The Winter Slump Is Real. || Life Update + Goals for 2018!
You guys may have noticed that my presence on social media has been a little bit quiet lately. Naturally, this time of year slows down for most photographers, as winter is generally our off season. And while that is true in my case, I've also just been feeling the most uninspired that I think I've felt in regards to photography in a long, long time. I'm someone who is seriously affected by seasonal depression and this time of year, in combination with the serious lack of sunshine and the terrible weather, makes me want to just unplug from the world, curl up in a little ball, and wait for spring to come. Which, as you can imagine, is conflicting with running a growing business!
I'm realizing why it feels so much worse this year: I WAY over stretched myself last summer and fall. 2017 was truly one for the books: I experienced so many firsts, grew my business, and traveled more than I ever had before. I checked a lot of the things off my list of things I wanted to accomplish. It was awesome, and I'd venture to say my best year thus far. However, this summer, I tried to do the physical and mental work of like 10 different people and I just think it burned me out in a way that nothing ever has. Trying to balance a growing business in the thick of wedding season, attempting to satiate my need to travel and see as much as I possibly can, working a full time job, and having a social life, my mental health completely got pushed to the back burner. Every second of my free time this summer and fall was spent editing, booking things, responding to messages and trying to just stay afloat. I was unorganized, drained, tired, and just running on fumes.
You're probably wondering why I'm exploiting the fact that I've been struggling to find the motivation and inspiration to keep growing and pushing forward in the world of photography. Most people, especially on social media, only share the highlights and the best parts of their lives, but not a lot of people are willing to talk about the days that they struggle. For me, admitting that I'm not perfect and have been having a hard time balancing it all is my way of pushing it out of my mental space, processing it, and moving past it. It's also my way of holding myself accountable to be better and do better.
So, if you're wondering when you'll be seeing regular work from me again, stay tuned. It will come, but right now, I'm just resting my brain, preparing for the next wave of insanity, and finding ways to handle things better when this year's busy season comes around!
I don't want this to turn into a New Year's resolutions post, because its' not that. More so, I just want to talk about my goals and things I'm planning to do this year to be more successful and put my mental health on a higher pedestal of importance! And to be completely real, everyone experiences up's and down's, whether it be in their career, their personal lives, or otherwise. But not everyone chooses to talk about them, and I'm just trying to be as real and as honest with those of you that choose to follow my journey through this crazy life and my career of choice! I'm also a big believer that if you put things out into the universe that you want or are working towards, they will come. So, here's a few things I'm doing this year:
I'm putting more importance into scheduling my work and my personal time! I've built this really cool wedding timeline checklist for myself for keep me on track and not procrastinate everything until the last minute. If you know me, you know I'm a HUGE procrastinator, and it's one of the biggest things I want to work on this year. I tend to look at tasks as a huge, unsurmountable object that's impossible to tackle, instead of just breaking it down into smaller, easier tasks. So, ideally, I'll give myself a set amount of time to do work and business related things each day, but then also not focus my entire day on working so I can give myself breaks, recuperate, and not burn myself out. I'm also learning that the whole "I can sleep when I'm dead" motto I swear I used to live by is SO unhealthy and that I really should prioritize the time to take care of myself. I'm realizing now what kind of negative affect that mentality has had on me, long term.
I'm investing in equipment that will make my workflow easier and faster! I've accepted that I'm going to have to spend a little extra money on the gear that will speed up my shooting and editing process, and therefore, freeing up some of my personal time. One of my big investments this year is going to be a new iMac desktop, and guys, I'm SO STOKED to have a computer with a huge screen for enhanced editing, and something that is fast enough to run all the programs I need at once without getting bogged down. I swear, half of the time I spent editing this past summer and fall was spent waiting for my laptop to buffer and process images. Investing in things that increase your efficiency are SO important. I can't wait to have a speedy and organized workflow!
I'm raising my prices! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you probably saw that I posted a "last chance for my 2017 prices" blurb. I've adjusted my rates in a way that I feel reflect the type of quality I know I can offer to future clients, and I've learned how extremely important it is to value yourself and your work. Raising your pricing is such a scary thing to do, but I've learned what me, my time and my talents are worth and I know that my ideal clients will see that too. (If you've been interested in booking with me, shoot me a message and we can discuss my rates!)
I'm trying to work past the constant, existential crisis of feeling like I'm not good enough, or I'll fail. It's crazy to think that all the pressure that I, and I'm sure plenty of other people in creative fields feel is almost totally brought upon myself. Like, who's out there, pushing me to be this perfect, flawless photographer other than myself? The reality is that I'm probably never going to feel like I've "made it" and I'll always be growing and evolving, thus, that pressure to be more and do more will always loom over me. I've been realizing that that's the case, and trying to not take myself too seriously. I think anyone can agree that failure is one of the scariest things that we face as humans. But understanding that one small failure or setback doesn't mean the end of my career, it just means that I need to learn from it, move forward, and not place my self worth as a business owner on the same level as my unrealistic views of what people think of me, or my shortcomings.
My biggest goal for 2018 is to just be a more overall organized, balanced, and happier person. I still want to travel as much as possible, hike some of my goal trails, shoot some beautiful weddings, and spend time with people that really matter to me, and make my overall quality of life much better. I want this to be the year that I find balance in work and my personal life, while still growing my business. I want to continue to try new things! In 2017, I left the country for the first time ever, booked flights whenever I could (guys, I LOVE flying!), saw some of the most beautiful landscapes ever, got my first tattoo (with more to come this year), and was blessed to work with awesome people. I had so much fun, but I took myself way too seriously and held myself to a standard that I just couldn't maintain. This year, I want to have just as much fun, but not worry so much about always be an accomplished, successful, perfectionist. Life is up and down, and its a little messy, and I'm trying to learn to be okay with that, and balance it all.
If you made it to the end of this long, long post, congrats! Writing these types of posts occasionally is more therapeutic for me than anything else. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for me, feel free to leave them in the comments! And as always, thank you for your continued support and sweet, uplifting words. I have the best clients, and the best circle of people in my life currently and that is one thing that I'm truly happy about.