Creative Roadblocks

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Like most people who follow a creative path, especially photography, I reached a stage where the consensus was that you have to pick a specialty and spend all your time becoming the best in only that area. Be it portraiture, still life, landscape, fine art, or any other of the multiple facets of photography. This doesn’t seem to work for me; in fact, I find it to be a great way to stifle and kill my creativity. Each time I’ve attempted to specialize, I have instead ended up not picking up my camera(s) or even opening Adobe Lightroom.

Of course, this is not the only thing I find that can kill my creativity, oh, far from it. Real life has so many avenues to interfere in my creative ideas and plans, not least my “day job” that sees me sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day/40 hours a week. This is a sure-fire way to have me recoiling from touching my personal computer or laptop when I’m not in the office.

And while I don’t want to be a “Luddite” and eschew technology altogether, there comes a time where a digital detox becomes ever more appealing. Be it turning to creative outlets that don’t require technology or ones that only require minimal technology, which doesn’t bode well for my digital photography work. But at least I can go old school and grab a roll of 35mm film and my old rangefinder camera, or a roll of 120 film and my Lomo camera; no technology there. Or just taking a hiatus from one creative outlet and exploring another or however many that take your fancy.

Writing is certainly lower on the scale of being technologically demanding. It is something I am spending a little more time exploring, both here and also, as inspiration comes calling, on my personal blog. Not that coming up with subject ideas is always easy. In fact, I usually spend most of my time mulling over different ideas and then just taking a “brain dump” onto the keyboard and seeing where the pieces fall. Which certainly keeps me busy with edits and re-reads to get things to flow better.

Being a multipotential only exacerbates the issue. Multipotentiality* can be both a help and a hindrance, depending on how you approach things. That desire to explore and learn can be great when you can juggle many things at once, but not so good for the more serial individuals, who have to abandon something before moving to the next item. And you guessed it, I fall more on the serial end of the spectrum, so there comes a time when something has to go so I can move on to the next item. Not to say, I can’t swing back and pick up something I previously abandoned and explore it again/more.

Where am I going with this? Hmm, before I go rambling off into the corner, I guess I should try and bring some order to my words and say that we should all be ourselves and follow our creative passions wherever they may lead. And despite what anyone may say to the contrary, if you don’t feel so inclined to specialize, don’t. Explore life, explore art and creativity in all its forms, and who knows, you might find something that touches your soul, and that trickle becomes a flood. That and, no matter how high that hurdle may look, it’s not insurmountable.

*If you would like to find out more on Multipotentiality, what it is, and if you are one, is an excellent resource, and Emilie has also written a great book on the subject.

Originally published Jul 17, 2017

Ian Mildon

Ian Mildon spends his days working as a software application developer. When not doing this he is a keen photographer, working with various formats; digital (full frame, APS-C), film (35mm, 6x4.5, 6x7), mobile (phone), instant. Ian is also a fairly prolific writer, mainly on subjects pertaining to photography, although he does not limit himself to just this subject matter.

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