I’ll be honest, I’ve been having a really hard time with motivation lately. This time of year is just kind of slumpy for me: the joyful holidays are over. I’m back home in New Mexico, but very far away from my closest friends and family. It’s been cold and/or windy, which means my exploration/street photography around Clovis has been minimal (okay, realistically none at all). I’m trying to get back into the swing of my usually work/home schedule, but with some (a lot of) difficulty.

So how do you get your motivation back? How do you move past a creative slump?

Get out of your own head.

Seriously. And I especially have issues with this. But the reality is that your own mind created the slump, and it’s the only thing keeping you there, and sucking you into a creative black hole. You need outside input.

Google your favorite genre of photography and find articles about the most famous photographers who do it. Look at other people’s work until you feel like your eyeballs will melt. Analyze the works you appreciate the most, and really think hard about why. Maybe even write it out and contemplate about how you might have done things differently.

Reach out to other photographers or artists. Meet up and talk about your mutual passion, your favorite photographers, gear, and methods. Plan a shoot together, or assist on someone else’s shoot. You are bound to discover new ideas, tips, and things to try.

Try not to worry too much— slumps happen to everyone. Just remember: you only need that one idea, just one thing, to reignite your imagination and motivation, and help you find your way out of that slumpy, uninspirational fog.

Playing around with different lighting techniques helped light my way out of my photography slump this week. (See what I did there?)

Here we are, ten days into 2019.

It never ceases to amaze me how much faster the years go by as I get older. Where did all the time go?

This year will mark the end of my twenties. Honestly, I don’t mind one little bit. My twenties haven’t been nearly as fun and interesting as sitcoms would have had me believe. I’m ready to move on, and hopefully onto something better.

This end of an era has also encouraged me to seriously reflect on the past year, and on my twenties as a whole. Most of my twenties have been about merely surviving. Just getting through to the next day, the next week, overcoming the next obstacle, etc. It’s an utterly exhausting way to live and I’m definitely over it.

So, for 2019, I have decided on a yearly theme (rather than resolution): Be bold.

It’s a little vague, I know, but it suits me. But what exactly does it mean?

This is her bold face.

For me, first and foremost, it’s a reminder not to get complacent. In order to be bold, you have to put yourself out there, push yourself out of your comfort zone. You can’t just sit on the sidelines, or in the back of the class, hoping the teacher won’t call on you. You have to be proactive, have an active role in this life you are given, and push yourself into the unknown— as opposed to merely reacting to the things passing through your life.

It’s also a reminder that it’s okay to stand out. Generally I don’t like to stand out too much. I’m an introvert and prefer to fly under the radar. But as an artist, I need to stick out more. I have a unique style and I need to accept it, instead of trying to tone it down, or wishing I was more like someone else. To be bold is to embrace your differences from others, instead of trying to conform and I personally have come to think it’s necessary for artists. You have a different and interesting view of the world, so let it out! As a creative, in order to find yourself and your style, you have to follow what inspires you, what interests you and what you are passionate about, regardless of what others think.

Lastly, for me, ‘be bold’ also means ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ I know it might sound a little weird, but being uncomfortable really is good for us. It’s the only way for us to expand our horizons, to learn. I can hardly learn more about my craft if I just do the same old things that I’m comfortable with. We need to be more like Ms. Frizzle (90’s kids know who I’m talking about): Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!