A few years ago my wife Sarah took up scrapbooking as a hobby. She started out by creating two photo scrapbooks in memory of her cousin that passed away after a battle with cancer. When I say scrapbook, I’m talking the Creative Memories type of book with photos, embellishments, page titles, and memories written to help tell the story. It’s a LOT of work to put together a book that tells a story this way.
After attending full day events geared toward scrapbookers getting together to work and share ideas, Sarah decided to take on a full weekend event. There are several annual events that happen here in Wisconsin, but this particular event is held each January.
Until 2016, the scrapbookers would take up residence in a giant resort in Oconomowoc (not to far from Milwaukee for those not familiar with the area). They’d settle into a huge event room and put 2-3 people at a table. These folks are serious about their hobby – believe me! They always roll in ample supplies for a full weekend. It goes way beyond just the photos and paper, as numerous other supplies are needed for cutting and design. Tools of the trade.
Sarah asked if I wanted to come along to that first event, and I thought it might give me a chance to at least drive the twenty minutes from the hotel to Miller Park. Maybe I’d have dinner at TGI Fridays at the park and find something cool to buy at the team store. I had a few writing ideas, so I brought my laptop and notebook (in case I decided to go old school). I packed a couple books too, because I figured if nothing else I could relax and read in the hotel room.
It turned out we both had a great time and felt it was like getting away without travelling too far from home. Sarah has been back every year since then to “Camp Crop” and has enjoyed her time with good friends. Even though they are working on completely different projects, they all have a common goal ideas, to get their special memories down in scrapbook form. I have seen some incredible examples and was wowed when Sarah finished her cousin’s memory books. Since then she has moved on and is currently working on a book that focuses on our dating up through engagement and when she moved in with me. She (and others) say these weekend events are a great motivator. Life can get in the way of their creativity otherwise.
As for me, I stayed home one year and spend most of the time reading and writing. Neither of us had as much fun that year. We like to be able to spend our day creating, and then talk over what we’ve accomplished at dinner. Plus I feel like making the hotel room my “weekend office” makes it more of a full-fledged writing retreat. I can only retreat so far at home!
This year the event moved even closer to home, and was located at a newer hotel in Johnson Creek. While the scrapbookers were in a smaller event room, the hotel was comfy and well, about 40 years newer than the resort in Oconomowoc. Check out the pics after I wrap up. Pretty nice digs.
In conclusion, if you are into any sort of creative endeavor, figure out a way to schedule a creativity weekend. I get more done in a weekend than I ever could in those short, often-interrupted bursts at home. As an example, this weekend I tightened up my book proposal and sample chapters, edited my most recently written final chapters, scheduled some upcoming blog posts, worked on a few social media ideas, posted one of my blogs to Medium, typed up some old journal notes, and had time to have lunch and dinner with Sarah and her scrappin’ friends.
Creativity. It does our souls good.