The muse is a common concept among bloggers and writers alike.
Writers block can become quite common when a blank page or screen is before your eyes.
As I write this, this very topic had been a work in progress for months which is very typical for this blog.
Writing is hard! Yet pushing through this Resistance makes the reward so much more worth it.
Thus, the topic of this entry…the Muse!
What’s the Muse and why do I ‘Have it’?
The Muse is like your creative conscience in a sense. This special term is a fancy way of saying creativity is that of a muscle that needs to be trained.
Usually the Muse is referenced for writing, however I believe any creative pursuit can produce this quality, photographers included!
To feed your muse is to nourish the ideas that may be marinating in your head. To feed it means to allow time to rest or be inspired in the interim.
Relax (Not Lower) Your Expectations
Notice the careful wording, I am in no way saying to be lazy with your photography or other creative work.
However striking a balance I’ve found to be the best way to approach creating something. Always try your best to produce quality imagery, but know when to fold or back off.
Learn how to get out of your own way.
Attitude can help, and yes it’s nice to walk around with the gusto and mojo that it will be a good day out photographing.
However I don’t set myself up for failure by having way too high of expectations. You simply cannot demand a perfect photograph taken on every trip.
No photographer has ever created AAA+ quality portfolio-worthy shots every single time. Those that say that are lying or their quality and self-worth must be flawed.
If you expect this out of yourself too, then you will be disappointed.
Every single time.
Realize when it’s time for a break.
The creator realizes that they cannot realistically create indefinitely.
A temporary respite helps nourish and feeds the muse, much like recharging the batteries in your tired camera.
Creating is an exercise and a meditation. It is a physical and mental task from which the mind is stimulated.
From my experience, burnout occurs when I am outdoors for a full day. You may be productive with that time however the entire process still takes a lot of energy to produce.
Not to mention the many miles you may be hiking or other conditions present such as weather, etc.
So, take some time for yourself. Don’t touch the camera for a day, a week, a month, a year. However long is needed to be your best self.
Fear not, your audience will understand and be patiently waiting.
The Inner Self-Talk of a Creator.
Watch the words you say!
We are our own worse critics and every artist is inherently insecure to varying degrees.
However we must be careful with negativity.
I’ve found there to be times whilst out in the field where I will put myself down.
Have you ever said the following things?..
“Eh, it’s not worth taking photo anyways.”
“No one is gonna care about this image.”
“This isn’t worth creating.”
Learn to tame your brain.
Be Yourself, Seek Simplicity
Sometimes the workflow (planning, shooting, editing, repeat) can become a chore.
Try out a personal project, one that’s made just for you and no one else!
Go out with the camera to a completely new or very familiar location. Get lost in your surroundings, the sights and sounds around.
Allocate some downtime at the end of every week to make this special occasion happen!
A spell of boredom can harness beautiful moments for your career, aspiration or hobby.
Get messy with it, have fun!
You may be very surprised with the outcome.
Never. Stop. Creating.
For me, a photograph needs a reason to exist, an inspiration, a motivation.
And to use whatever means possible to achieve that end result; the photograph.
We must make the most of what we have here in front of and around us.
After all, half of life is just showing up.
How do you feed your muse? Leave a comment down below and let’s get a conversation started about this topic!