How to Get Out of a Rut and Into the Groove


What’s the difference between a rut and a groove?

If you have a scrapbooking groove, you have systems that work for you — things you do that get you inspired and make your page-building process easier.

What is a rut?

A rut is similar to a groove in one way only — you have a system for seeing and doing. There is a big difference, though. A rut is not inspiring. It keeps you down and prevents you from seeing up over its high walls. We forget there are other ways and systems.

While a groove-system inspires new ideas, rut-systems blind you from them. Early last spring I realized I had dug my groove into a deep rut.

How do you know if you’re in a rut?
If you find yourself feeling uninspired every time you try to scrapbook, or if your completed pages don’t excite you, you’re probably in a rut. Don’t worry though, you can get out!

In 2010 and early 2011 I found that most every page I made left me feeling unsatisfied. Most of them just felt “ok,” but I didn’t love them. The moment I climbed my way out of that rut (and it wasn’t hard!), scrapbooking suddenly became exhilarating again! And I’m back to loving my pages!

How to Get Out of a Rut
I’m sure it’s not the only exit route, but I can tell you how I got out of my recent rut. I exposed myself to some different ways of scrapbooking by putting myself into an environment where there were lots of different inspiring and talented scrapbookers.

There are all kinds of options for this type of learning and exposure. The one that worked for me was the True Scrap event from last April. It showed me that the rut I’d fallen into did not groove with my own personality.

Here are some of the results that came from the inspiration I got from True Scrap:

I'm a Butterfly

Jen McGuire inspired the butterfly I made for this introduction page that goes on the front of my album about myself.

N 38

Shimelle Laine and Nic Howard both reminded me of how I’ve loved layering papers in the past and this page was born.

Pigtails? Check. Hyper? Check. (right)

Pigtails? Check. Hyper? Check. (back of right)

Lain Ehmann suggested we write our journaling the same way we talk to friends, which inspired more of that style of journaling on my pages, along with these two 6×12 pages, which I attach to my layout. The journaling begins with, “So, here’s a funny story…”

XOXO (iPhone Google Searches)

And overall I remembered that color, asymmetry, and organic shape is more reflective of my personality and the way I view my world and my life than the way I’d been scrapbooking recently.

If you’ve been feeling unsatisfied lately, could it be that you’ve fallen into a rut without realizing it, like me?

If so, why don’t you join us for the True Scrap event later this month? I’ll be teaching about layering embellishments into intricate gatherings. Jen McGuire, Lain Ehmann, Shimelle Laine, and Nic Howard will all be back to teach again, too, plus many other awesome teachers.

Click here to learn more about the event or sign up!

(note: this is my affiliate link).

May you always know whether your systems are pulling you down into a rut or pushing you into the groove!

  • Noell, these are all GORGEOUS. I’m especially in love with the butterfly. Can I ask about the technique that you used to create it? As well as the (looks like the same…) technique you used in the last layout?  It looks like a really cool masking technique! :)


  • Beckster014

    Hey Noell and Izzy  (lol)
    I’ve finally got around to completing some of my photo albums that have been waiting patiently for my attention thanks to the PRT inspiration. I have come across an issue that hopefully you could help with. The page protectors that the album came with were not big enough for my pages and they laid funny. Then I tried other page protectors and they were to big and stuck out of the end of the album. So I purchased another companies page protectors and now the pages stick out from the top of the protector a little bit. Is there a company that you just love their page protectors? I’ve had an album that the pages slide in from the post side of the album on both side of the page protector but I can’t seem to find them any where! Just looking for page protectors that I feel comfortable with them actually doing their job…protecting my layouts.  

    Thanks, Becky 

  • Thx, Allie! It’s not masking. I did an episode where I showed how I made that layout background,along with a bunch of variations. Let me know if you’re a member and you need help finding it in the archives. Te butterfly is another variation but with different products and a stamp.

  • Such a beautiful book, Noell.  Love the sentiments so much–so you!  =)

  • Sounds like you’re using a post-bound album, right? I had the same problem when I used them myself. I stopped using post-bound around the year 2000 so I can’t recommend any page protectors that aren’t D-ring.
    For D-ring I use American Crafts and We R Memory Keepers. We R has excellent quality. It’s possible that some of my pgs barely stick out the top by 1-2 mm’s. I’m not home to check. If they do then it’s so minute it doesn’t bother me.

  • Beckster014

    Yeap, I’m using post bound for most of my scrapbooks. Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have to try those two companies.