How very meta of me – blogging about another blog. But I feel I’ve made a significant turn around in the past week. I started my Reading & Reviewing project in January 2008. I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 years.
But it’s hard for me to look at it that way. Because the last two years I barely did anything about the project at all. It makes sense: I’d started up my business in Jaunuary 2011, and had to shift priorities. Reading & Reviewing was just a hobby, you see. And any computer time should really go into work. I mean, if I can sit here for an hour to edit a review, I could surely better use that hour to earn money?
I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want my creative life to be dominated by how much income it generates. I don’t want to stop doing what I want to do because it is suddenly literally not of value for my wallet. I thought about this a lot already last month, and had started to make some changes, e.g. no more work on the weekends save for client shoots. I’ve accepted that I’m working part-time, and am trying to let go of feeling guilty that I don’t work all day every day. I’ve found ways, for myself, to be more efficient at my work so that I feel more accomplished, helping me to feel more comfortable with doing other things.
And it’s okay to take a break. I’m taking one now, and am taking the time to consider what I want to do and how. I mostly want to pick up my camera again and understand for myself that while I find client work rewarding, and am grateful to be able to photograph people’s faces, moments, loved ones… that I should never forget myself. I started photography to cope with emotions. To gather my many, many introspective thoughts. I could translate storms in my mind into simple imagery, and get it out of my system. My own moments matter, too. My home, my people, my expressions, my feelings, my thoughts, my travels, my life.
It explains so much about how I’ve been feeling the past few years: I’m heading toward a clear goal, but am losing bits and pieces of myself as I go. Shedding more of myself, getting scattered, in order to get to where I need to be faster. And that’s not how I want to do it anymore.
So I’ve decided to start somewhere, and somewhere is Reading & Reviewing. I just posted my first review in a long time. But that’s not what I’m excited about. I mean, over the years I’ve more often made promises and posted a review (and then nothing for months) to “prove to everyone!” that I was still invested in it.
I honestly wasn’t, not as much. I mean obviously.
But over the week I showed a fellow book geek friend of mine – who was staying here for 4 days, it was brilliant – my project, and showing her my favorites, and explaining what I did, and as much as I was grateful for her positive and encouraging reaction, what I felt more than anything was pride: I was proud of what I’d done. I was giggling at my own photos, and I enjoyed looking at them. I felt good. I felt re-connected.
And that was the missing piece. And it’s just for Reading & Reviewing for now. But if I can get that feeling back for one project, I have started somewhere, and it will expand. The fuse is lit.
So my friend and I went shopping, I got a new notebook and… just started a clean slate. I wrote down my to be read list – and was ashamed to realize it was still tripple digits despite my firm belief that I’d gotten the number under 100 – and started the first precious notes of the book I’m reading currently. And that was the second thing that I needed. You see, part of what I love about Reading & Reviewing, is that notebook. Holding it in my hand, collecting my thoughts. I’d stopped loving the process of understanding books. And I do feel it’s coming back to me now.
I posted this bit at my bookblog too but it’s significant: I need to forgive myself for abandoning a project I always claimed to love so much. I’ve dipped my toes in. Now I only need to try and be brave enough to take the plunge. To feel like I’m still doing something I can really be proud of, for myself as a person. I’m not seeking validation from others. But I need to believe in myself and what I’m trying to do.
I’m working on that, it’s a process. But I can feel myself getting there. I feel hopeful.