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Monday, June 27, 2011

Creative Journey Blog Series--See who our first guest is!

Today is an exciting day because I get to share one of the little secrets I've had up my sleeve for a little while now!

I've talked on my blog before about how hard it can be to break into this industry. Even though I've been fortunate in my opportunities, I've definitely been rejected more than I've been accepted, and definitely struggled with the insecurity, questioning, and "why am I trying this anyway?" feelings afterwards.

The one thing that's always made me feel better is hearing stories from other scrappers who are very successful in the industry about how long it took them to get where they are, and how many rejections they dealt with on the way. If you're trying to break into the industry and struggling--you're not alone. And hopefully this blog series will be a good reminder of that!

Our first guest in this Creative Journey blog series is the fabulous Jen Jockish!

Here's what Jen had to say about her experience in the industry:

I began scrapbooking in 2004, after finding twopeasinabucket.com through a web search. I was completely in awe of most of the layouts I saw, and would frequently read the Pub message board. I was so impressed with all those women being published regularly and designing for manufacturers and companies. While I thought it would be fun to be published, I didn't think for a second my work was worthy. About a year after I began scrapbooking, I decided to submit some pages. I thought it would be a kick to see my pages in print. I figured the worst that could happen was they wouldn't be picked up, and nothing ventured, nothing gained. I began by submitting to Scrapbook Trends and Creating Keepsakes. After about 6 -8 months of fairly regular submissions, I got an e-mail asking for a page from ST. Needless to say, I was over the moon. I had a few more pages picked up by ST over the course of the next few years. Not once did I hear a peep from Creating Keepsakes and I was fairly regular in my submissions to them. I also applied for a few design teams and was rejected. There was one team that I was so excited about and thought my pages were a great fit for the company. That rejection was crushing to me, and it took time for me to regain some confidence.

Around 2007, something clicked. Until then, I was constantly looking through galleries and seeing page after beautiful page and feeling my work did not measure up. I would browse and instead of feeling inspired, I would feel dejected. Instead of creating pages from my heart, I was creating them from my head. I was trying to live up to what I thought editors and design teams wanted. I was constantly searching for ways to break the mold to create new and innovative pages. Really...it's paper and glue and it can only be done in so many ways. I was wearing myself out trying to figure out what other people wanted. I was just trying way too hard. So I stopped. I'd become so caught up in the frenzy of wanting to be published or on a design team that it was no longer fun. I stepped back from the on-line world of scrapbooking and began creating in my basement just doing what I wanted with no rules or expectations. I fell back in love with scrapbooking and with the simple joy of making something with my hands. I didn't question if the pages were good enough. They were good enough to me and that was what mattered. I began to tell myself frequently that "I made it - it's mine and it will be beautiful no matter what." Because to me and my family it was beautiful. I was creating by my rules and stopped looking for validation. I just had fun. Shortly after that is when the calls started coming. CK finally called and then kept calling. I am blessed to have had great opportunities in this industry. I firmly believe that they happened when I was finally able to let go and enjoy the ride.

Keshet asked me to share tips on how to break into the industry. While I am in no way an expert on this, I am an expert on my own journey and am happy to share my experiences. A few things I've learned -

Don't try to anticipate what editors, design teams or companies want. You have no idea what they're looking for. It could be something very specific or just a general design sensibility. If you're not chosen for something try to remember how subjective this all is.

Be consistent. I don't think that I am in any way the best designer out there but I am consistent. I'm consistent with my designs and am consistently on time. I believe a big reason why I've been given some great opportunities in this industry is because people know what they will get with me.

Be professional. That means no whining, no gossiping, no complaining. If you're looking to break into the industry and have this be more than a hobby, treat it like what you hope it to become - a job.

Be persistent! It took me 5 years of regular submitting to break into CK. Don't give up and just keep on pushing.

Find your niche and stick with it. Figure out where your talents lie and how they can best be put to use.

You will make mistakes. I've learned a few lessons the hard way and you likely will too.

Be yoursef and you will shine.

I love Jen focuses on keeping the love for scrapping, and being consistently and authentically YOU--wise words.

Here's a gorgeous layout that shows off Jen's beautiful style:

Jen lives in Central Illinois and is married to Brad. They have a 4 year old daughter Ayla and an almost 1 year old, Nora. When she's not scrapbooking you can find her curled up with a good book.

Jen has been scrapbooking for 8 years and has been fortunate to have been published in BHG Scrapbooks Etc., Scrapbook Trends and Creating Keepsakes as well as numerous other publications. Jen was a 2010 member of the Creating Keepsakes Dream Team and currently designs for Two Peas in a Bucket, Studio Calico and American Crafts. Check out her blog at http://www.gingergrace.typepad.com


  1. One of my favorite scrapbookers! And I love how she says stay true to what is you and don't worry about conforming! :)

  2. I am one of those who have yet to break into the "industry" and really enjoyed this article :) Thank you, Keshet and Jen!

  3. So uplifting, when I have more time again, I would love to get published, so I'll start sending my designs out again.

    I've been fortunate to be on one design team, and I've won gift certificates from my local scrapbook store for monthly competitions that they offer where the customers place votes on the best layouts!!

    I just love this hobby, and I love that I could have the opportunity to be published if I work at it!!

    Truly inspiring! TFS :)

    -Gabs from Savannah, TX

  4. Great idea for a series Keshet, and a great first post from Jen! Thanks for sharing your experience. =)

  5. WOW! This is just what I needed to read today! Jen's star page is awe inspiring. I know I am guilty of whining- mostly because the rejections come with no explanation- it's hard to improve if you have no idea why the work isn't up to par. But I SO appreciate the tip on remaining consistent and persistent- I've already started to notice that those are an industry MUST and they make complete sense. I will be sticking around for this series- love the content in this blog!

  6. love this post and love jen!! what a true talent!

  7. Great post, persistence, consistency is the key...
    My story is similar, I was able to break into the industry as a consulting helping companies expand their customer base and clear focus on branding and social media.
    While still maintaining being a designer...

  8. What a great series!!
    Loved reading more about Jen :)

  9. Love this and I absolutely *heart* my friend Jen! :) So authentic and genuine and it was so uplifting and inspiring to read - great feature Keshet! :)

  10. What a great idea for a blog series! Thanks for the advice Jen! I love hearing that hard work and just being me is all I need.

  11. Awesome advice! Great blog series! And I love that layout!!! :)

  12. Nice idea for a blog series. Nice to meet you Jen, love your work and your motto!

  13. What a great feature! So encouraging!!!

  14. Keshet...I totally needed this blog series. You rock. :)

    And Jenn...thanks for sharing your story!!!

  15. Awesome, love the layout she shared! :)

  16. Looks like your new series is going down really well Keshet - well done! I love Jen's work & I loved reading her article...somehow I just STILL presume that scrapbookers like her have always been brilliant! I constantly have it reaffirmed that we are all in a similar boat & words like hers keep me going & spur me on when I'm dead tired & falling asleep in front of my keyboard :)

  17. great idea keshet! love your first "feature"!

  18. I know I'm just repeating what everyone has said, but I also love this idea for a series. It's something I've been thinking a lot about in the last year. It's great to hear other people's stories.

  19. Very inspiring and such great advice! Thank you both!

  20. Thanks for doing this series. I'm sure it will encourage a lot of people.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing your "tips" Jen - luv thsi new series Keshet.

  22. Keshet, what a wonderful series! I am just one who will enjoy reading how these talented ladies got their start! Thanks Jen for sharing. I love your designs!

  23. Awesome idea for a blog series. I have a feeling I'll be an avid reader. :)

  24. One of my favorite scrappers EVER! Thanks for featuring her here:)

  25. Keshet, read today's post and then came searching for the first one, here. Love that you are doing this for all of us, totally enjoyed both interviews, can't wait for the next!


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