I took a class at Big Picture Classes called Finding Your Way taught by Karen Grunberg. She talked a lot about no right or wrong way to scrapbook, just find what works for you. The reality of that really hit home for me last night. I know I like product, in particular patterned paper, as my inspiration. It's not the place where most folk start; but, it works for me.
I think one's best work comes from knowing your strength and going with it. It will make one's scrapbooking hobby more satisfying, too. Could anyone imagine Ali Edwards starting with anything other than words and story? Katie Nelson, Katie, The Scrapbook Lady, and many digital scrappers are who comes to mind when I think of color inspired scrapbooking. I think of Carol Wingert when I think of technique inspired scrapbooking; in her case, vintage. Noell Hyman is inspired by story, emotion and design. Allison Davis likes structured linear photo placement as a starting point. Not that these individuals are incapable of using many approaches, they just know what works for them as a usual starting point.
The other night I struggled with a 2 page LO for hours. I was trying to use photos of an event with some friends. It was so difficult. I ended up with an OK spread but it was difficult. I then made 2 more layouts starting with paper I liked. I found some embellishments, photos and a story to go with my designs and they were completed quickly. I'll add photos of the layouts to the end of this article to illustrate what I made.
The point is simply to recognize what will get you going. I've heard so many folk insist on the photos first and heard a lot of swearing accompanying that. It's an expectation that does not work for everyone to use the photos first. After all, you could put photos in an album or in a frame. You could write stories in a journal or in hand illustrated manuscripts. The reason you chose to scrapbook the photo or the story is because it is your hobby and you should find it fun. I could use my patterned paper and ephemera and make a collage (something I've started to play at, by the way) rather than a scrapbook page. Scrapbooking, though, is a hobby that makes me happy. Finding ways to build a page with the papers and product I love is what makes me happy and helps my pages come together quickly. Lord knows, I like most folk have plenty of photos and oodles of stories I could tell. Scrapbooking is just one way to preserve those. Maybe it's the knowledge that there is a strong likelihood that my scrapbooks may be tossed away when I'm gone that pulls me into just having a heck of a lot of fun. (One may be fortunate enough to have kids, or even kids-in-law, who care to preserve ones work but today's garage sales belie that notion for many.)
I'm glad I really found out what I had suspected that helps me get a page done to my satisfaction. Try different approaches to starting your pages. You may discover you can do it differently than you've been taught and have more fun.