of someone else I want to be me!

Dec 13, 2016
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Great article!
by: Bettsi

I can so relate to this- I get so intimidated when I watch the videos. But once I'm creating and I'm in the flow, the decisions begin to come easily and the book makes itself! One of my favorite mantras: "Action conquers fear!". Thanks for this, Debbie- very helpful!

Dec 12, 2016
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I built walls
by: Liz J

I can relate to all these.. Sad but true. Especially 3, oh yes 3 is my number; not as good as, not as perfect as, why can't I be like? You would hope that as the years pass by those feelings of inadequacy would fade. Nope! But I will continue to fight them and take your wise words with me. Thank you Debbie-Anne and the facebook group xx

Dec 12, 2016
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Five Barriers to Making Awasome Junk Journals
by: Pirjo

Debbie, you said it: Trust yourself and do it. Thanks for this article.

Dec 11, 2016
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Five Barriers to Making Awesome JJ
by: Sabina Pamfili

yep, all 5 point to me - especially the one comparing yourself to others. I have watched videos, searched online and compared my journals. And I have created five other journals with mixed media. But somehow the feeling of insecurity and incapability set in when I saw all those beautiful journals created with Debbie Anne's kits. And then the penny dropped for me. I realized that my strength in the past has always been my love for heritage and my roots. And with that subject you need to not only use photos but also it involves a lot of journaling about your ancestors and that is where I went wrong. I did not want to spoil those beautiful kits with photos all over the pages because they would take away from those awesome papers in the kits. How dumb of me. I stopped worrying and it is all falling into place, slowly! I am now working on my heritage journal the way I feel is best for the theme and subject.
And when I have finished this one, I will then get to using the kits I bought from Debbie-Anne and do journals of plants, birds, whatever I love and feel passionate about. And I love so many things that right now I have all kinds of ideas swimming around in my head. I am so glad that you posted this, Debbie-Anne.

Dec 11, 2016
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This is the perfect article!
by: Sandy McCLay

All 5 of these are me to a T but I have just decided let's do it! Thanks Debbie for posting this! SO important!

Dec 11, 2016
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Great advice!
by: Heather D

Thank you so much for this great advice Debbie-Anne! I was a little discouraged because I've made over a dozen journals in the past couple of months to give to people and it's like they just don't get it. They thank me, but they don't know quite what to make of the journals.

I really love making them though, so I'm going to keep on. What better way to use up all my lovely paper scraps and bits and bobs!

Dec 11, 2016
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Just jump in.
by: CynD

Just doing the journal, you do not hve to give it to any one. It is a gift you give your self in practice and doing. It is a work of joy not a grade on your school plan. Enjoy and learn through the process make notes if you need to. Script out what you want to do next. It will become an awesome process and you will enjoy each one more and more! You will be proud of your work. It is a joy not a requirement. But you need to try at least 3 befor you say that is it not for me. It should be fun relaxing and an experience you want to do over and over. Find your style and not some one else's. Jump in and have a grand time with it!

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