Photography has got to be one of the most emotionally draining professions in the world. Maybe its because as creative people we carry our work close to us personally and when we don’t get validation we take it so very personally. Maybe its because even when we give our best the average person looks at us and says “All you did was push a button.”
Whatever the reason choosing to be a photographer takes tough skin. Clients are fickle and love you only when they really want something at a discount. You get stuck in a rut and all you can do is wish you took that picture the other photographer took. You grab your camera determined your going out the door to take a picture, but instead spend the afternoon reading magazine’s at the local coffee shop.
Family and friends look at you as having the dream job, while your bank wonders if you have a job. You spend time on the phone promising I will pay you as soon as I get paid. Then you see a successful photographer you admire talking about how busy they are and your shaking your phone wondering if it is still working. No response to phone calls, emails, or worse yet the “I’m going to call you soon” response you got last year.
It all climbs on your shoulders and pushes you down. You can’t even think of what would be a cool picture, let alone take one. Personal projects? Forget it, your in a rut and nothing is inspiring you. No dreams, no vision, no concept, and seemingly no hope. You feel like its just you, no other photographer has ever felt this way, no other dreamer, believer, and visionary has ever just gotten up one morning and said, “I’d just rather quit.”
Of course thats not true. Every person, photographer or not, has had days or even weeks, where just quitting seemed easier, more practical, and the sensible thing to do. Every small business owner has had times where there are more bills than money, where you are looking out the door of your business wondering where are the clients/customers. Every believer has reached the point (more than once) where they doubt their dreams, visions, and goals. The hardest thing in the world is not really being a photographer, its believing in the face of apparent failure. Its saying I will not let go even though it seems I have nothing to hold on to that separates achievers from quitters.
I will be honest with you. Its exactly where I am writing this. See today this blog really isn’t for you, its for me. Its to remind me that I do not quit, ever. Now if you want to come along with me your more than welcome, but your going to have to pull yourself up, I don’t have the energy or the willpower to pull you and me up. I am already struggling with my own demons, I can’t fight yours, not today. Oh don’t get me wrong I’m not looking for sympathy, or even for someone to validate me. What I am looking for is that inner voice, the one that speaks to my heart and says, “I haven’t left you, I haven’t forgotten you, your going to make it.” Have I been here before? You bet, just read some older blogs, I probably talked about it then too. Like you I often times feel like I’m insane to try and make it in this industry. I must be delusional and I have no good sense to even continue. Loneliness sets in and isolation begins to take its toll.
So I sit here and I have to make a decision. Move forward through the doubts, fears, and depression or lay down and quit. For me the answer is not simple, but it is obvious. I cannot quit. Too many people have believed in me, supported me, prayed for me, encouraged me, and helped me for me to quit. I can’t look them in the face and say all you did was in vain. I can’t look at my sons and tell them, “Dreams are impossible,” or “Dream smaller, you can’t have big things.” I can’t do that to them and I won’t. I will not let my enemies get the last laugh, I will not let my fear and doubt be the final voice.
So what will I do? I will fight. I will fight my fear, I will fight my doubt, I will fight all the voices that contradict what is in my heart. I will stand, having done all else, I will stand. Stand on promises, stand on faith, stand on the belief that this is not in vain, that this is for a purpose. I will hold to the idea that when I break all the barriers, that I go over the last obstacle that its not just for myself. Its for my sons, family, friends, and every other person that has dreamed something and been told your not smart enough, good enough, young enough, old enough, talented enough, rich enough, known enough to have this. When I go over I’m taking people with me. I’m going to richly bless everyone one who prayed, believed, and encouraged me. I’m show forgiveness to my enemies and offer to help them, I’m going to give credit to where credit is due, thanking the Father for not giving up on me. I’m going to reach my purposed end and do what I was meant to do in this earth.
So let fear come, let doubt come, let lack come, tell them to bring their best shot. I’m not backing down and if they keep coming this is going to get bloody. Today they picked a fight with the wrong person, I don’t back down, I don’t quit. As for you reading this today, you can’t quit either, I can’t fight for you, but I will lean over you and like Rocky’s old cranky trainer yell in your ear, “GET UP YOU BUM, AND FIGHT!”