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Facing A Creative Block As A Photographer? Read This.

Updated: May 17, 2022

What do you do when you hit a motivational roadblock, but have a lot of stuff to do? My solution to this problem, thus far, has been to stay in bed all day watching cartoons. Then, try to do a task but end up procrastinating, spend my rent on takeout, procrastinate some more, and stare repeatedly at a blank word document.

Needless to say, when I shut down, not much gets done. It’s one of those things where you build up the tasks in your head to the point that they seem terrifying. Life gets hectic (the world switching on again, university/work picking up, moving house, *fill in your own blank* etc. etc.) and all you can seem to do is hide away and cocoon. Eventually, of course, you just do the thing and realise that it wasn’t so scary at all. In fact, you loved doing it! As important as it is to take space when you need it - and understand that rest is as crucial as action - it would be nice if it were easier to master the balance. In my case, I know that I have *most* of the tools to make my brain function at its best. Now that I’m ‘adulting‘ on a higher level, I should probably think about how I can utilise these tools better.

I know a lot of it comes down to being a little scared and of course, perfectionism. In my last blog, I wrote about being vulnerable and how that can be a superpower. So, I guess it's only human of me to be here again, writing about being in a similar place of existentialism. This time, however, I’m going to practise some more self-awareness. Spill the tea and ask myself, what are my flaws? What am I avoiding? What behaviours do I need to unlearn? Do I really need more rest or am I just hiding from my responsibilities? The response to the questions should never be self-deprecating and harsh, but honest and conducive of growth.

Well, the most obvious thing to do here I guess would be, just start - make one call; do one thing on the to-do list; write one sentence. But just start. Spending 15 minutes on something - even one minute - is going to break that task down into delicious, digestible, little bite sized pieces. It’s much easier to have a slice at a time than to eat the whole cake in one go. In another procrastination session that was disguised as me doing something proactive, I watched a YouTube video about having a fear of the blank page. Once again, the video discussed this idea of being scared of the product not being perfect, but what does perfect mean anyway? Essentially the advice was yes, just start, do something, if you really don’t like your work it can always be changed. With each page, you are simply adding another layer to your story.

Plan, plan, plan. I love to think of myself as non-conforming and go with the flow, but actually routine is pretty fucking useful. A task takes much less time when you already know roughly how you’re going to do it. Talk about the things that you are trying to accomplish with your friends, colleagues, people on the tube, whoever. But hold yourself accountable.

Prioritise. Do you really need to watch another episode of Big Mouth? Do you have to do a quiz to find out what kind of sandwich you are? Is now the time to alphabetically organise your spice cupboard? Probably not. But this all ties into planning. Having a lot of tasks and responsibilities can easily morph into one big mush of intimidation, so knowing your deadlines, making a to do list, and prioritising the most important things will make it easier.

Be kind to yourself. I’ll say that louder for the people at the back. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Actually, this is the most important thing to do. Be your own biggest fan. Listen to your body and reward yourself for looking after it. Take time to check in with yourself, and rest if it is truly what you need . Just don’t make excuses. Of course it can be stressful when you feel yourself falling behind, but opening a clear route of communication with yourself will allow you to know what’s right for you at the time.

Of course, this isn’t about going and going until you’ve burnout (and I have been there before), but more about trusting your gut and being proactive. So this is for anyone feeling the same. My neurodivergent crew will resonate with this, I’m sure, but I bet everyone has experienced similar scenarios . When life seems a little daunting and unmanageable and you can't quite figure out how to get a grip on it, know that we always have each other.

I'll be honest, I’ve been writing this blog for three weeks. It doesn’t always take me this long, but in the midst of this creative slump it’s definitely been a minute. I’ve been trying to implement the things I’ve learnt above and guess what? I wrote the blog…I did the thing! Another check off my list and a reminder that’s it’s not so scary after all. We are all more than capable. We just have to know that we can do it. Now go, get that thing done. You’ve got this.

Peace and love until next time,

Alishia x

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