Staying Motivated … Being Inspired

For those of us that do most, if not all of our work alone, staying motivated can sometimes be a challenge. The painter with her brushes, paints and canvas; the composer with his keyboard or paper with staffs or computer; the potter with her clay and wheel; or the photographer with his camera and subject – we all need inspiration and motivation to be highly productive. Some are good at self-motivation, but from time to time, most of us need a little help!

As a photographer, I find that there are many factors that help to keep me motivated. Viewing and studying other photographers’ work helps to get my juices flowing. Going to exhibits, conversing with fellow photographers, reading books and magazines, participating in workshops and master classes, teaching others, being a part of an art community – all these things help to keep me motivated and to be continually learning.

For those who do not have the benefit of living in a major city (yes, I know, there are LOTS of disadvantages!), the Internet has become an enormous resource. We can reach out and find others with similar interests; we can find infinite sources for information about our art and craft; we can view the works of as many other artists as we can find the time for; we can join an art “community” (forum, social networking venue, etc.) of artists to learn from and to be motivated by; we can interact with others and can find the answers to virtually any questions we might have. The biggest challenge is time. If art is our business and not our hobby, we have to carefully balance the time we spend making art and marketing our work, versus the time we spend being connected and enjoying all the wonderful resources that can consume ALL of our time. We have to know our primary goal, and never losing focus on that goal is critical.

I find that having a specific project with a deadline helps to keep me focused and motivated, especially if work is broken down into small, achievable, manageable pieces. For me, having a timeline with many intermediate steps before reaching the final objective helps to keep me motivated. Each of us is different and we need to figure out how we can be the most productive. There is no one formula, and we each must keep searching.

For many of us, inspiration is the catalyst for motivation. Every day, I look at photographs (and they’re not my photographs!), that make me say, “Wow!” As a visual person, nothing inspires me more, or motivates me more than amazing photography. It inspires me to work harder; it inspires me to go out and make photographs; it inspires and motivates me to continually try to improve my ability to “see” and “feel.” Amazing photography motivates me to “get off my butt” and make something happen!

Here are some amazing photographs that started my day this morning.

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