Finding my own path

Creativity is a Winding Road

“Let us move on, and step out boldly, though it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way.” - Charles B. Newcomb

I love photography and blogging - it’s all so very interesting.  There are so many great photographers and they have lots of different ideas about how to succeed - and I think that is great, because we all know there is more than one road to success, and someone else’s path may not work for you.    We’re all different and have different needs and different goals.  You have to find your own road, and figure out what feels right to you, and what makes you happy.  In the end, I think that’s all you need to aim for.

I’ve decided that that is exactly what I am aiming for.  I want to find my own road.

When I started, I felt compelled to “get something out there” almost every day (though in recent years I have settled on 5 posts per week, each with a single photo).  I naively thought that was the only way to do it.  I thought it was required.

I was following someone else’s path, instead of making my own.

I don’t feel that way anymore.  Photography and this blog are my passion, but working hard to get something posted 5 times per week is a LOT of work, and it is starting to feel like work.  I am constantly working to get photos ready, write something about them, plan ahead because I might be traveling, and of course do all the social sharing that helps to get the word out.  I have self-imposed deadlines and goals, and spend a lot of time on social media.   What’s happening is that I am taking all the fun out if it.

I’m tired of all that.  

It’s not exactly like people are hanging around, waiting for me to hit “Publish” so a post goes live here.  This stuff isn’t mission-critical.  To use a quote from a customer of mine, when confronted with a delay in a print getting shipped: “That’s ok, Jim.  There are no art emergencies.”  I love that quote, and it’s so true. 

iPhone shot of some graffiti I found in Dublin, Ireland...

I’m now at the point that I want to do things that I want to do.  I don’t want to follow someone else’s model of “how to succeed”.  I want to write more here on the blog, and share longer-form blog articles about photography, travel, and maybe some other things.  Maybe I will write some tutorials, or share processing tips.  I’m not sure yet.

It’s a balance among the things I enjoy, instead of feeling like I “have to do” something.  That’s part of the beauty of having a blog - you can pretty much do whatever you want to do.  You don’t have a boss.  Speaking of which, you should start blogging.

It’s time to make some changes.

So I guess what I am saying is that I will start to reduce the number of weekly posts that I share here on the blog.  I have been sharing 5 per week, but will start to draw that down, though not sure to how many.  I don’t have a “goal”, and I don’t want to put a number on it.  But if each post is longer, there will have to be fewer of them.

I want to add more photos, more writing, and frankly more depth to each post.  Will they all be long articles with a bunch of photos?  No, I don’t think so.  Sometimes I may just post a single photo and a short blurb about it.  But my thinking right now is that I will create longer posts with more photos, all related to a single place or event and my experience shooting it (or a portion of it).

Am I going to be less involved in creating content for this blog?  Absolutely not.  In fact, I believe I will actually end up with quite a bit more on this blog, because each post will have multiple photos and more “meat” behind it.  I am not stepping away from the blog, I am stepping forward with it.

iPhone selfie from my recent trip to Oregon - so beautiful there!

Social media is consuming.

But I may take a step back from social media.  Sharing things on all the various sites multiple times per week is a time sink, and the payback is somewhat limited and very intangible.  Though I actually do enjoy it, if I redirect some of that time towards my photography and writing, I believe both will improve and thanks to the magic of Google, people will find me.  I really believe that.

And yes the social sharing does help drive traffic, but like I said above, I believe that good content will drive traffic just as well, or better in fact.  Through the almost 5 years I have been blogging here, my main source of traffic is still organic search via Google.  It’s not driven via social media, and frankly social media isn’t even close.  So, I am not going to spend as much time on it.  It’s not worth it, honestly.

I recently had 2 trips to Europe, and 1 family getaway to Oregon (plenty of photos and writing to be done about all three of those trips!), and as a result I wasn’t online too often - and I loved it.  I felt so free.  And that’s what got me thinking about all this.

The bottom line.

Well folks, that’s where I am, right now.  I still love both photography and blogging, and am working towards getting better at both.  My free time that used to be consumed by social media and scrambling to get 5 posts a week on the blog will now be consumed by developing deeper content to share right here.  

I will keep traveling, taking photos, sharing photos, and writing about my trips and photos - and you will find it all right here.  It’s just going to be more in line with the direction that I want to take this blog while finding my own path, and less focused on the self-generated pressure to get something published here 5 days a week. 

End result: MORE photos here, MORE writing here, and a happier Jim.  Sounds like a win for both of us, doesn't it?

I am looking forward to it, and hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy creating it!  Thanks for stopping by!