I got a text message from a friend the other day. It was information on a national photography competition that will be held in a local gallery. My first thought was "oh that sounds neat" but, realistically I wasn't seriously considering it. "Why?" you might ask. Well, I think as humans our first inclination is to take the easy way out. To make up a million excuses as to why we can't achieve something because if we never try, we never fail and somehow we rationalize that as being a better alternative. I think to myself "sure, a few people really like my work" but... (that word can be so evil sometimes) if a professional is judging my work they'll just pick it apart and find everything wrong with it, and maybe they'll think it's awful and maybe I should wait until I am really ready.As the day went on the idea kept nagging at me. I kept thinking, "how can you talk about doing what you love and then pass up something like this?" Yes, it's a chance to fail but it's also a chance to learn. A chance to learn about the process (I've never entered any sort of photography anything) and a chance to be creative and maybe come up with some really great pieces that I will love.
Having convinced myself that I had to try I set out to be creative and come up with some great ideas. And then, nothing. I mean, I seriously had idea block and could not think of a single thing that made me feel inspired to create anything at all. I felt like my own worst enemy, maybe I was thinking to hard about what to do and so I couldn't come up with anything at all.
After days of this (and some nights) I finally gave up. I decided to take a different approach. To take the experience of not having an idea and try and use that because I didn't know what else to do. I thought about how I felt about being stuck and how I could express that through imagery. I thought of light bulbs broken on the floor around me and darkness and then I realized that I could use that and I can't tell you how excited I was to have at least one idea for a picture I could create.After that the ideas kept coming, I think I just needed that one idea to help open the flood gates and get rid of whatever was in my way. I went out and shot some locations and textures and things that I liked to help me through the process and ultimately I have created some really neat things so far that I really like.
My point is this, don't give up on something or get discouraged just because it is difficult. No matter how far fetched it might seem sometimes it just takes a little persistence and the conscious effort to ignore that negative voice in your head that tells you not to bother. It's okay to fail, and even if you do just try and enjoy the process of learning as you go.