No matter how many times I fail, I still believe that I will succeed. No matter how many times I succeed, I still believe that I will never reach the top. This is the foundation on which I pursue success.
I used to feel inferior if I couldn’t create an image every single day. Then I started looking at other photographer’s careers and realized that many artists limit how often they create. They don’t share a lot. They keep it under wraps. I started to feel inferior for putting out too much work. I started to feel like I had no concept of how this industry works. And that, right there, was my flaw. Somewhere along the lines I started thinking in terms of an “industry” instead of a “hobby”. I started to question what others were doing instead of living my life by my own rules. I had to distance myself, and so I have. I create when I want to create. I create because I want to create. And part of that creation process, for me, is sharing. And so I share when I want to share. Because your opinions add value to the work.
This year I have created 17 images. Is that a lot? A year ago I would have told myself to slow down. Is that only a little? Four years ago I would have been upset with myself for not creating faster. Now? I just don’t care. I love what I do. I love creating. And I won’t create based on anyone else’s standards.
I love giving myself regular check-ins, to make sure that I am making the healthiest choices for me and not for anyone else. I like to knock on my own door and ask how I’m doing. Because if not me, who? Now that we are almost into April, we have hit the quarter mark of 2015. So often people say that time moves too fast, but to me, it moves at just the right pace. I always feel like whatever time it is, it is the right time. And so, with it being March, I feel quite ready for a check-in.
These are some questions I ask myself:
1. How do you feel about the work you have produced this year? Quantity? Quality? Overall aesthetic?
2. Are you happy with how much time you have dedicated to yourself? Do you need to make more time for your passion?
3. Are you unhappy with decisions you have made this year? What specifically? How can you change course?
4. How can you take a more active role in pursuing your dreams? Look back at your New Year Resolutions and move one forward. What specific steps can you take?
5. Do you feel you have a good support system in place? Sometimes friends come and go. Make sure you are loved. Don’t have a community? Start one! Join a group. Create a group. Host a meet-up. Join a competition. Message someone you admire.
Top Tips & Exercises
A. Create a creation routine in which you set aside a certain amount of time each week to create. Next, create a routine for how you create so you can get more accomplished. For me personally, if I am stuck in a rut and simply want to break free, I begin with an inspiration exercise: 10 minutes of brainstorming. Next, I spend 10 minutes sketching and writing a description of a potential image. After that, I shoot, which will take roughly 20 minutes. And finally, I begin the edit. All of this can last 1 hour, and there is no pressure to finish. But once you’ve invested time into a creative project and you’ve gone through specific steps, you are more likely to come back to it and actually finish.
It doesn’t matter what your routine is, just as long as you have one in place. Knowing how you work best and then cultivating those circumstances is going to help tremendously in your personal progression.
B. Have a night of fear & fun. Pick one night out of the week to do something that scares you, but could also be fun. A certain photo shoot, a social gathering, or something as simple as writing an email to someone you don’t know. Take a risk, set time aside for yourself to properly do that thing, and reward yourself once you have. Make it as fun as possible. Bring a friend to make a little party out of it. Challenge others to do the same. Define what scares you, and figure out a way to playfully address that fear.
C. Reach out to someone in your community. I invite all of you to join my new Facebook group which is an extension of this blog. I will be posting weekly challenges, both personal and artistic, that anyone can participate in. Reach out to someone in the group. Tell them how much you admire them, or simply get to know someone on a deeper level. We are all looking for companionship from others who understand our struggles and triumphs.