We all go through it. We’ve all been there. We will all go through it again. We feel bored and complacent. Getting stuck and feeling uninspired is part of the process of being a creative. We can’t run from it, in fact, this is a hugely important time in our journey.
When we feel bored and uninspired, it is our psyche telling us we need to evolve. We need to push ourselves again; we have outgrown what we are currently doing. This is a critical moment and if you have the different techniques to push past this growing pain, you will find yourself in a whole new standing with its own challenges and rewards. Here are some techniques to apply if you are going through this tough patch.
It’s too hard to hold yourself accountable 24/7. I find your biggest motivators are your peers. They give you a scale to measure yourself against. Friendly competition is healthy! Maybe you are in awe of a peer’s lighting; another peer’s strength is their story-telling while another is a master retoucher. Emulating is one of the best ways to grow as an artist. Emulating is not copying another artist; it is to mirror a technique through your style and vision, inherently making it your own. In order to stay competitive, you need a community.
Find Your Communities
How do you find your peers? Here is a list of possibilities:
- Take workshops and classes.
- Subscribe to Online Communities such as Retouching Academy and Social Media Groups. Participate in them, give constructive feedback and put your work out there for feedback as well.
- Meetup.com is a great way to find locals working in your field.
- Attend shows or exhibitions catered to your profession.
- Create relationships with your teammates outside of work; the best way to meet others in your industry is through a mutual friend.
- Update your social media regularly and comment on other artists’ work. I met some of my closest industry friends through Instagram and Facebook.
- Create your Own! Whether online or locally, if you see an opportunity to create a network, put yourself out there and you will be surprised to see there are many others like you, wanting to connect.
Keep a Collection of Books or Image Library
I love the idea of having a well-curated library of images, books on artists and magazines that have been collected over time. It is a great long term, fun project and a wealth of inspiration at your fingertips whenever you need it.
Check our the Retouching Academy Pinterest boards for inspiration, a digital version of a long term inspo library: https://www.pinterest.com/retouchacademy/boards/
Subscribe to Blogs for Latest News and Work
Staying up to date is another fantastic way to find inspiration. As a fashion and beauty photographer, I love constantly checking in on websites such as Fashion Gone Rogue, The Fashionography and Visual Optimism.
Take a Day Off
Take some well-deserved time off. A day or two won’t kill your business, and I am a huge believer in putting some distance between you and your work to gain a fresh perspective and hash out any confusion or plateau you are experiencing. Spend the time doing anything else but your work, take your mind off of it and when you come back, you will feel ready to take it on again.
Look Back on Your Work and See Your Immense Growth
Often times we hit a wall when we fail to realize how far we have come. There will be many moments of disappointment, frustration and self-doubt along your journey. You may be in a tough, transitional period in your career, or you’re ready to take a leap to the next phase but aren’t sure how to achieve that.
We can all be myopic when it comes to our current obstacles.
I have found looking back on your journey from start to finish will astound you and show you just how far you’ve come. It shows you that you are capable of whatever you want to accomplish. If the past “you”, starting out, was given a looking glass into the present “you”, he/she would be thrilled and amazed at the skills and abilities you’ve acquired.
Don’t give up! We must constantly evolve if we are to continue growing, which leads me to my next point:
One of the biggest killers of inspiration is complacency. It is the most natural feeling to want comfort and stability, those are very important elements to have in our lives. As much as we need stability, however, we also need to take chances and get out of our comfort zones. The balance of both is where creativity thrives. Maybe you’ve been doing the same kind of work for too long and you’re bored. You know exactly what to expect and you’ve stopped surprising yourself. The #1 cure for this is:
Try a New Approach to Your Work
There’s nothing like a good shake to your routine to wake you out of your lack of inspiration. Shoot with completely different lighting and subject matter. Add some new techniques to your retouching, change the look of your editing, and push your boundaries. Often when you try and fail and get up and try again, you are reminded of the passion you have for your art and you remember why you are dedicating yourself to it.
How do you stay inspired?
Featured Image: Photo & Post by Eugenia Carolina