As a creative, it’s natural to experience lapses in inspiration. Feeling that you’re in a rut or unmotivated are all part of a cycle that most of us will continue to experience for most of our careers. There are times when we can feel on top of the world. Raring to go and inspired. In love with the idea of creating, making and doing. Other times, although the quality and standard of our work hasn’t changed, we can feel deflated. We can feel that what we are delivering is not good enough.
We all have fleeting moments of self doubt and periods where we question ourselves or what we’re doing. Are we being true to ourself? Are we heading in the right direction? Will our objectives be met? Lapses in inspiration can be momentary or prolonged. Inspiration can strike suddenly, or be an ongoing process of learning and growing.
Creative blips are natural and normal
Try as we might, such blips are completely natural and normal. It’s something we all go through from time to time. Some of us feel it more though- take it more to heart. Any instance of feeling uninspired may lead us to question everything. Am I in the right profession at all? Am I even good enough to be doing this? Can I compete with what others are offering- creatively, financially?
The more resilient or seasoned creative may recognise these moments and have strategies to tackle them. Some like to invest in workshops or education. Immersing yourself in a pool of other creatives can help to inspire and reassure. Others prefer to ride it out or take a step back. Going back to basics and separating your tools from your work can work wonders.
For example, taking the time to enjoy photography again. Experimenting and messing around. Taking photographs for fun, without the professional pressure can light a spark you’d long since forgotten was there. Without the pressure of perfection, you can focus a little more on creativity. Trial and error. All the things that made photography fun in the first place.
Responsibility is a burden that can kill creativity
Wedding photography in particular comes with a whole lot of responsibility. It’s a heavy weight to carry and the pressure is too much for many. The very best wedding photographers thrive on the adrenaline and uncertainty of a wedding day. But week in and week out, year in year out it can be exhausting. And as much as you may love it, you do have to invest a whole lot emotionally into doing it right. You sacrifice weekends, evenings, time with loved ones- as with any job. You commit to dates years in advance and gamble on where your finances or the economy may be in the years ahead. You can take several bookings in a week and then go for a month without any interest. It’s a rollercoaster and a half sustaining a business.
You can take a booking for your top package no questions asked and then spend several days negotiating with someone trying to haggle down your base rate. It’s easy to take things to heart. It’s easy to let the normal ups and downs of business knock your confidence. Especially when social media presents a world where everyone is IN LOVE with their job and seemingly on top form every second.
You do not have to love what you do all the time
The reality is that you don’t have to love what you do all the time. It’s not a reflection on your work, or your commitment to your couples if you don’t love your job 24/7. This is a hard thing to accept. We all have moments where we just want to be done with editing or some other task. But we can make ourselves feel bad or guilty for it. It’s not because you don’t love your job over all. It’s not because you’re not passionate or don’t care. It’s because it’s exhausting to be passionate and creative and tuned in all the time.
When you’re new it’s easy to be besotted with the joy of being a photographer every minute of every day. Everything is exciting because it’s a new experience. Even the challenges are exhilarating and a learning curve. You are absolutely not letting your couples down though if you are not falling at their feet at all times thanking them for the opportunity. You are not letting your couples down if you take a couple of days off from editing their wedding because you already worked 11 days straight and just need time to breath.
Creative blips, exhausted blips, and having a love/hate relationship with your job are all normal. Something we all experience in time.
You are not alone
Just know that you aren’t alone. Know that the worries and the insecurities with pass. Above all else know that you are good enough and that you have something wonderful and unique to offer. Even in those moments where you feel completely inadequate. Even in those moments where you question it all. You have made a difference to so many lives and will continue to do so for as long as you choose to.
Step back. Give yourself time. Breath. Tomorrow is a new day and a new challenge.