thinking i may be over thinking

Somehow it’s gotten to a point where I hardly blog at all anymore. And when I do it’s mainly photographs, edited pretty photographs with very little to no words at all. The words that are written are often generalized and vanilla. I lost my blogging mojo somewhere in 2010. I upgraded the blog from Typepad to WordPress hoping that would help. It did help with uploading more photos in a streamline way, it did not help make my words and thoughts reappear. My friend Catherine casually said the other day “I miss your old blog” and it stuck with me.  I keep thinking about what shifted? I have some theories. I think you really have to get to the bottom of why you do and don’t do certain things. When you thoroughly enjoy something as a creative outlet and then slowly walk away from it, you need to reexamine things and find out why you moved on. Especially if you ever hope to return to it again.

I started my blog in October 2007. Inspired by my friend Sue who had started one for her first born son. I started to read her blog and from there leapt off into a blogosphere of talented women sharing their stories with the world. I wanted in. At the time I had a full time job as a photographer at a newspaper. I really wanted to work for myself and photograph weddings full time. The blog seemed like a perfect place to share my photographs, grow my side business, write my stories, keep in touch with friends and make new ones. It was personal. Although I did share wedding tips and wedding stories as well, it went way beyond weddings for me. That same year Jon started to shoot with me as my “assistant” but he was a terrible assistant. Instead I discovered a naturally gifted talented photographer. He quickly became my photo partner and we teamed up as a shooting pair to take One Love Photo to the next level. It worked, a year later I left my full time job, the two of us were 100% self employed photographers and business partners. I continued to blog but started to focus more on the wedding work since that was what our lives were all about at the moment. The following year we photographed 39 weddings with over half of them being out of state. At that point we were just surviving in terms of workload. The blog had to take a backseat in order for us to complete our editing in a timely fashion.

In the beginning the blog was a fun creative outlet. While I passed my days bored in a cubicle or stuck in traffic I would brainstorm and write blog posts. Once I left the newspaper it took me at least another year to fully comprehend that we were officially a pair of full time photographers. Once I realized it, I shut down a bit. I became worried about everything I published, I fretted over spelling errors, boring content and the perfect mind boggling photo to feature. I became my worst critic. I wanted to make sure all our favorite weddings were featured on wedding blogs, so I held on to them for months and months until they were featured. Waiting so long made the wedding features feel like old news. I started to feel like I had already shared all that I had inside me the first couple years and now I was just repeating. I felt bored. And if I felt bored I was certain anyone visiting my little blog was feeling the same. So I stopped putting much effort in and did the bare minimum (which is even more boring).

Another big shift that changed my approach to blogging was our own self inflicted rule. We decided it made the most sense to wait until we finished editing a wedding completely before we blogged anything. Sometimes I will sneak a few film frames on but for the most part we have been sitting on weddings for months. Once we complete them we wait even longer, hoping to get them featured on our favorite wedding blogs. Sometimes by the time certain weddings get published it has been close to a year since the event. The rule makes sense in many ways, no lost edited files, no more re-editing, no fishing through a thousand RAW photos looking for a gem or two. But the problem is that nothing is current or fresh on the blog due to this rule. My desire to update our family and friends on our daily adventures has turned to instagram and iphone photos, which is great in it’s own special way. But it is no substitute for spontaneous yet carefully crafted blog posts.

Here I am trying to rewind and find my footing. Trying to figure out if I can find that sweet spot of sharing and spilling with this blog again. My favorite writers/bloggers are ones that let it all out and don’t hold back. Of course they don’t let it all out but they share snippets of their lives in such a raw and honest way. As I write this I am already worried that my snippets are boring, that you have heard it all before. This critic is on my shoulder, a little devil whispering in my ear telling me that I am boring and old and it’s all been done and there are a million other photographers with blogs so what’s the point of posting and sharing and no one cares anymore they just want your 5 second facebook update and why waste all this time filling this space with poorly written typo filled paragraphs just to have people judge you. That little bugger on my shoulder needs to back off. I hope I have the strength and confidence to keep him at bay. That’s what I have been thinking the most about lately. How do I silence that internal critical ramble? I think I start by being less critical of others and then in turn less critical of myself.

My mom is one of my biggest fans. She loves the blog. When I first started it she didn’t have a computer. When we finally got her all set up with our old mac she had a lot of catching up to do. That year I would get random phone calls asking me “What did you mean when you said blah blah blah” I would have no idea what she was talking about and ask “when did I say this”? She would reply “Oh you wrote it in your blog last year” I would laugh, secretly loving that she was catching up with the last two years of my life. Now she sends friendly little reminders via email that simply say EYE CANDY PLEASE in the subject line. It’s usually in all caps because for some reason her caps lock is always on.

I think the best way to approach the blog is to write it for my Mom and friends like Catherine that miss my voice. The best chance I have to keep this blog alive is to focus on sharing my words and photographs with the people who love me the most. I figure if I am not sharing from an authentic honest place then there really isn’t any point in sharing at all.