Promoting Passion Week 64: Quarterly Check-In

Promoting Passion Week 64: Quarterly Check-In

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.

I would love to hear your answers to the questions, any tips/exercises you may have to keep on the right track, or even your favorite/least favorite images from this year so far!

I hope you’ll join the Facebook group so we can grow this community further!

14 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Week 64: Quarterly Check-In

  1. I’m one of those members of your community that reads/watches your blog every week. One of those advocates that actively seeks out your post each Monday as a part of my weekly start up. I’ve referred you to many in hopes that you are able to also add value to their lives, like you have mine.

    (And seriously, big huge bonus points for actually responding to people’s comments in the past. I left replies before, and it was heartwarming to not only know that you read it, but took the time to graciously reply)

    I use markers throughout my year as well to evaluate things, make changes, start new chapters. I’m in a period of closing one chapter and started a new one. One of my goals this year was to write a blog. One post, once a week. But do it in a way that is not a non stop commercial for what I’m doing… instead I hope to share ideas, provide insight into why I’ve gone about things a certain way, and have something worth reading. I’ve been able to do that so far this year and while I may have only a limited amount of people reading it, I do it because it is good for me to reflect on where I’m at and hopefully I can also be of help to others. I like that your blog not only hits home nearly each and every time… But that I feel that there are others like minded like me going through the same things.

    Thank you for the continued inspiration. Wishing you all the best 🙂

    1. Joe, thank you so much – for supporting me and for being so kind, and for leaving me feeling brighter than I did before. I am so grateful!

      Will you share your blog link here? I’d love to take a read and see what you’ve been up to. Have you been reaching your goal of one post a week? It can be really tough to keep up with but you will undoubtedly inspire!

  2. I love this blog post. And I also really love this image – this one and the one you did with the blue paint have more of a painterly feel than the rest of your work and it looks so awesome.

    Back to the blog post –
    1. I’m satisfied with the quality of the work I’ve produced this year, but not with the quantity. I understand that failure is a part of the whole growing process, but it can be a little discouraging when it feels like this year I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded. I’m dying to create more work that I’m proud of.

    2. I definitely want to have more time for photography. I go through phases where I spend too much time doing things that I know are only a waste of time (like binge-watching a TV show), then feel like I should’ve been more productive.

    3. I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made this year. I feel like even if I did make some bad decisions, they were just a lesson to be learned.

    4. Create more, not for the sake of having more images to post online or anything like that, but because it’s so fulfilling and I need more of that. I also recently decided to take on some projects that weren’t a part of my New Years resolutions so I’m excited about that. Remember in Hawaii on the first day, I told you that I’ve always wanted to write a novel but kinda gave up on that? I started working on it 🙂

    5. I’m so grateful that yes, I do have an amazing support system. Some of my friends are on the other side of the world, but they’re still there for me when I need them. But I definitely want to grow my community and interact with more people. Super excited about the Facebook page!

    Thank you for the tips and exercises, I’m going to do them all!
    Hugs <3

  3. I love the idea of a check-in! I’ve been writing a weekly blog and creating one piece a week since last March. Plus I was so proud to get my new website done last month 🙂

    I still feel like I question myself too much. I read about marketing online, finding an audience, and creating sales funnels. That makes me feel like I’m not doing it right and I start questioning what I’m doing too much.

    Thank you for your tips as they feel good to me.

  4. LOVE this post. It’s very timely, as I was looking just last week at my list of goals for the year. I definitely want to create more and not feel like it’s something I *should* be doing. 17 images so far?! I’ll be lucky if I create 20 images the entire year! Lol So that’s one thing I want to work on, which I hope will get better with more practice and experimenting, and of course now it’s finally getting warmer here in the northeast, so I’ll be able to go out on the deck to shoot.

    Each Sunday I set my calendar for the week. However, instead of sticking to my routine each day, I tend to shift things around as the day goes on, and it’s easy for me to say, “I don’t feel like doing that today” and put it on the calendar for the following week. I also often misjudge how long something takes me and don’t allot enough time on the calendar. Thankfully, I’ve been aware of all this and am making subtle shifts to take more risks and to better streamline my work/play schedule.

    Thank you for inviting us to look at all of these things. It’s important, and I love the list you’ve made! Thank you for inspiring me. 🙂

  5. The timing of your posts is just amazing!! I so look forward to every Monday when I know you are posting something, and I love that you created the facebook group, was so happy to join it!!
    I am going to try and answer they questions

    1.) This is my first year of going full on with my work, and stepping back from whatever one else wanted me to do. The fact that I am doing what I love is already a plus. I am really happy with my work, I am almost done creating a series based on the last 4 years of my life (I posted a denial image on the group ) It has been a big healing experience for me. I believe that we can always improve on things, my work has gotten a lot better, but I have lots to learn.

    2.) So far I am happy with how much time I dedicate to me and my work. I do fundraising mini session every year in honour of my Mom ( I donate all the proceeds to The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in her name ) so I know my time will be cut down a lot, but I plan to still set aside a time for me create.

    3.) So far it’s been pretty good with the decisions, there is a couple of things I wish I wasn’t doing, but I am a people pleaser something I need to work on.

    4.) I think for me I need to keep building confidence in myself and what I do. I also need to stop doing things that others want me to do ( family session etc ) I have gotten better but not there yet.

    5.) I am so lucky with my support system, my hubby is amazing so supportive and gives me input, I am so blessed to have him. My two young boys, they come home from school and ask if I created anything today, which I love. And my work has been called dark and twisty ( which I love ) and they still love it, and strangely enough they understand when I am trying to have come across. I have amazing friends that are huge supporters, as well as clients. Sadly I don’t talk to too much of my family ( except my Dad )
    I do love that you have created this community which has tons of amazing photographers, including you, of course, that are full of support.
    Last year before I decided to do this full time, I reached out to you and you emailed me back, which is one of the reasons why I started to believe in myself and started the amazing journey I am on now!!
    Thanks for another inspiring image and blog!! =)

  6. Another beautiful post and image as well! Love it! As you know, I started this adventure in April 2014 with your challenge “I AM ME”. And after reading your other post about review our own work before we ask someone to do that, I decided next month, look at my work and do this review and check my progress during this past year.
    However, I can already tell that in 2015, I feel in fact that my work in terms of quality, are improving. And this happens because the entire process, leading to the final image (from inspiration to editing), has been improving work after work. So I am satisfied with that, but as for the quantity… In fact, I would like to create more, but it is not always easy to take time to create and it happens for several reasons. However, this is another goal I have, create more.
    I am not happy about the time I have available for photography, but I’m working on it. I try to manage my time to have more time for photography, but as I said before, it is not always easy for those who have another professional work.
    About my decisions, so far so good! At least those that I think are really important! Because there is always one or another detail that I might do differently, but that would not put my work in question.
    To tell the truth, I do not have a great support system, but that does not bring me down. Seeing the likes of my fanpage, it might seem that I would be sad. But no! I see the statistics that many people around the world, see my post and it makes me happy and willing to continue. I only have a little sorry, because there is no interaction from them! But even with two likes, I get by post, I will continue on do it, because doing it makes me feel happy. I say two, because there are two that never fail with their likes! And these two people are a great support. But I do not deny that I would like to see more likes and interaction on my fanpage 🙂 And then, there are also a few people, mostly friends, who give me congratulations and show their interest on my work. I can say that’s not a big support, but as they say here, few but good.

    Thank you for these beautiful words and these top tips. I wish you all the best. Hugs <3

  7. 1. How do you feel about the work you have produced this year? Quantity? Quality? Overall aesthetic?
    I honestly have not produced anything. And that pains me, but I have been focusing on getting my book published – and planning a big conceptual piece about it on April 11th. I am behind. And I can feel it.

    2. Are you happy with how much time you have dedicated to yourself? Do you need to make more time for your passion?
    No and Yes. I need just more time period. Can we petition them to add more hours in a day? Wouldn’t that be nice?

    3. Are you unhappy with decisions you have made this year? What specifically? How can you change course?
    I wish I could have photographed more. I could blame the weather, but I know there have been times I could have done something. Really my writing (other passion) is keeping me from photography (another passion)
    If only I could leave the day job…sigh

    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?
    Planning. More planning. And sticking to those said plans.

    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.
    Well this one is tricky. Not really a support system in place. Anyone in Texas here want to create one with me? Message me.

  8. This is a great little exercise that had be thinking all day! And truly, it was probably a nice kick in the rear that I needed. But also, made me feel pretty happy about myself too!


    I definitely haven’t done enough… yet. I tend to forgive myself a bit during the cold winter months when it comes to that. But the snow has finally melted and it’s warm enough to venture outside again! And soon, my lens will be fixed and it won’t be an extra expense each time I’d like to shoot. Good things!

    I’ve really enjoyed everything that I’ve made so far this year with that said. With being all cooped up inside, I actually ended up with a sort of mini-series, which I’m VERY happy about. Limiting myself to a certain box really allowed me to focus as an artist and use that space wisely – now I can break out a bit. But I feel as if my style is becoming more distinct and I’m looking forward to seeing how I can make series work for my future projects.


    It’s not so much that I need to make more time, but I need to move more. It’s so easy to become stagnant and complacent because following your dreams is HARD, but I can and DO intend on creating a career as a fine art photographer and it’s going to be a busy, busy year. I’m so terribly excited.


    I don’t think I am unhappy with a single decision I have made this year in regards to my art. Not that I can think of, except perhaps for being slow and procrastinating. I think every Sunday night, I’m going to start creating a list of what I want to accomplish in the following week, whether that’s to make more art or to apply myself to building my CV by applying to magazine’s or galleries.


    Taking specific steps to building my fine art career – in the next year, I’ve decided to really push building my CV and to start making print sales, so that by 2016 I can make my goal to apply for gallery shows and start teaching workshops in my community. Here in Canada, I haven’t seen a lot of workshops dedicated to creating fine art and most of the artists I follow don’t travel to Canada to do them.

    (PS: Thanks for the mention on your Feautured Philosophy page! That was a wonderful surprise!)


    I have a wonderful support system. Although I’m away from FB right now on a stint away from major social media, I am the head admin for a local model and photographer group. I also have many amazing, creative friends who I regularly chat with and bounce ideas off of. There are so many amazing people in my life (plus, I’ve been reaching out and connecting with other artists internationally, which is amazing). I can’t wait to join your fb group when I get back in September!

  9. 1. I have completed 6 images this year (with another in progress currently). The first couple were older images that I hadn’t finished editing so I’m not sure I can count them as fully being part of this year, but the new images I have started and finished this year are ones I am really happy with. I feel like I’m really defining my style and my images feel cleaner and my process more refined.
    2. My husband and I are currently in the process of setting up our web design business so this has taken a lot of time and focus. I love web design and development so I’m definitely not complaining but photography is my personal passion and I do often feel like I wish I had more time to dedicate to it as I know it makes me a better person in so many ways. I am working on finding ways to balance out business and personal aspects of life.
    3. There are aspects of my photography that I’m still not 100% comfortable with (shooting in public spaces and shooting with models being big ones). I am working on pushing myself out of my comfort zone with the support of friends and family. This morning I booked in a shooting session with a friend modelling for me in a public park! – I am very nervous but also excited. I am doing lots of planning for the shoot to help me feel confident in what I need to achieve on the day and my husband has volunteered to be my assistant so I know I have his support too.
    4. A goal that I have had for a long time is to create a series of images. I’ve tried in the past and lost interest or not been able to pull them together in the way I wanted. Recently I had an idea for a series so I am taking my time to really plan this one – I’m doing a lot of writing and sketching and really solidifying the concept before I dive in so I have a game plan to guide me and hold me accountable.
    5. I have my husband and a small group of friends and family who are supportive of my art that I’m really grateful for. I recently signed up with and am hoping to be able to connect with other photographers/artists in my area.

  10. I am so happy and excited about the Facebook group! My next goal is for this afternoon; I am creating a facebook page for my art and then I’ll join! I don’t have one and I also don’t have a community. I am very shy and I don’t have any photography friends so I feel kind of lonely and as an outkast. So maybe this is my time to find a community :D. My heart is beating so fast, I can’t wait to get home and get started! THANK YOU Brooke for being such an inspiration!

  11. 1. This quarter was the first time I gave myself a daily challenge and the result was one of the most productive (and challenging) quarter so far. I posted 100 straight days of new work created with a modified 4×5 pinhole camera ending this past Sunday. The images range in quality from the “I am posting this just to fulfill a requirement” to “big leaps forward in what I wanted to create”. I seem to create better images when required to produce a large sum of images rather than one perfect one. With that said, my editing of my work also needs to improve but the peaks reached during the project made the pain definitely worth it.

    2. Time is a constant issue for me. I work 40 hours a week at Trader Joes to help with the household finances and have a 1.5 year old son. But the time constraints have also forced me to shed bad habits such as watching a large amount of tv. I have to be very deliberate with my time. If I only have a certain amount of free time available, what is the one thing that I want to accomplish. I wish I had a lot of free time but that is impossible right now. So instead I try to be more productive with the time I do have.

    3. I am generally happy with the decisions that I have made. Each failure has been a great learning experience.

    4. The daily project was so beneficial that I am inclined to do similar type projects in the future. The challenge for me is that I dont just pick up another project just to do something. But that I am being intentional so that the project brings me closer to where I want to be. The goal is that project to be a path to my destination and not the destination in of itself.

    5. I just joined the Facebook group because there are days when I feel like I am alone on this artist’s journey.

    Brooke….thank you for the prompt to consider this past quarter and all that you do on Promoting Passion.

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