The past month has been hectic for me. I started back to work from my summer vacation, started a new set of goals, bought a home (not yet started moving), and had family in the hospital. So not exactly the world ending…but the world is going through hundreds of natural disasters right now including a massive fire really close to us. All this leaves me with zero energy and little inspiration.
I feel listless and dull. My work slows and my camera doesn’t plead for me to capture a moment. Like many of you, I hit a slump and my passion took a dive. This led me to write a post on staying inspired.
My art, whether that is drawing or photography, feeds my soul. It allows me to feel and experience the world in a new way. It keeps me self aware and always reflecting on new perspectives. Photography especially, keeps the same world we live in a new and fresh place. It feels like I am searching for that which I don’t even know exists yet.
Simple Practices to Put In Place
Needless to say, when I hit the place of being uninspired…even if from pure exhaustion, I put the following list into practice in order to keep that which is sacred to my person.
- Look at other work. If I am always looking at good work, I feel as though mine will stay fresh. I also enjoy a challenge. The feeling of wanting to match another’s level of expertise. One of my favorite artists of all time is Sally Mann. Not only for her whit and cutting edge photos, but for her soft narrative and reflection of those who surround her.
- Pick up another medium. I used to think of myself as “only” a photographer. I soon realized how limiting this was. It was a mindset that forced me to narrow in on one thing. The best thing I did in college was take a class in each different medium. Now, when I feel uninspired to photograph, I turn to watercolor, my sketchbook or even pottery. I am still surprised how much one form of work will inform the other.
- Meditate. This is one of my new goals, and so far I have been doing really well. I meditate every morning before going to work. I was not sold on the idea at first, but after reading books about highly successful and creative people who make it a daily practice…I mean literally every single one of them…giving it a try seemed to make sense. The clarity and general focus I have discovered is amazing. I recommend the app Headspace. They have several free sessions to test it out.
- Make a List. Journal about what inspires you. Create a doodle or a simple list. If you can’t think of anything look back at what you always take photos of. Find commonalities. Then act on it and seek out those things that inspire you.
- Create a Series. Often the best time for reflecting on work already created is during a slump. In many cases we are constantly creating. However, taking all of the images and making coherent series or working body of images requires a pause in creation and some serious time devoted to reflection.
Enjoy the little things in life…
Whatever happens when you are in a slump, don’t sweat it. Please DO NOT judge yourself. This will make it even harder to keep creating. Prioritize and simplify, make lists, look at other work and enjoy the little things in life. Your work will come back! Mine did.