I'm sitting here thinking about my photography. I'm thinking about this blog and website. I'm thinking about what kind of work I want to show, where my craft is taking me, and what it means to be an artist. I've been pushing myself to go out and shoot a lot this season. I took time off from trying to run a business and sell to really find out who I am and push myself to be a better artist. This year is half over already and I'm thinking about the progress and what I've learned. I'm telling myself that every minute I spend out there is honing my skills, challenging my creativity, and is therapeutic for my mind. The time I spend in here looking at others work is time I want to be out there. I want to try what I see and I want to improve upon it. I'm feeling good about the work I'm shooting right now. I like it even. That is always dangerous.
It always comes full circle. You like you work for awhile, then you just stop having "any luck" and pretty soon you think you're not good enough anymore. Is that how we stay motivated stay motivated as creators? I can always tell when I've pushed too far, when I've been out shooting too much and I need a break. I become disenchanted. I stop liking my work. I think all of it is total crap. I can't look at photography, read about it, or even think about picking up my camera. All the latest lenses, filters, and gadgets just don't seem like enough to make me better, and then things pick up and something "just works" and it starts with one shot I will really like and then for awhile again I'm comfortable in the field and behind the lens.
Now is one of those times when I'm feeling good. I'm content and shooting brings me joy. I'd love for it to stay that way, but is the discontentment part of being an artist actually the part that makes us better? Is the best part the time that nags at us that we're not good enough and makes us step back for a moment and evaluate our progress? I think so. While I shoot for the pleasure of it, I think the times I am frustrated are the times I am growing. They're called growing pains for a reason I suppose.
What makes you a better artist? What keeps you motivated? Is is other's inspiring work, making projects for yourself, trying a new technique, or maybe just putting the camera away for a week or two? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment and share.