For the past 6 weeks I have been nowhere near as active photography wise as I had been in previous months. When I really focus on my craft, I get lost in it. Other important parts of life tend to be forgotten and I start to lose balance in my life. Social time does not seem important, exercising takes a back seat, I even forget to eat sometimes! Whilst this may result in getting lots of content, some good some absolutely awful, it can be destructive in relation to the overall process.
Why Step Back?
There came a point where all I could think of was photography. How I wanted my online image to be, what kind of photos I wanted to take, how I would edit, what goals I would have to meet. It was overwhelming and borderline addictive. In result of this I was burnt out. I could no longer function creatively and I had to make the decision to take a step back. I put my camera in the cupboard, deleted social media apps off of my phone and put everything photography related to the back of my mind. For the first time in a long time, I could breath.
Filling the void
Of course, this meant I had a lot of free space and time - which I wanted to fill. I was able to take more time for my relationships. I took trips and actually embraced my surroundings, rather than just seeing them through a lens. I got into the gym each day - even if it was just to get my body moving. Most importantly for me, I started to cook real food again. Taking the time to prepare a fresh meal and feed myself and those closest to me, is something I find extremely rewarding. I slowed the pace of life down, and slowed my mind down. I felt more centred, balanced and in time I became more focused.
How to pick the camera back up.
You may ask “If putting the camera down gives you a more balanced life, why would you ever want to pick it back up?”. Fair question. The fact is, photography is my life. Once it cemented itself in my psychological make up, I knew then it was never going to leave. Naturally taking that step back gave me the opportunity to miss what I love. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as the old saying goes - and whilst that is meant to be applied to humans, it can also work with our passions.
At the time of writing this, I am on a plane heading to the South of France. I have my camera dusted off, a fully charged battery and two SD cards loaded inside. I cannot wait to get creative. My mind is healthy and my thirst to be productive is on the verge of being quenched.
Stepping away enabled me to see again. It stopped me from being stagnated and gave me the excitement again. Going forward, as a rule I am going to work on a 3 on 4 off approach. 3 months of getting lost in what I do and 4 weeks to regroup and recharge. Of course any paid work that comes in that 4 weeks will be taken, but for personal projects and the clutch of social media - I will take a step back.
I encourage you to do the same. Overworking yourself will lead to burnout, and at that point you are of no use to anybody and a risk to yourself. Work hard, yes. Reduce your quality of life, no.
I will ensure I keep you all updated on my French shenanigans.
Thanks for reading.
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