Doing the Work
Too often, we never find time to believe. We find time to hope, to dream, but not to believe. Not to stand at the edge of nothingness and dive head first. Not to learn if we water and nourish those hopes and dreams, they’ll not only grow, but we will flourish.
To believe is to do. It’s not just to put in the hours and put in the work. It’s not just to wish. It’s easy to get sucked into the pool of fast reward, quick likes, and instant feedback. It’s easy to get lost in the world of the day-to-day.
You’ve gotta ask: Do I want to be a photographer?
I know you have your business. I know you have the emails and the things to do, and that big ol’ list you downloaded some app to help you clear. And I know they have to get done. I also know it feels good – so, so good – to see the little red box light up as the posts flare on Facebook or to see all those orange hearts on Instagram.
But it’s not enough.
Mandates of belief are bigger than all of this. Bigger than all of us. Because creativity is commitment. It’s an article of faith that when you get no likes, and your to-do list just keeps growing, it’s still more important to finish the day off knowing you did what mattered.
Let yourself matter. Because if you’re not getting it done, the rest is nothing more than justification.
And remember, to feel creative is not the same as to be creative.
Don’t be fooled. To be creative is hard. It’s about the slog and working through it until life sets itself in motion. Feeling creative, on the other hand, is easy. Wear the right clothes, order your coffee, browse your favorite photographers’ blogs, and learn some new techniques. But everyone can do that. In fact, everyone does that. That’s not what makes an artist. An artist commits to growth. To getting out there each day and working at it. Not just to snap a shot when it shows up in front of your face and all that negative space would fit right into with your feed. That’s a hobbyist.
Being creative is hunting the shot down, and doing everything you have to do to be ready to make that happen. Are you working at it every day? Are you going out to shoot for yourself? Are you committing to learning, studying, and thinking harder and deeper? Feed your mind. Feed your soul. That’s the trick of it. We can’t control creativity. We can’t wrestle it to the ground and stuff it in a box. You just have to trust it will come.
Creativity finds the fertile mind. Whether you choose to till the soil is your call. To be sure, it comes at the expense of everything else. Of getting things done. Of loosening the pressure valve. Of tending to yourself. No one ever said it was going to be easy. But you can’t have it all, and you have to make a choice. When you embrace an unknown destination and do it with every ounce of everything you’ve got, you can know you’ll live a life full of new ideas and new experiences no one has ever had. You can know you’ll see a world you’d never have known, staring into the openness and seeing constant possibility. Yeah, you have to give up a lot to get there. But is losing sight of your hopes and dreams giving up anything less?
About the Author
With 10 years of experience running Brooklyn-based 5 West Studios, he has developed a style that combines influences from fine art and photojournalism. He has also enjoyed time as a designer, creative director, and filmmaker.
Spencer is the founder of the industry blog, Ground Glass, as well as a doting husband and father of two beautiful children in Brooklyn, NY.