Progress Journal: The Mental Shift
August has been a weird month. Starting off on a high at the end of July, I was rearing to go with all guns blazing. I had been on a roll with blog posts, making time to schedule tweets to keep my account ticking over, and was ensuring that there was a portrait to post on Instagram every day too. Then I started to lose momentum. Whilst, in retrospect, August seemed to pass me by in a flash, each individual day felt drawn out and I got bored of sitting at my desk. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was treating my job like the 9-5 it wasn’t. This coupled with the uncertainty I felt over my “brand” and the direction I was going in, meant I was unsure of where to focus my energy, and just sort of slowly imploded instead.
Rather than waste time doing nothing, I spent less time at my desk, and time completing an errand that I hadn’t been able to get around to whilst I was in my full time job. I had so many old notepads lying around that I wanted to declutter, so I finally plonked myself on my bed and thumbed through them, with Lavendaire and MuchelleB playing on my laptop for company. Some notes were outdated or no longer necessary, so I could discard them there and then, others had notes on that I still wanted to utilise. Dating back to 2016, I came to find that a lot of the notes focused on wellbeing and creativity; from film ideas, through photography ideas, to writing ideas. As I typed up the notes one-by-one, recycling them as I went, I experienced a mental shift.
Seeing my passions come together right in front of my eyes flicked a switch in my brain. I was frustrated and exhausted, as I had been working away on things that did not serve those who follow me, my business, or myself. I had been trying to force myself to do work without having a “Why”; a focus that would drive me day in, day out, in order to get the results I wanted to see. Whilst there were things I wanted to come from my work, I didn’t have goals! Nor a plan to achieve them… I suddenly knew where I was going wrong (HOORAY!) and what I needed to focus on, in order to move forward (DOUBLE HOORAY)!
When it comes to photography, August has been a great month for me. I’ve shot people whilst they are working, worked with people to build their confidence in front of the camera, got creative with fabric (shown in the images of my cousin, Illustrator and Production Assistant Lizzie Houldsworth, featured in this post), and even booked in to shoot portraits of a couple on their wedding day(!!!) because they love my work (!!!!!!).
My Snapshots series is bustling along. My mind is ticking over with shoot ideas. My portraiture is improving - through constantly learning how to better my shots, both when shooting and during the editing phase. I’ve had some lovely feedback on both my Experiments in Self Portraiture: Layers on my Instagram, and now I’m carving out a creative, portraiture, and wellbeing hub over there too. AND seeing my engagement and following grow little by little as a result? Confidence: boosted.
All in all, this month has been an odd one. It’s been a cycle of despair and lessons. I’ve learned that:
I need to prioritise marketing. Photography, and freelancing in general, depends heavily on word of mouth, and so I need to get the word out about what I can do!
Making time for personal errands and To-Do’s is just as important as work-related To-Do’s. When you work for yourself, it’s easy to feel like anything besides doing your job is wasting time - when it’s not, at all. Doing things for yourself is vital for your overall wellbeing, and is likely to have a positive effect on your work and business as a consequence. Also, you need to get out there and live as well!
That decluttering can work absolute wonders. It can clear the mind, put things into perspective, centre and refocus. I want to make decluttering a part of my weekly, or monthly, routine going forward.
Moving away from my desk is okay. In fact, it’s really important to do as a creative. A change of scenery can be just what is needed to shake things up and, in my case, pop you on the right path.
To be messy, be magic. #bemessybemagic is my new hashtag over on instagram, all for sharing portraits alongside stories of failures, achievements, and everything in between. It’s important that we normalise the ups and downs of our work and lives, as well as allow them to be the important part of the creative progress - and life - that they are.
I feel like I’m on the cusp of something great, and now I’ve made strides when it comes to where I am going next, I’m ready to jump right in again. But, before I do, tell me - what important lessons did you learn this month?