(Important note: this is about my personal/collaborative work & has nothing to do with my clients & commissions; in fact I want to shoot less in my free time so I have more time & energy for those specifically!).
Update: I spoke here about how & what I'm going to do to channel these feelings and do something about it!
I felt it's time to write honestly about something on here, considering I want to use this platform as a way to inspire & educate others out there. It's not something I want to write about with pleasure; but I feel transparancy is becoming something rare and I want to try and stay authentic: so here is a honest moment in time.
I'm tired of creating.
I find it hard to like my job.
My creativity has burned up.
(And I really don't want it; in fact after nearly losing my dreamjob *which is this here yes* I'm starting to realise how much I love it and how much I need to change to make it something I love again and want to give my everything too)
There. It's out now.
I've been slowly but steady bringing out the word that I want to shoot less (personal/free/collaborative) work; something I said before in the years past but never like I mean it now: I'm honestly really really really tired. I'm tired physically, I'm tired mentally and I feel my creativity is not living up to my expectations and due to that; I also feel I'm letting my collaborats and clients down.
It's kinda really stressfull and it wears me down heavily to enjoy it all. And that's because I worked too much; that thing that everyone tells you to do all the time.
"You got to work hard. Shoot 24/7. Create. Improve. Create. Grow. Don't give up".
Its true; but too much is too much and I feel that too little people speak up about that it's not about "more is better"; the quality of work you put into it (and not just pressing the shutter & post-processing it) is actually hella way more important. But its just often the most dreadful & uncreative part of it all.
It's always strange how easily it is to listen to someone his or her story and be like: "dude, just change that and this and do it different and shit will be fine!". But it always takes some time before you actually realise how true it is (sorry boyfriend, sorry mom & dad. You where right on this one).
If I don't stop now and change my life 360 degrees and start pursuing the idea that only I am the one who should decide the value of my life; I won't get far. I'm now more and more just realising that it should be totally possible to stay true to my beliefs to be a good person, help and support others without damaging myself, my business and my life. That it's fine to put myself on the first line on times as right now, I'm no good to anyone. As person and as photographer and as business. And people will call me "selfish" and "a bitch" and "egocentric". Thing is: I know how it is to be one. I used to be young and wild and self-centered. Life pretty much kicked me under my butt at the "young age of near 27 (for the last few days)" (also thanks karma; I'm grateful). I'm learning myself that it will happen and it is okay as long as I know I'm being the best person I can be, without sacrificing myself, my business & my vision for someone or anyone else. Because it's perfectly possible to disagree on something and yet still give someone all the support they need. Even if that means by letting them go.
Self-love & self-care should be held high as value and be teached a lot more. I see it happening to me; I see it happening around me. I'm realising how deeply this feeling can run and I might sometimes be a cause of it as I'm always creating, always working & always dreaming up the next big thing.
"Supremacy" from my "Arcadia" series; still one of my prime works. Also one that feels "SA" to me the most of all to this date as well. Marked also the started of the entire "Arcadia" series as well ...
I feel it's time for me to "dissapear" a little bit on certain things and starting taking some major steps back with what I do when I'm not working on clients. I spoke about it on my Facebook and as well a little bit on my Instagram stories: I don't feel like shooting more isn't working. In fact: its holding me back to evolve in life & my business and even pushing me backwards. It's been a véry hard pill to swallow for me and I've been fighting over it with myself for a long time now (and with my so here as well. Stubborness is a double edged knife). I love shooting, I love editing. But now I grew "older" I realised that it was a form of escapism from my fears, to make myself a "valuable person" and some kind of work-binge to make me feel good. And accomplished and like, meaningfull.
Right now the only thing I want is to work on my business, start working on projects, work on "Kindle Inspiration" here & actually move away from shooting unless it's for what used to my biggest passion: my awesome job. My job has become a routine and it has been the biggest joy-killer in my life. It also affected my mental health as I basically am not made for a 9-to-5 mentally (and thats what my freelance job is now). And I can't break out of it and you know why? There are always people asking for photos, collabs to be arranged, promised I need to keep, shoots I need to finish and moments of inspiration to post-process. Expectations are pretty high and I am broke because all my money goes into free productions and shipping expenses. For yet another shoot. While now I realised how expensive it is to run a business in Belgium and I cant sleep at night because bills keep coming in non-stop (long live being your own boss!) & the reality is that I don't sleep very well over it.
Writing this is not easy. But I do feel it's important to get "out there" - while I finish up these last collabs, work out the last crazy ideas & try to wrap up my mind that I might go on a little personal hiatus soon: I also feel more and more in a healthy way tired because I'm letting go and allowing myself to change my vision and values in life to become a better person. One that can run her business much better, one that refine her service & that can create more meaningful art and bring a whole new experience to her clients. I want to be able to put so much more in my business and spend instead of 75% of my waking time on personal work (25% on my business and that 5% for everything else in life which includes eating healthy & sleep), 65% of my waking time in my business, 10% in personal workand keep the remaining 25% for other projects in life, hanging out with friends and sleeping/living a healthier lifestyle that will allow me to age more gracefully and not wear my soul out for the likes and appreciation of this fast-paced age of social media and instant satisfaction. Because how I can I inspire & motivate others, if I have lost my passion for it all? Thats the question I asked myself and found the answer too.
Currently, I'm both dreading and loving the remaining projects. Once I'm on set: I love it, I love the shooting. I love the editing. I love creating. But it's hard to focus in advance as it feels like "I lose a day to work on my clients". Personal was there to charge my batteries over 9000 so I could work 20 hours and be happy about it. But I look forward (with a somehow heavy heart, I'm afraid of the art-addiction-withdrawals) once I take a break from creating new personal work. Its going to be one hell of an interesting life lesson for sure, but like my tarot cards always said: "one should not be afraid to look up the silence and solitude" (I always get the hermit). So I guess it's time to learn and be happy with myself alone, without art to make me feel a valuable person. Because without, I feel absolutely worthless. And that's the root of all evil now.
I still got some epic projects planned with some epic heroes of mine: in fact thats why I'm taking such a major step back. I want to be able to put my energy in that & that alone. Get hyped when I finish up those late night deadlines for clients and wake up knowing again I have the most fucking awesome job in life. I want to be able to put all these extra hours in my clients, getting photos done faster, get my services leveled up, expand my business and start working on how I work on my education as I want nothing more than inspiring others to start creating (and try to learn them not to make my crazy mistakes). Deep inside, I feel I'm making the best decision ever. It's just so incredibly scary to do so. Even though I already started doing it and I am not only getting my head cleared, I also can feel the first real sparks of happiness again like I used to feel. With less weight on my shoulders. I can't WAIT to build more on my business now, once I "slept of the wintersleep" I wrapped myself in.
2017 was a mess for me, like many. I want to look back and make 2018 the year that I fully took life in own hands and made it something I can look back on and be hella proud of what I've done. And not only because I made pretty photos. I want to be so much more and actually overcome my own worst enemy inside my head.
Thank you so much for reading.
I love you all <3