Though there are endless quotes and stories of people who achieve incredible things after a myriad of failings, it is still intimidating to begin or jump in to something new. Sure, these stories and quotes are inspirational and motivational for a moment, but what keeps you working, toiling, searching and plodding along in failure or mediocrity until you reach something akin to success? Obviously, it must be due mostly to some innate tenacity within the individual which is how they, the few, become lauded. I’m really not trying to say anything vital here, just thinking in writing and lately I’ve been asking myself why I get intimidated to begin something new.
“Well, I don’t know how to do that!” is what I tell myself. But that isn’t a good enough excuse not to begin to learn something! How are you supposed to just KNOW something without any learning, experimenting, practicing and exploration?
“But I’m not talented enough!” Pfft, so damn what. Is something only fun, challenging and exciting if it comes out perfect and world changing? Sure, that is exciting, but it isn’t the point of creating and doing something you enjoy, to actually ENJOY it?
For our 1 year anniversary, the spouse got me a little light so I wouldn’t have any more excuses not to practice food photography. For a while now, I’ve blamed the lighting and the grotesque countertops that populate our kitchen as the reason why I cannot possibly play with food, camera and photoshop. Sure those are real, but they are just stupid excuses because I know that the photos I take in this unpracticed state won’t look amazing. Which is why I don’t practice. WHERE IS THE LOGIC? Precisely. There is none in this argument.
As someone who prizes logic and sense above all, I shouldn’t let it continue. I love following food bloggers with incredible photography ( Cannelle et Vanille, Local Milk, Leela Cyd), which is inspirational but it also tends to shut me down since I assume the first photo I take won’t be as good as their most recent one. And why should it without the education and carefully practiced skill they have? Anyway, this entire rant, Gollum style, is just to say that I want to push myself to practice many different skills, projects and techniques in the future. And I want to post it here as a way to see the growth that will (hopefully) occur and to not let non-perfection damper practice.
I’ve been taking Skillshare classes on Indesign, hand lettering and food photography. While watching the hand lettering one, I almost fell into the another trap after seeing how incredible Mary Kate McDevitt’s lettering was. Because obviously she came out of the womb with a freshly sharpened pencil and a perfectly calligraphied message, “Hello World”. But as I kept watching, she continued to erase, and start huge chunks of her project over if they didn’t look right. Her gorgeous final project was not a first draft, or a second or even a 10th. She erased, started over, traced and re-sketched continually. Her exquisitely whimsical end was the result not only of an official education and personal talent, but a dedication to her craft and the hard work it will take to get there. I’ve learned many fun things from that class, but I keep going back to that “lesson”.
Another story that I keep going back to is Julia Child. Anyone who has turned on a stove to cook something probably looks to Julia, but I recently read “My Life in Paris” which just shocked me with how (relatively) late in life she officially learned how to cook. She started taking cooking classes at age 37 and it took 10 years of intense writing, cooking and experimenting to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Just think of that when you are like 23 and dramatically lamenting that you don’t know what to do with your life. Also, this quaintly illustrated book about her life looks delightful.
What are you too intimated to begin for lack of knowledge and experience? Lets both through nonsensical intimidation out the window and get to work.