A couple of weeks ago I posted an endorsement for the Craft and Vision collection of photography ebooks. The website was celebrating its 4th anniversary and in its honor offering 50% off the (almost) entire collection. For a twenty dollar bill I ordered several photography "how-to" books, as well as this collection of essays taken from the author's blog. On a whim I decided to read a few on our nine hour trip to Nashville and was captivated by the author's writing style, inspirational messages, and life application.
While I do enjoy photography, it is writing that is my true passion in life. And as I read these essays I found myself constantly nodding in agreement, "Yes, that can be true for writing as well." Or painting... or music.... or quilting... or any other creative endeavor. So in the spirit of sharing the wealth of wisdom, I thought I would post over the next several weeks a few of the most powerful messages I read in the hopes that perhaps some of you would also be inspired and encouraged to follow your creative dreams.
From Craft and Vision - Vision is Better (Volume 1) by David duChemin
If you want to succeed in your photography, whatever that means to you, then you need to fuel it with passion and hard work. If photography is the air you breathe, the thing that distracts you and not the thing from which you are distracted, if it’s the thing you most want to do, to talk about, to spend your spare time on, and if you work harder at it than you’ve ever worked on anything, you will make it. Why? Because passion, true passion is in short, short supply these days. As is hard work. Long ago we abandoned the idea of having a life’s work, a calling; those that still do their work from that sense of calling or vocation, will be unbeatable.
So what is photography? It’s less talk, more making photographs. Do that, and do it hard. And then tomorrow, do it again. And as long as you love doing that more than something else, you’ll have filled your days and fed your soul with something you love. And to do that, by almost any sane definition, is to have succeeded.
I think somewhere along the way many in my generation (and the next) have somehow convinced ourselves if we have a passion for something then it shouldn't involve work. We have made "work" an antonym for "fun" mistakenly thinking that the two cannot coexist. Or we believe that our natural talent in a certain area somehow translates to an automatic job well done; a half-hearted effort is good enough. And this mentality saddens me.
In addition, we should never take our gifts and talents for granted, or worse, ignore them. Rather, we should strive to increase their worth through hard work and exercise (see the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30). Our strengths can be honed, our weaknesses can be improved. Obstacles are inevitable but not insurmountable. And failures are just stepping stones to success.
The pure delight of following a dream with all your heart (emotion), mind (intellect), soul (spirit), and strength (physical labor) is like none other in the world. Why do we deny ourselves this personal satisfaction when it is so readily available... Are we that afraid of failure? Are we that repulsed by hard work? I hope that is no longer the case with me. I hope I find the courage to push through the fear in order to take a risk... and in the end find joy in the journey.