Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”? Well, I’ve heard it, and I used to believe it was true for everything you do. But there’s one area of my life where I’ve found this quote to be inaccurate. In the department of creativity, sometimes not using “it” helps you to reset the “right-brain” part of you to enhance your creativity.
I found myself hitting a brick wall each time I went to edit photos that I’ve already taken of clients. I started picking my pictures apart, to the point of hating every single one. I needed a break. I had been staring at the screen for too many hours, which resulted in zero creativity.
One thing I know about myself is I have to be mindful of work/life balance. If I’m not balanced, I end up all over the place. Too much of this hobby, and I’ll never touch my camera again (okay, I’m exaggerating, but, you get the point). Too little of my hobby and I’ll become overly anxious about my work and feel like I’ve made no progress.
We’ve all learned about the idea of work/life balance…but really it’s more than just life. Life can mean so many things. It seems like the only thing that fits into a box is work…until you begin working for yourself, or working from home. Then your personal life blends into your work life and the work/life balance ideal sort of falls off, or the lines get too blurry to recognize it was there in the first place.
Maybe you can relate, considering this past year several people worked remotely. Trying to figure out when to put time into this business and when to be present at home with my kids was a first for me. I’ve noticed I tend to go all-in on either side of the equation. When I’m in mom mode I think of nothing else. When I’m the photographer I put off my mom duties to try and expand this business and everything that comes with it.
To be honest, I write this as if I’ve got it all figured out, or as if I can even consider my work/hobby a business right now. Let me assure you, this blog, at this point, is a fake it till you make it kind of blog. I have nothing figured out, and I have not accomplished a fraction of what I want to…but I’ve had to learn to be kind to myself. I know if a friend came to me in my situation, I would have the best advice. I would tell them, don’t be so hard on yourself. Or, you’re doing a great job; look back from where you began and see how far you have come.
At this time last year, I had just finished my first year of teaching, and I was taking pictures on the side with my phone for family and friends. Editing became a soothing thing for me. It’s something I can do and zone out to take my mind off of my life while I try my best to perfect the image in front of me.
So why would I need a break from that? I started comparing where I’m at to other photographers’ work (this is a highly saturated market), and I became extremely discouraged. Instead of working harder to be where I want to be, I started having doubts. So I made a conscious decision to take a step back and work on being inspired.
What I’ve learned is there are many ways to work towards your goals (one of them being inspiration). There are tutorials, workshops, days of snapping away, walking around your town or your home searching for perspective, reading blogs, learning from other photographers willing to share, etc. Not only are those ways all acceptable, I think it’s vital to use every different kind of method to work towards your goal. I still have this vision of the type of photographer I want to be and a huge amount of obstacles to overcome to get there (Have you ever tried shooting in ONLY manual mode? Let me tell you- it takes TIME.) There’s no right or wrong way to get to where you want to be in your career/business/hobby/goal. There are many ways, but the best way is YOUR way. And here’s the thing, from what I hear…you won’t realize your journey to your version of success is perfect for YOU until you achieve your goal.
The bottom line is this: Sometimes, it’s okay (and necessary) to step back, breathe, reset, and pick up where you left off. A straight path to success is rare, and it doesn’t make for an interesting story anyway. So, if you find yourself where I was at (unmotivated, unsure, and insecure), give yourself the benefit of the doubt, take a breather, look for inspiration, and then GO.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”