We just completed a cross country move and in a few weeks we will learn where and when our next move will be…a move that will most likely be transcontinental. While we are waiting for our next move to a slightly more permanent location we are living in fully furnished corporate apartments. They have slat blinds, black ikea furniture and horrible art. Most everything we have is in storage and what we were able to ship hasn’t yet arrived.
I knew this move was coming and it’s one we’ve been waiting for as it means the start of an exciting chapter for our family, but I was always weary of this time in temporary housing. I wasn’t so worried about not having my things, or not feeling at home, because I can live in small spaces and we always adapt, but I was worried about my art. Last year was a really big year for me. I started a few exciting ventures, like “The Long Way Home”, but most importantly, it was a transformative year for my art. Pieces came together that I had been working on so much just worked.
Knowing that we had this move to a hotel like home for upwards of a year, I was concerned with safeguarding my creativity and finding ways to force or trick myself into working on overdrive to keep this trajectory going. I asked people about projects to start, ways to inspire myself…everything I could think of, fully and honestly admitting that I didn’t want to drop the ball… I didn’t want to fail my art.
In the midst of my freaking out, several who are much wiser than me, told me to give myself grace and time. When I first hear that I brushed it aside. I didn’t want to give myself time, I wanted to keep creating. I wanted the formula that would keep the work flowing, even in a time of exhaustion and little inspiration. I wanted to gloss over all that was going on in my life and be an art machine. After time trying to force that and meeting only with more exhaustion and a lack of love for the process, I tried out the advice. I let this be my life right now and let my art fall in where it would. I removed the expectation or requirement that I focus only on getting better, when I am at a crossroads in other major aspects of my life, aside from my art. I decided to give myself grace. I wasn’t taking a break from photography, but I was letting myself not be too focused on it for a little bit. I was letting myself pick up the camera and only turn out snapshots and be okay with that.
I see now that it is by following this wise advice that I am in fact safeguarding my creativity, because my other plan would only lead to killing my creativity. We are creative people. Just because our journey ebbs and flows does not mean we are stagnant or that our creativity has gone. It just means it’s sleeping for a season, preparing itself and you for the next big leap. Remember, it’s pretty hard to leap if you’re too tired to stand.
Amanda Voelker is a fine art and lifestyle photographer. With her children and light as her inspiration, Amanda finds beauty in the everyday. She strives to capture the subtleties of human emotion and connection in a beautiful way that showcases both the moment and a piece of her self. Amanda is also the Co Creator and Editor in Chief of “The Long Way Home” Magazine and instructor at "The Bloom Forum"