The Hard Reality
The end of the year is a scary time for us as creatives. It’s the time of year where work begins to die down, and with that our paychecks too (typically). I consider myself to be a blend of an optimist and a realist, and because of that I tried to find a positive way to view this “Dry” season. I sat asking myself, “What in the world can I use this time for, that benefits both my creativity and my business when work is slow?”
Thankfully the answer jumped out at me while having a conversation with the incredible Robby Klein. He said to me, “The truth is that when we don’t have paid work, we have time to do personal work. If we choose not to engage with personal work, we choose to not get paid work the next month. It’s a crazy reality that I cannot explain, but have seen it play out again both for me and others.”
The Hard Truth
I think there is something so incredibly true about what he said. Us as creatives need our personal work to stay creatively “healthy”. Something deep inside me also wants to spend time with that younger “no care in the world” creative self that I once was at 12 years old. The moment I lose that creativity is the moment CLICKTA’s “product development” department shuts down.
As a freelancer, I have to wear many hats. A majority of my job revolves around things that don’t involve me holding a camera. It’s great when I get to, but it’s not as frequent as I’d like it to be. Do you know who is responsibility it is to do something about that? It’s mine. I’m the only one who can make the choice to do what needs to be done as well as what I want to do. Sitting around complaining about it will never accomplish anything worthwhile for my business or reputation.
The Easy Solution
Us as creatives have so much power. You may not think so, but our ability to see things that don’t exist and bring them to reality is such an incredible God-given gift. It’s almost like a super power. If we take a second to flip our perspective and stop seeing the end of the year as just another “slow season”, and begin to see it as a time for us to be kids again, we unlock something special. It’s a chance to play with our craft so that we can integrate our findings into our businesses and artistry the following year. What’s the reward? Satisfaction, fulfillment, potential monetary gain, an opportunity to work with new people/friends, and above all the dopamine rush that comes with creation.
Leaves Are Changing
What makes this time of year scary? Is it the fall breeze in the air? Strangers handing you candy? Or is it the fact that this season represents change?
Wether we know it or not change makes us all uncomfortable. As creatives we desperately rely on routine, normalcy, and predictability to be comfortable. The next album needs to drop on time, the photoshoot must go “as planned”, the art piece needs to show pure perfection, and the list goes on.
This month I was reminded of just how important it is to change where we are located, and step out of our normal routine. Personally I’ve been running around 24/7 to make sure my business grows by constantly posting on socials, thinking up new marketing techniques, and getting coffee with potential clients. Those activities are all good things that need to be happening, but for the first time in two months I decided to take a chill pill for a day and spend a few hours of it to watch “Loki”. (Incredible show btw)
Somewhere along the line I forgot the importance that stopping for a minute to watch a show or playing video games had in my life.
To My Friends Reluctant to Pick Up a “Controller”
Stopping to take a break and do the things you enjoy outside of work (Yes, even if you enjoy your job) is what fuels your creativity and keeps in the game for the long term. Just like in sports, if you don’t hydrate… you “diedrate” if you catch my drift. What I’m not saying is “be lazy more often”. I’m saying that feeding your creativity requires rest in the seemingly “unproductive” tasks.
Let’s Normalize Changing Gears
Changing gears (whatever that means to you) is how we sustain creativity as opposed to burning it. The beauty of creativity is that there’s an endless supply. Consider putting aside the “Gary Fee” hustle every now and then so that you can hop back into it twice as strong. Go make November productive!
Something We Hate
Nobody likes detours. They suck. Detours keep us from getting to our destination when we want to get there. So that means it must be always be a bad thing right? At first, I thought so, but then I looked back at where I’ve been and realized that without detours I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.
An Unprofessional With a Crappy Camera
About two years ago I was sitting in a high school classroom looking at an old iMac that should’ve been replaced years ago. It “walked” photoshop. I mean literally, to say the computer “ran” photoshop would be an overstatement. With its’ constant crashing, lag, and spinning beach ball of death you would’ve thought the thing was a rectangle lamp. While working in that classroom a classmate of mine told me that I should charge money for a photoshoot for the first time in my life. The concept was foreign to me, but regardless of my doubt I did some $20 shoots with a crappy Nikon from my mother’s closet.
Break Down The Detour
Why am I telling you this? Well, some would look at this story and claim that I was undercharging myself and using crappy equipment, and therefore I had pushed myself further away from the goal of being a full-time professional photographer. The beauty is that those shoots were doing the opposite. They were getting me there faster. Was the gear and price crappy? Yes, but on the other hand, it was what was necessary for me to begin my journey. In order to become a professional, I had to take a step, and sometimes that step looks to be counter intuitive to what the goal is.
Viewing The Detour with a New Lens (Pun Intended)
The real question we should be asking ourselves is “how can I see the detour in a way that pushes me closer to my goals?”. The solution is simple. See the detour as a chance at a shortcut. Saying yes and embracing the “backroad” route occasionally pays off and lends itself to being a shortcut, getting us closer to our goals faster and not slower. The dirt road moments in your career are ones that you should be looking for and not avoiding. The best movers and shakers know when to get on and when to get off “the road traveled” because their career depends on it. Your career depends on it.