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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Between Despair and Determination Is…..?

It isn’t easy building and maintaining a creative career these days. The competition is fierce, the online noise deafening, and the energy it takes superhuman for many of us. When it all becomes too much to deal with, what do you do?

In navigating the choppy waters of livelihood, it’s important to grab whatever you can to work on. Taken piece by piece you can sometimes avoid the paralysis that comes with feeling overwhelmed. For me, that means sitting down and making a master list of what has to get done. I admit it, I LOVE lists. Or rather I love crossing things off lists. Gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

Once I have the master list, I always see that there are different parts to it. It may be that there are immediate and long-range things, or it may be that there are business-related things and personal things. But once it’s down on paper (and yes, I still use paper and pen), the ball of confusion starts to break up, and I get the desire to do something.

The next thing I do is prioritize. I once read you should not have a list of more than three things to do each day, or you will get overwhelmed. I found that what works for me is making lists for each day of the week, so I don’t dread what I have to do, and each day I can move forward.

But sometimes an added problem is sitting in front of my computer for too long. It tires me out, muddles my thinking and doesn’t allow me to focus (there are FB posts! And email! And Twitter! And things to read! What to do, what to do?). If I could, I would attach an ejector button to my chair to force me out of the house. I find comfort in nature, and even in New York I am lucky to see trees outside my window. There are two little parks near me where the tulips are in bloom, the cherry blossoms full, and I try to just be in the moment.

When you work alone, it can make you crazy and longing for human interaction (I adore my cat, but she refuses to engage in conversation when I want it). That’s when it’s great that most people drink coffee, and I can make a date to meet with someone. Getting a different perspective on things is very helpful. Additionally, going to a gallery or museum, seeing a movie, even reading a book (the old fashioned way) can push me away from lethargy.

I’m writing this because this has been a problem for me recently. And maybe writing about it will shake me free.

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Anonymous D. Saunders said...

Hi Stella - - Yup, I know exactly what you mean. Daryl-Ann

April 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Stella, great post and recognize the syndrome of having to distract your brain and get inspiration. Also, noticed that you went to AIPAD and liked Sasha Wolf Gallery - I represent Elinor Carucci now commercially and I love the image she has there from her series on motherhood. Hope all is well, xo Kristina

April 10, 2012  
Anonymous AC said...

Solid advice. If I'm not shooting I have so many other things to do that I can get behind really fast if I'm not diligent with tasks and chores.

April 10, 2012  
Blogger Shabnamsirur said...

Thanks for sharing this. Yesterday was a particularly lethargic day for me...reading your article has been comforting and helpful. Thank you.

April 11, 2012  
Blogger Sari said...

Thanks for being so open about this, Stella! I think it's something we all deal with at times. I like the three things a day and making lists ideas. Very helpful! See you soon hopefully.

April 11, 2012  
Anonymous Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

So true, glad you could put this into words.

April 18, 2012  

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