Monday, March 20, 2017

Coming Back to the Light

by Dotti

It’s happened to all of us, hasn’t it? The dreaded creative drought. That time when you just don’t feel inspired, can’t think of what to create, don’t even want to try.

After several months of just such a drought, the most profound I’ve ever experienced, I’m beginning to climb out of the dark hole. It’s true that there are many valid reasons for why this happened to me but I won’t enumerate them here. Except for my holiday mug series in December, my camera has been mostly idle, my brain in neutral, my search for the light non-existent since last November.

What to do?

The new year came and went. January crawled along. February followed. All this while, my new Project Life album sat on the work table. Empty. There were no sparks to get me started. Even though I can’t stand to fall behind in a project, I was inert. And so it sat. I did, too.

Then finally, a couple of weeks ago, as I lay in bed just before getting up, I had a firm talk with myself. I told myself that if I didn’t pick up the camera and start shooting today, I might never do so again. It didn’t matter if the photos were good, it didn’t matter if the light was stunning, it didn’t matter what I shot. I just had to shoot. I had to point my camera at something and compose a photo and click the shutter button.

So I did. It did help that we were having a wee bit of false spring weather and the yard was bursting with yellow goodness and brave crocus after a very grey, dreary January. Still I felt really rusty. I was rusty! Nevertheless, I pushed the shutter a few times that day. And the next. And most every day after that.

When I uploaded to Lightroom, I rejected a lot of my photos. That’s okay. The whole purpose was just to get back into the habit of doing this again, of re-training my eye to see things, to look for details, to find the wonder in the world around me. It was always there, I was just ignoring it.

A week ago today, on March 13, I finally started assembling my Project Life album for 2017. Because of the late start, I’m doing a new format this year, monthly instead of weekly. January and February were lean (and challenging) months. I saw no reason to emphasize that. I just briefly told the story and moved along. March is still a work in progress but it is lighter, brighter and happier than January and February.

So that’s how life is, friends. It’s not always sweetness and light and happiness. Life happens. It’s not always pretty. There’s no sugar coating it. It is what it is. When this happens, we just have to put on our big girl panties and tough it out.

In other words - just do it.


Sandra said...

Hurrah for having a firm talk with yourself just before you got out of bed! It seems to have done the trick and you and your camera are back on track again! I like the last shot with the crayola crayons in the background and a mug of something comforting with cookies on the side! Happy first day of spring and your return to the light!

Cathy H. said...

Dotti, I know this has been a difficult period for you and I think you did the right thing by just sitting back and not pushing yourself too soon. I also think you knew when the time came to regroup and therefore you gave yourself that little talk! I'm glad you've felt like picking up your camera again. I've been looking forward to seeing some of your spring flowers!

terriporter said...

I think we've all been in this place at one time or another. I can imagine it is hard to get your creative juices flowing when the weather is dreary but I'm so glad you had that "talk" with yourself and things are returning to normal. We expect too much of ourselves to think we can be creative all the time. There's a natural ebb and flow and we just have to go with it. But you're so right -- the longer you let it continue, the more likely it is to last, so shaking things up was exactly the right choice. And those crocus look like the perfect inspiration! I wish you were closer and we could set up our Project Life albums and work on them together!

CarolHart said...

Seems you and I have been walking the same past the last few months. There's been a lot going on with family, some serious stuff, which demanded my attention. My creative spirit went into hiding after the last photographs I took on December 9th. Like you, I only recently decided to pick up the camera again and take a few photographs. Nothing grand, but felt pretty good anyway. Thank you for sharing your experience going through this. Nice to be in such good company. Cheers!

AFishGirl said...

I am cheering for you so loudly and emphatically that you can hear it from Seabright to your home. Hear it? That's me yelling YAYYYYYYY DOTTI!!!!!!! Welcome back !!!!! oxoxoxoxoxox

kelly said...

This makes me so incredibly happy to hear Dotti. Yay for light and for new beginnings. Big smoochy hugs to you. xoxo

Sarah Huizenga said...

Those droughts are so tough, and yes we all experience them. But without them we wouldn't find extreme joy again when it all comes back to us...and we carry on...

Anonymous said...

The field will be more fertile for having lain fallow for a season. Thank you for sharing something that I'm sure all of us have experienced. And to all of you ladies who keep this lovely site up and running, thank you! I'm so hungry for spring right now...I keep coming here just to look at the amazing header slide show. So beautiful and uplifting!

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