Following the Ebb and Flow

Inspiration and Creativity

03.24.2016

Since my dive into the world of full time photography, I have been trying to be more in tune with the ebb and flow of my creativity and my productivity. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about the times where you feel super creative or super motivated to get things done and the times when you just don’t! In the past I never paid much attention to these patterns and in the past my solution for my creative rut or lack of productivity was to just keep working! Work through it. Push through it. Just keep at it. 

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When I first started as a full time photographer, I felt a constant (self inflicted) pressure to be working, but internally I was tired and lacking motivation. I knew I was craving rest, but instead of resting I wanted to push through! From the time my feet hit the floor until I begrudgingly set my computer aside when Grady would say I was typing too loud in bed; I kept at it! But what was so crazy was I was “working” a lot of hours, but I wasn’t getting a ton of tasks accomplished. I was in this weird mental space of half working. You know the kind, where the TV is on in the background (because that’s what you want to be doing) but you feel the pressure to work so you have your laptop out too! I found myself sitting in front of my computer, unproductive, but chained to the “work” nonetheless. I felt uninspired and I knew my productivity was at an all time low and I became frustrated. 

My heart, mind and body were asking me to rest and I was ignoring it because I just knew I could work through it! I was craving rest and I was really needing it. I had just moved. We had come off of a wedding season. We were starting a new chapter of life and changing so many things in our business. But, in my mind rest = lazy and unproductive. Rest felt wrong when the world around me was all about the hustle! Rest felt counterintuitive to accomplishment. People would judge me if I rested and wasn’t “killing it” daily with tasks and posts and work! What I was failing to see was rest is a part of the natural rhythm of your productivity and creativity. 

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My friend Ginny and I had a heart to heart, as we often do, and she told me that I needed to give myself permission to rest. And WOAH, did that ever hit me! As we continued to chat, I realized that my “work through it” mentality was actually keeping me in an unproductive state and impeding my creativity. I was running into a brick wall and going back for more daily!

So what have I done with this brilliant advice? I’m trying. I’m trying to make an effort to be in tune with the natural ebb and flow of productivity and rest. I’m trying to better understand the natural rhythm of inspiration and creativity. I’m allowing myself to rest when I need to and enjoy the things I love. When my heart needs a coffee and a long walk with Penny, I’m listening. I visit and hang out with my girlfriends. Grady and I have dinner together and watch our favorite shows on Netflix! I’m working out again.

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And you know what is so crazy, inspiration and productivity have followed in big ways! In the past few weeks, I developed a blog schedule with topics for my business that could span through the winter. I created all new guides for session and wedding inquiries. I set up all of our studio management. Just this weekend I felt a surge of inspiration to make our house more like home and complete some major house projects! These are just a few examples of the productivity and creativity that has come after a time of rest. 

I want to encourage you today to listen to those natural rhythms. If you are hitting a brick wall in your work and lacking inspiration, you heart and mind might be needing a rest or a run or a painting class. Don’t deprive yourself of rest and don’t worry what it looks like to others. Find ways to rest fully, to fully disengage from the pressure to “work” and do the things you enjoy. You will not regret it and you might be surprised at how productive and inspired you feel after!

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