Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dare I try again?

From the title of this blog, Emerging from the Cocoon, you can probably surmise that I am on a quest to discover myself at this stage of life.  The children are grown and live productive independent lives, the torch has been passed and I am now the matriarch of the family, and the hectic career days are giving way to a more relaxed and peaceful life.  All of this is good stuff … but it takes a bit of readjustment to learn my place in this "life after fifty" world.

For years I allowed the responsibility of life to dominate my days and consequently the creative pursuits  disappeared on the back burner.  For those who read this blogs on a regular basis, however, you know that I am trying to reconnect with those passions, which tend to take the form of paper crafts (such as greeting cards), writing (a true compulsion), and photography.  Unfortunately I have talked more about photography than actually practiced it, which is not in keeping with my ultimate dream of marrying pictures with writing to document travel adventures.  Practice makes perfect.  And if I want this dream to be anything more than a vapor in the wind, I need to do the work now in order to achieve the results later.

It is for this reason that I am ready to once again attempt a 365 project.  I have tried (unsuccessfully) two previous times, but I think I have learned some valuable lessons to help me triumph this go around. After all, third time's the charm, right?  Here is what I plan to do differently:

  1. Be intentional.  Of course, this is good advice about life in general, but especially true of this project.  In the past I would wait to be "inspired" to take a picture and more often than not, I would find myself scrambling for a photo right before going to bed.  Since that time, however, I have found several sites that offer monthly photo challenges that should provide me with some creative suggestions when I am stumped (such sites include Katrina Kennedy and Fat Mum Slim).  I plan to use Sundays to review my calendar for possible photo opportunities, as well as scan these challenge lists in order to create a weekly line-up of possible photographs.  This should provide a good starting point - one that is not too rigid to allow for last minute changes, but one that hopefully will help me to create and then maintain the daily photo habit.
  2. Make the Time.  I am a routinized person… I enjoy a schedule and am fairly disciplined to stick to it.  The problem in the past was I never included this daily activity on my to-do list.  And… as is wont to happen, I rarely bothered to remember.  We make time for the things we deem important… and the question becomes, how important is photography to me?  I need to be honest with myself here, but if it is as important as I want it to be… then I need to make time to practice the craft.  Period.
  3. Don't Compare.  Oh boy… this is a BIG one for me.  I am constantly comparing myself to others and the result is always personal dissatisfaction and a desire to give up.  I need to recognize that we are all in different places on this photography journey, and we all have different goals.  I have no desire to become a professional - I only desire to improve.  I can look at others' pictures and learn from their talent, but I cannot compare my work to theirs.  I must learn to embrace their talent while at the same time accepting my own.
  4. Give Yourself a Break…. but don't let yourself off the hook.  Life happens - and while the goal to take a picture a day is an admirable one, there will be days when it is just not going to happen. For a perfectionist like myself, this can easily derail me because I "failed" the task.  But the truth of the matter is… I did not fail. Tomorrow is another day.  However… I cannot confuse the inevitable conflicts with personal mood swings.  There will certainly be times where I am able to participate but I simply do not "feel" like it.  I must be willing to do it anyway; practice the craft no matter what.
 I know many participants have started a blog specifically devoted to this 365 Project.  I will not.  This photographic journey is a part of my "emerging" process and I want to incorporate it here.  My plan is to post a week's worth of pictures each Friday (Photo Friday).  Some photos may inspire commentary, others may have only a title.  Some photos may be SOOTC ("straight out of the camera") … others may have extensive Lightroom edits, as I am discovering that I enjoy creative post-processing.  In other words, I will make this project my own and enjoy every minute of it.

Thank you, Courtney and Jil for inspiring me to focus on photography once again.  I'm going to have a blast!


  1. These four goals definitely apply to other areas in life, and I can think of a few places I could put them to good use. I think I'll save the link to this post to return to as a reminder.

    I wish you luck in the 365 Project. I look forward to seeing the photos you take, Molly!

  2. Your comments and insights really hit home with me today. Not regarding photography, but some other things I've been thinking about. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with the world!

  3. Good luck! That kind of project takes enormous discipline. I myself would only be able to succeed at it if I were being paid for the Herculean effort. Yup. Tried it once and lasted three weeks.