It’s literally been six months since I last blogged something.
There’s this crazy world out there of ‘write-content-write-regularly-write-well’. Rinse and repeat.
Write it on your blog, share the link on Facebook, write a second version of it on LinkedIn, and do it ideally twice a week.
Or once, if you can’t do twice.
You must do this to stay current, come up in Google searches, and to give people plenty of digestibles so they clock their 7 hours of time with you, which they need to do before they’ll book you.
I was feeling pressured, overwhelmed and exhausted from it. I mean, who was reading it anyway?
Weren’t they just scrolling by?
Was anyone reading it? Was it even worth reading?
Was I solving problems for people?
Was I solving the right problems that I wanted to solve? Had I even really considered that?
And anyway, forget them, was I loving what I was writing about?
More to the point… no.
So I stopped writing for six months.
Actually, I stopped everything for two months in the winter. No, I didn’t tell you about that.
I’m not even sure what I’m going to say here.
But the little voice has been on my shoulder for the last month or so to at least let you know where I’ve been.
I’ve been here. But I decided to do a ‘pens-down’ exercise, retreat into myself, and let the credit cards build up while I at least attempted to figure it out.
It was scary to do because I live a hand to mouth existence anyway.
But something had to change and give way for something better.
What I was doing wasn’t working. I was just spinning my wheels and going nowhere fast.
The value of that exercise has been immense.
I gave myself some time and freakin’ space to sit in it for a while, and to see what would bubble to the surface.
What bubbled up wasn’t pretty.
I saw that I didn’t believe I could ever make a substantial living in photography.
I saw that I was doing what I should rather than what I wanted or felt passionate about.
I saw that I had a scarcity mindset.
I saw that I berated myself for mistakes, and didn’t celebrate successes.
I saw someone that was very hard on herself, doubted her judgement and continually shrugged off her intuition.
I often said to myself as if they would pick me.
As I’m writing this now it all seems completely ridiculous. And childish, whiny and pretty embarrassing.
They were all old patterns and beliefs that I’d carried along with as the norm for my life. Each one had built upon the other over the years.
I didn’t stop to question them or ask properly, what does Beth want?
I just took it all as given, without stopping to question it and re-calibrate.
I learned some skills in how to change the internal conversation and then observe the physical feeling in my body changing (for the better).
I still catch myself from time to time, but at least now I know what to do to steer myself back where I need to be going.
Some commercial work came in, the bills cleared, and I’m back in the black.
Now, it’s November.
So, about that content question…
This is the start of it. Just a note really about what I’ve been up to.
I got really, really clear on what I actually want to do.
I put to the side (but haven’t abandoned) the things that I don’t want to do.
I sharpened my business vision and aligned my website wording and presentation to match it.
I checked in with how is this feeling now?
And it feels GREAT.
I get this excited, pumping, giddy feeling high in my chest, like when you’re a kid and waiting your turn to go on the roller coaster.
For the first time ever I feel excited about the future and looking forward to who I might meet next, who I can help, whose great real-life story can I tell?
I’m in the driver’s seat of being the photographer I always dreamed I could be.
When I stop to look at what I have achieved since uni, I never could have imagined I’d be doing this now. I just absolutely love what I do. It was never a question about stopping photography. It was always photography.
The deeper question was what kind of photographer do you want to be?
Turns out, it was right there all along. All the results in my working life that I’m most proud of were all about telling great stories in real-life photos.
Like milestones, or lamp posts, they stick up and out and much higher like beacons above all the other jobs and results.
The only difference is that with these ones, they (still) make me feel amazing. In some cases, years after they were completed.
It’s that one, simple, common thread that links them all together. They were all great stories that I captured in real-life photos.
So now, with every enquiry I get, and at the start of every day, I say to myself, I am a photographer, and I tell great stories in real-life photos. That’s my purpose, it centres me, and it’s what I look for in every collaboration I do now.
Back to that content question…again…I’m still not sure actually what I will write about.
I know for sure I’m not going to write anything unless it’s worth saying.
If I haven’t got something worthwhile to say, then I won’t say anything.
And that feels great, too.