Our minds are habit-prone and it is very difficult to get out of old habits. Establishing new habits means giving ourselves a push, which must not be too hard or too gentle. It has to be balanced, and only we ourselves know where that balance lies.
Share an “old habit” that has been difficult to kick. What has contributed or gotten in the way to finding the right balance for change? What approach has been “too hard” or “too gentle?”
Here is one of my worst habits and a true confession. I don’t exercise my photography muscle and find myself at square one every year when I go overseas to shoot in Asia, the land of amazing photo opportunities.
This spring I took a photo class thinking it would be a warm up to get going. The shooting assignments were over after a week and nothing since.
Not that I haven’t been doing related things. Editing and re-editing photos, framing images on book, web and newsletter pages, creating photo surveys, and blasting photos out on twitter, facebook and linkedin.
It’s been more than a year since I really shot something interesting, a sumptuous wedding on my husband’s side of the family. It had all the ingredients of a foray to Southeast Asia. We were sweating like dogs in the Iowa sun, people wore unusual clothing, there were many interesting foreign faces and we walked on holy grounds where family and friends gathered for a special event.
That shoot was over a year ago! My photography skills are in reverse. Abundant in excuses I work full time and have been frantically (and ironically) building a platform for a book of photographs to come out who knows when. Clicking off tasks on my best days and pushing aside guilt on an occasional hike with friends in the Rocky Mountains.
When I grouch about not using my camera my outdoor buddies suggest I bring it on our hikes. It’s hard to explain why it wouldn’t work. First we’d have to start at 4 a.m. to catch the early morning glow. Then I’d be fiddling for hours with finding the right spot, the right lens or the just right light. Maybe it’s not so hard to explain.
A tripod has never really been my thing and that’s what nature photography is all about. Not that it wouldn’t stretch my palette for capturing stunning shots of temples dotted across the landscape of Myanmar. I’m going there in December and would love to be able to capture those images.
Yet those skills are not in my oeuvre and it’s not going to happen in three months. It’s the same thing when I write out goals to do a photo shoot every week; it just doesn’t happen.
I do need to get out before the trip to Myanmar. What about shooting one day in October and then over the Thanksgiving break? The rest of September is impossible. I’m committed to writing for this blog invitational everyday for the next two weeks! Halfway into October I’m writing a paper for a conference in Bangkok that pays for my flight in December.
Can I kick this old, lazy habit with a reasonable goal? Not too ambitious, not too slack? Could it be the beginning of a commitment to get out once a month with my camera and a better attitude towards discovering the splendor of vanilla Colorado?
Now I have you to be accountable to. We could have fun comparing the pitfalls and breakthroughs in the creative process. My old habits include isolation and treating photography like it was just another job. Now I could have companions to not only hear my confessions but also to share in the wonders of the universe.
Will you come out and play with me?