Get Over It
Part 1 – The Idea
A bit harsh , yes? o.k. Perhaps a better title is “Deal with it”, No really, I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I mean it in a “This is so important I don’t want you to miss it” sort of way. Honestly, this message has written itself over the past few years of mentorship classes I have run. I have noticed a common thread through each one and in the many many conversations I have about photography, creativity and the need to be in the groove. It’s my sincere hope this will have a lasting and defining impact on your approach to photography. Perhaps (and hopefully) even life. While this will have a greater impact on anyone hoping to make their creative pursuit their business, like becoming a professional photographer, it is no less import a lesson to embrace as enthusiasts and hobbyists as well.
We all go through it, and if you haven’t you will. You lose your focus, your drive, your creative desire to move forward. Call it mojo or muse, inspiration or enthusiasm, no matter what it is, we lose it. We find ourselves in a rut. Some of us go through slow cycles and others can have very rapid and extreme swings. We know we’re there and we want to move forward, but alas, we are stuck. Sometimes we reach out to other creative friends and they offer us great advice from, “Oh, It’ll pass” to “here read this book, watch this video, eat your carrots”……yeah, they mean well and sometimes these things can help but mostly they only help us garner a little resentment and pout a little more profusely, right?. well maybe except for the carrots. So we go along in our funk, and even post about it on our social networks. The advice we get is well intended and many will lament right along with us, but is it helping?
“But do you need to feel creative to be creative?”
I absolutely believe in nurturing our inner artist. I believe in getting inspiration from other creative people and I believe we were created creative, it’s innate, built in, hard wired into our being. It is likely and to a large degree part of the reason we get so distraught when we don’t “FEEL” creative. But do you need to feel creative to be creative? I say not at all. You are not what you feel, you are who you are.
This leads to my first point………
“It’s a Decision”
Let me ask you, do you feel like going to work every day? Most would say no, certainly not every day. There are days when we just aren’t feeling it yet we go anyway, and we do our job, and we get to the end of the day and you know what? We may have often even done a great job. How we felt about it didn’t dictate what we did about it. Another example I have that may hit home more with the mom’s reading this is the idea that you don’t have to “feel” like being a great mom, reading the bedtime stories, bandaging the cuts, hearing about boyfriends and girlfriends and helping with homework. BUT YOU DO IT. And I’ll bet, if you’re like me (no I’m not a mom, but I did stay home with two of my own kids), if you’re like me, a few pages into reading that book, or having that talk, you are enjoying it, and you are being the best parent you can be, right? The same thing goes for the creative. It wasn’t until I could grasp the idea that whether or not I FEEL it, I AM creative. Not I was creative and now I’m not, or I will be creative after I finally eat those carrots, no, I AM creative. I may not be having earth shattering ideas or be creating the world’s most memorable work in the moment, but I’m still creative and I can produce work throughout my emotional phases. Some of the greatest works have been created through the greatest tragedies. Our role in it is simply the DECISION to do it anyway. This is especially true if you plan on making a living using your creative gifts. The landlord won’t wait for the muse to strike when the rent is due. So as much as we know our muse has left us, it doesn’t mean we can’t be creative or create great work. If that were so, then were we ever creative to begin with or were we simply channelling some unknown power that is fickle and unreliable? I have come to understand that how we “feel about it” does not determine our ability to be productive or creative. Make sense? I hope it’s starting to.
“Inspiration usually strikes when we are doing something else”
The idea of where do great ideas come from is a deep well to dive into, and far too broad for the scope of this post. I will however summarize a recurring theme that surfaces within the variety of opinions about it, that is, inspiration usually strikes when we are busy doing something else. It’s in the unexpected, and often mundane activities that we find inspiration, like while walking the dog, doing the dishes or gardening and other kinds of tasks that our muse often strikes. So knowing this, we can nurture our inner artist, but we are not to be dependent on how we feel at the time. Likely the most important activity that induces creative thought is in group discussion and activity. Being social. When we isolate, we are doing more to delay the return of our muse than when we get up off our butts and engage in some form of social, community type activity. It was George Bernard Shaw who said,
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
The “I’m Busier Than You Are ” Syndrome
I have a strong and growing conviction we are all too busy. In an effort to do all we want to do, all others would have us do and all the things in between, we are simply too busy. It is fine to have busy “seasons” in life, but our inner artist, the creative within us, needs space to play and create and dream. We need time and an environment that allows us to experiment, to “not” get it right all the time, to frolic in our imaginations and form new concepts. The creative person needs this desperately along with our structured everyday routines. They go hand in hand. too much of one or the other and we are not fully productive or creative. Having once “burned out” form working non-stop, (and being quite proud of how busy and self-important I was), I realized I needed balance and to make the tough choices. I decided to protect my free time, my time to play in the sandbox. This will look different for everyone, but it can’t be over stated. Put on the brakes. Do it today!
…an article, post or video may help us form opinions,
doing it helps us form behaviours.
Go Do It
It’s never enough to read an article, or to watch a video. That is only the beginning. My world is so full of amazing content that I risk becoming immune to the impact of its quality . Reading and watching is a start but it’s not until we do it, or something about it, that it actually changes us. An article post or video may help us form opinions, doing it helps us form behaviours. Behaviors that don’t need the permission of our feelings to produce wonderful and lasting results. No matter how you feel, you can decide to move forward, making a conscious and intentional choice t do the things it takes to get things started. Once that ball is kicked, it becomes hard to stop it from beginning a creative work within us, often it begins in spite of how we feel, and if we nurture it, will reach the goal line of creative and productive outcomes.
It is with utmost respect and encouragement that I say to you, Get Over It and get on with it by making a decision to do, in spite of your current feelings. Surprising things may happen!