Scrapping Your Way Out of a Creative Rut

How is it that you just know when you've hit a creative stride?  I still create pages even when I'm in a rut (hello templates -- you are my friends!).  I think the only way to move out of a slump is to keep going and keep on creating.  What a stellar feeling when you know you've moved beyond it.  Sometimes, it takes creating something outside of your comfort zone to move on in the process (also highly recommended).

I wasn't at all sure where I was going with these pages.  In fact, for the latter two, I envisioned something completely different -- no fish involved whatsoever. But I sure like where each one ended up.

Foxeysquirrel Tie-Dyed Backgrounds, Aura Lights, Castellum, Savannah Timepiece, Victorianism: Joined

Foxeysquirrel Linen kit

Foxeysquirrel Linen kit
So, with that in mind, here are 8 tips for getting out of a creative rut:

  1. Use a template.  Let someone else's layout design both inspire and guide you!  
    Jen Maddocks template and Summery kit
    For this page, instead of using a light flare element, I duplicated the photo and clipped it to the soft-edged flare element, to give the effect of the photo fading off toward the edge of the page 
    Sometimes, you'll find that just the simple act of rotating a template or re-arranging template elements gives your creative mojo a boost.  Actions, especially some of Wendyzine's actions, can even arrange elements and photos for you.  There is still fun creativity involved, it just helps you through the process with arranging and layout out the design.
  2. Scrap in a style you are not accustomed to.
    Berna Datema We Travel kit
    I am a bit less comfortable using a "paper" style, so this was a bit outside-the-box for me.
     Do you typically make realistic "scene" pages?  Scrap a paper-style page.  Do you usually use paper-style look for your layouts?  Try doing something really modern, sparse, and graphic.
  3. Join in a challenge.  
    Miki Ferkul Winter Storm Warning kit
    I have been participating in the white space challenge in the forum.  It is definitely something I have to consciously make an effort to do, scrapping that way, but I love it!
    There are dozens of challenges out there on digi scrapping websites to participate in.  It could even be a photography challenge.  Take a cue from one of these and run with it!
  4. Don't overthink it!  Just start piling pieces on the page.  
    Vicki Robinson Art for the Soul kit
    Here's a page where I just continued to pile it on.  I had a fantastic time making this one and seeing how it evolved.
    Re-arrange, re-color, erase, flip, transform.  The beautiful thing about digi scrapping -- you can do this all day long with no worry about using up supplies.  Play around.  See if you can let the page make itself!
  5. Start with the story and work backwards.  Is there an event or story you have been wanting to scrap?  Sit down and journal about the significance of that moment -- write down all of the who, what, why, when, and where's you can think of.  Then with that information in hand, work towards completing the visual side of the layout.  Alternately, don't use any images, let the journaling and just paper or elements (or no elements) be your guide.
    Emeto Designs Spring Blush and Jen Maddocks Storytells template bundle 14-17
    Yes, there's no journaling shown on here.  But in a different version than what I posted online, the top photo is covered with journaling, about the difficulties we were facing at the time these photos were taken.  It was a hard period for us, but it felt really good to get it down and also to look through the photos and think about things a while.
  6. Work in a limited color scheme.  Find a photo that would work well gray-scale or only a few colors.
    Newlifedreams Live in the Moment kit and Wendyzine Cluster Collage Actions
    I adore my photos from Salamanca, and many of them are full of beautiful colors, but many of them are also filled with the lovely sandstone, warm, brown hues of the buildings.  To create something different, I desaturated the images and used a limited color palette in this layout.
    Use only elements that restrict you to that limited color scheme.  Sometimes the effort of coordinating colors across a page can be a block, and sticking with only a few hues from a palette can help you focus on the images and story.
  7. Literally, use your scraps!  
    Jen Maddocks Urban Bundle
    There are a few of Jen's kits and bundles that, if I've used them once, I've used a dozen times!  Urban is one example!
    No time to download or search for that "perfect" kit?  Another fabulous thing about digital scrapbooking is the ability to reuse items and re-work elements and papers as you desire.  Blend modes and color overlays are helpful for combining papers or recoloring.  Changing hue, saturation, adding filters...  there are so many ways you can re-use elements and papers, the possibilities are endless.  Plus, it's kind of a fun treasure hunt to look through your download stash and see the creative ways you can put items to use!
  8. Look and lift!  Find a page, an ad, an image, or even artwork you love online, and scraplift it!  

    An artwork that inspired the page below
    Sherwood Festive Forest Friends; Ztampf! Branchessa papers; Ztampf! RoboKit; Manu Secret of the Ocean (paper); Vinnie Pearce Hearth (paper)
    This page was done for a challenge I hosted in 2014 to create a page inspired by the Diana Woods artwork above.

    Scrappers are usually honored when you let them know you've liked their pages enough to lift it.  Credit (of course) your inspiration, and see what new ideas pop in your head as you create.
What are your best tools to get over scrapper's block?