Before you ask where last weeks post was, let me make my excuses. It was one of those weeks where I just seemed to go from meeting to meeting interspersed with endless quoting and drafting guest posts for other sites. On top of all that I came to the painful conclusion that I needed to perform some re-organisation of my Lightroom catalogs. I started last Monday thinking it would take a day or two. It's still ongoing. It's been painful. I haven't been able to access any images in my archived catalog during that time either. All that combined with a wee accident on my mountain bike (I took a fence post in the ribs whilst bouncing down some steps) left me too frustrated and lacking in inspiration to pen a post. I'm sorry.
During my malaise, I got to thinking however about just how all consuming photography can become when I'm firmly trying to keep a handle on the business and cash flow yet still maintain a grasp on the passion that got me making photographs in the first place, and just how quickly time disappears trying to juggle the two. Throw a wife and young family into the equation and days just vanish.
I regularly take my self off to different settings to try and write content for this blog. For some reason I struggle to do it in the office. Maybe there are too many distractions but I often feel creative in different ways in different locations. Contrasting environments ignite different areas of my imagination. Office and writing I have found do not complement each other.
So I go somewhere armed with an iPad, a laptop or just the voice recorder in my phone and attempt to put together a series of words to make some sentences that will actually make sense, resonate with some and hopefully keep the reader coming back for more.
However my mind wanders when I'm out. I find myself either putting together photographs mentally, be it the location I'm in or a series I want to put together, or I contemplate my business and everything related to it; the marketing, the constantly evolving business plan, how I could improve business practices, where I think I'm going etc etc.
Which brings me to my point.
The life of a sole trader is a challenging one at best, a creative sole trader even harder especially in these hardened times when more and more clients are looking for something for next to nothing. But if it's my passion (and it ought to be) then how do I find that balance and keep a level of enthusiasm sufficient to drive me along?
I'm a seat of my pants chap when "the time is right" but I also like a plan and a good plan even better.
And the point?
The key I believe is a balance between flexibility and control. It's about being adaptable enough to drop everything when the light is right and the mood takes but knowing that maintaining a bottom line is a priority. Before I've even left the house, there are bills to be paid; website hosting, accountants fees, telephone lines, the list is endless, so pursuing clients is all important. But more important to me is remembering why I love to pick up a camera in the first place. If the passion's alive then I can channel it accordingly.
At least that's the theory. Some like Adam Barker & David duChemin take my breath away with the levels of their productivity yet, these two in particular, have a hunger to still make awesome photographs from their heart.
They are an inspiration and I thank them for all that they continue to produce and share.