The Creative Struggle: Loving What You Do Even When It's Your Job

For those of you who don't know - I'm a wedding photographer. That also explains why this time of the year, I can't blog very much because I'm busy blogging over on my Indigo Photography site. I love photography and I'm so blessed not to have to sit in a cubicle under fluorescent lighting, but it wasn't easy getting here. Most of my twenties was spent working random jobs until I could actually figure out where I fit. I knew one thing for sure - it wasn't the corporate world.

My degree was in English. I thought that would be a natural fit since I loved creative writing - but once I got into the college part of it - I realized it was really just learning about literature. Bletch. Not that I hate literature but I was more interested in how to be a better writer than scrutinizing the details of Beowulf. My Junior year, I studied abroad in London and that was incredible. A story for another day. Upon returning, I decided to come back and start a store and my life took a whole different turn. Yes, that means I am an official college dropout.

After my first entrepreneurial venture, I learned two things - I hated retail and I must work for myself. Only problem was I wasn't sure HOW to work for myself.

The following years included: waitressing, nursing home worker, banker, health insurance rep...all sorts of things. I took freelance writing jobs on the side, thinking that was what I wanted to do full time. Eventually, I started getting published and I was hired to work for a local magazine and things were looking great. What could be better? A job where I get to interview people and create thoughtful (and slightly sarcastic) articles while working in my PJs? The only thing this dream is missing is Pirates of the Caribbean version of Johnny Depp. Well, two years in that situation and I can tell you it WASN'T great. 

The problem with being a creative person is that you have all these ideas in your head and you need the freedom to execute them. Finding an employer who allows you to do that is harder than finding a chest hair on Justin Bieber. Initially, I was told that I was hired just to do my thing because they loved my voice. By the end of my time there, I was basically writing an article only to have the whole thing rewritten by my boss... in HER voice.

Not cool. So then I started hating writing altogether. I didn't even want to blog anymore. So I decided that I would never write for money again. And I haven't.

In recent years, I built up my photography business to the point where I could finally quit random jobs and work for myself again. But this time, I had some rules for myself to make sure I didn't start hating it.

* I limit my work. I do ten weddings a year, which is how many I can do and not lose my mind or start to feel uninspired as if I'm just cranking them out.

* I make sure I get clients that are aligned with my CREATIVE VISION. This alleviates me getting a bride who wants me to photograph the wedding "her way." Then instead of me having the freedom to be creative, which is why I pursued this career, I'm constantly trying to think like someone else. Naw thanks. I post very specific photos on my blog that are indicative of my style and what they can expect. I lay out expectations VERY CLEARLY in our meetings.

* I got over the fear of having to be "everyone's photographer"  (insert any other creative profession)- and I'm okay with that. I might not be for you, and chances are you aren't for me. And life will be much better if you find someone who IS for you and will provide the results you are looking for.

* Even though it's my job, I do it primarily because I love it, and not because of the money. If I were doing it for the money, I would book a wedding every weekend of the year. Instead, I only do enough to replace my old income and keep it at that. I still have time to enjoy my life, which to ME is success. 

Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read more About Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation.