YAY! {it's not what you think}. it's good news in a must-see video for creatives like me. {seriously... you should watch it. it's only about five minutes, and so worth the time.}


oh, WOW! what a relief! and, no... if you were thinking i was going to say my camera is fixed and everything is okay, i wasn't. 'cause it isn't. i'm relieved about something else, however.

so, if you read my last post and didn’t just skim it, but actually read all 9,000+ words, you’ll know that it wasn’t simply a post to vent about my camera breaking. it was, in fact, about much, much more.

it had to do with something underlying... much deeper down than just frustration over losing the use of my camera. it was about me feeling like i’m not doing well at what i set out to do and feeling like i'm not yet a respected or bonafide photographer in my eyes or the eyes of others because of it, all of which broke open and spilled out when my lens inevitably quit rather out of my control.

the fact that there was something much deeper going on was something i knew as i was writing it. and i knew it each time i subsequently re-read it to search for typos/errors. and i know it still.

but what i didn’t know when i wrote it {and never knew before today} was that there are others out there who feel exactly the way i do. actually, scratch that. i already knew others feel the way i do. better said, there are others out there who are experiencing exactly what i am.

let me explain.

one of my sweet photography blog friends {jen}, who i met through this here blog, read my last post and immediately knew exactly what was going on deep down at the core level of me... inwardly... not just what was showing at first glance. she knew exactly what my struggle is, as she was able to see past the sniveling complaints i expressed on the surface and speak to the real issue beneath. so she wrote me a private message on facebook, addressing those things that are deeper down than even i realized... things i didn't see, because i was/am too close to the situation and unable to look at it in a not-emotionally-charged, objective way.

jen is also someone i respect very much as a writer and thinker... and mom... which is why i felt readily open to what she had to say.

so my post today is about her message to me, which i'll share in its entirety. {i hope that's okay with her.} but first, i’m going to share the video she had me watch. she included the link to it at then end of her long and thoughtful message... a message i received and read last night, but i just now got the chance to watch the video for.

it’s a clip of ira glass {of n.p.r.} talking about something experienced by storytellers in their creative journeys. but anyone who watches it could apply it to any creative type, really. and the way i see it, the photographer's craft isn't much different than his or others like him, because we also tell stories, visually... or hope to.

as i sat there watching and listening to him talk, it was all i could do to keep from hitting the pause button so that i could immediately pop over to my blogger dashboard and start writing a post about it. it really excited me {in a good way} and had such a profound effect on me... instantly! an effect that had me sitting there thinking something along these lines...

no way! this is SO me, and never once have i heard it explained this way by someone else. in fact, i thought i was the only one out there that felt this way about myself as an artist. and i most certainly never would have admitted {about myself} this piece that he said is true of most creatives at some point in their journeys, because i thought it was a negative quality to have... one that could not be “fixed” or changed in me.

hearing what he said sort of freed me from my thinking. {that's the relief is was referring to in my first sentence.} and it gave me the push i needed to keep going, because what he described is soooooo me.

oh, goodness... i guess i should just share the video before i keep rambling on, so that you know what in the world i’m talking about.

whaaaaat???? you know about this, ira? you knew this about me? and there are others? what?

everything he talked about in this just hit me like a ton of bricks. especially this part... where he says “there’s a gap... that for the first couple years that you're making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. okay? it’s not that great.” {um, TOTALLY how i feel lately} “it’s trying to be good. it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good.” {still me} “but your taste... the thing that got you into the game... your taste is still killer.” {yep... still me... i  have good taste in photography. i see it everywhere. everywhere! “stuff that *i* just, like, love”... to quote his woody-allen-esque way of putting it. i just knew this clip was going to be good from the moment i heard him bring taste vs. product into the mix!}

what he said next is the kicker statement that sort of knocked me off my feet, like wow!...

“and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is sort of a disappointment to you. {...like, you can tell that it’s still sort of crappy.}

yeah... pretty much nailed it. right there, he said so completely and precisely what i am going through. and the best part of watching the video was learning that this stage sometimes lasts for years in the creative journey of some {including his own}.

what a relief to know this is normal! i’ve always been able to admit this view of myself to myself, but never able to say it out loud {except maybe to mr. b or my mom}. i thought i was alone and odd to feel what i did... and still do.

now it's out in the open, 'cause i realize it's quite okay.

oh, how i don’t want to be one of the ones who quits while in that frustrating stage. before i even saw this video, i vowed i wouldn’t quit. even at the end of my last post, i said i wouldn’t quit now... thus the title “why i feel like throwing in the towel” and not “why i am throwing in the towel.”

as for his advice?... “do a lot of work. do a huge volume of work.”

that is why i take a lot of pictures of my son or anything else i have a chance to photograph, especially while not in the middle of prime photo-shoot season and not getting opportunities for real gigs. that is why having a working camera is important to me all the time, even if losing the use of it is only the straw that broke the back of the camel i call"disappointment with my work".

i realize that in order to press on through this stage no matter how much longer it will last, i need to keep working {or playing}... a lot. and for that, i need a working camera. that’s where all my tears came in, because that's where i felt the most helpless. {not that taking breaks from your craft isn't healthy, too. but only i-will-return breaks... not quitting for good breaks.}

to be honest, though i could not have put it as poignantly as mr. glass did, i already knew everything he said to be true of myself and was already pushing through it. i’m not going to be so blind as to say that the photography i put out there, whether professional or personal, is great stuff or as good as i want it to be. {good is a very relative term, by the way, so when i say good, i mean at a hoped-for level i have for myself some day... and even that is relative, because i hope i never stop improving. but you know what i mean... and if not, watch the video again. *wink*}

anyway, i was doing this already... pushing through this stage that i didn't even know other people experienced. there have even been times when i needed to stop looking at the work of others so that i would stop comparing and stop beating myself up, wondering when i’ll ever arrive at the level they’re at.

such a comfort it was to be told that others go through this... and that, at least as far as this video brings to light, it’s okay. it's normal and perfectly acceptable.

here is all of what my sweet friend said to me...
Georgia Georgia Georgia!  
After I read your blog post, I knew I must message you. I’ll get right to the point.  
1) God is the ultimate Creator of goodness and beauty. We are made in his image. When we create and bring beauty, we are reflecting and glorifying God to the world which needs all the beauty and goodness it can get. You have the gift of creating beauty. This is between you and God - He gave it to you and He knows your abilities will bless the world. You are doing Kingdom work. Do not compare yourself to others (oh boy I know how hard that is). Just spend some time with God thinking about the way he has equipped you and asking how you can continue to bless the world.  
2) I have watched someone - a mother - become VERY successful with a portrait photography business. Her photos were gorgeous and I believe she was grossing about $80,000 a year at her peak. (!) Guess what. Her business succeeded because she placed it as a priority over motherhood. After a mysterious and debilitating illness stopped her business, she said, “I think God is telling me to focus on being a mom right now.” And she is. You already understand that your role as mama supersedes your role as photographer. Bringing beauty in a quiet way is NO less important than bringing it in a big way. Bringing beauty reflects God, and God sees it all.  
3) Maybe you’ve seen this, but if you haven’t, I think you’ll like it! It’s Ira Glass talking about the creative process and what to do when you feel like your stuff isn’t as good as you’d like it to be. Or if you’re wondering if you have what it takes. This little video is so encouraging and his advice can apply to any creative medium. {of course, the video she is writing about is the one i posted above.} 
4) You have good taste and great ability! Keep on going because a) it’s what you were made for (to reflect God) and b) the world needs the beauty you bring. Okay. I think I’m finished for now. Hugs and feel better and WOW I hope you can get your lens/camera fixed. I think everything will work out just dandy.  
what a nice note. in fact, all of you who commented, whether on my post or in a private message, wrote such thoughtful and encouraging things.

i felt especially encouraged in being reminded by jen that it’s okay to have a desire... even a desperation... to create, because we are made in God’s image, and He is the ultimate creator. He made in us a desire to create. i don’t have to feel like it’s a waste of time or wonder if it can fit into my priorities or into the picture of what my life looks like as a proverbs 31 wife and mom. and i really needed to be reminded of that.

so thank you, jen {and everyone else}, for cheering me on to hang in there and keep going!

some of you who commented told me that you are in a similar place right now. so i hope this video helped you, as well. i couldn't keep from sharing something that was so helpful to me with any other creatives out there. if you’re one who's already gotten past that stage, then i hope you can share the video with someone who has yet to get past it, the way jen did for me.


beth said...

off to the watch the video.....and just to add to the group that expressed similarities, I'm in that place, too......

after turning down my first photography gig last fall, i've been questioning me, my ability, my love for photography, can i do this, do i want to compete, can i complete, am i good enough, do i want to work harder to think of myself as good enough, maybe i should run away, i need a new camera maybe that will help, i have nothing to shoot, i have nothing to share, who am i.....oh believe me georgia, i don't know how that boat hasn't capsized....as we are all in it with you !!!

georgia b. said...

thanks, beth... for sharing your experience. i have heard others share this sort of experience before... on their blogs or elsewhere. so i did know i'm not alone in that way. but i never heard anyone put it the way ira glass does here... where someone feels they have good taste in one of the arts {or several} and thereby knows where they want to "get to", but feel like they aren't catching up with their own work to where they see themselves being or to where their taste lies. i've never heard someone admit that they are disappointed in their work and frustrated, because they want to do better and think "i've got better taste than this." don't know if i'm making sense. but all i know is that it just totally opened my eyes to being okay with where i am at right now... that's it's normal. and possibly even good for me... something that will drive me, if i let it.

that said, i think you have a unique talent... and it also lies in your gift of writing. so i think you are doing what you should... blending the photography with your writing. it's apparently working, because your blog continues to be loved by many!!

hugs. thanks for your two cents. <3

Grace-WorkinProgress said...

I read once that it takes most people 10 years to master a particular skill or 10,000 hours. They said even those that seem to succeed young like Steve Jobs actually spent their teenage years working day and night on a computer even sneaking into the lab at night.

I think you do give something up to do this. If you want balance maybe you have to have just let go an know that in time you will get better.

I am taking a pen and ink class now and everyone was complaining that they aren't as good as the teacher and that they might as well quit.

The teacher majored in drawing and makes a living as a print maker. If we are willing to put in the time we will get there too but by the time we get there he will be even better.

georgia b. said...

haha... so true. it's all about perspective, i guess. there will always be someone better and others that see you as better. i know i have grown so much since i first started, so when i can look back at where i began, i tend not to lose heart. it's just when i can't look back or see ahead, and i feel stagnant and stuck that i get disheartened. so i guess it's good to look back from time to time. and it's certainly good to look ahead... toward the prize. work in progress... what a great name for your blogger profile, especially in light of this issue. thanks for your input, grace.