Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Heart's Not In It

Here's the deal. I don't really feel like talking about knitting today. If that's what you came here for, then stop now. Knitting content will return in a day or so and I have some neat pictures of the Figure 8 Cast-On to show you.

Today I feel like ranting a bit. Well, not really rant. Just vent some frustration and personal contemplation.

From the time I was a kid and learned how to speak English (and speak it better than the other 6-year olds), I've basically wanted to write. Write about anything but I figured out pretty quickly what I liked the best. It wasn't fiction. I tried that and it was very awkward. I was self-conscious. You can't be a fiction writer if you're timid that way. I was good at writing essays, papers, etc., anything that I could inject my personal opinion in some way. And I loved writing dialogue. I'm not the wittiest or the pithiest but I listen very well and I appreciate a clever tongue.

Then along came my first real camera, a Pentax K1000, totally manual except for the light meter. I spent nights and weekends in the darkroom. I took pictures of nudes, dogs, mountains, cars, people I didn't know. Gradually I saw a pattern - I was trying to tell stories with my photos. I wanted to generate discussion and inspire dialogue using pictures.

But. As some of you Asian readers out there know, there is a great deal of pressure to go to school for a zillion years, learn the hard stuff (math, engineering, medicine), move on to a successful, demanding career and make gobs of money as a VIP in your chosen-for-you field. There is no room for anything artsy and creative.

I followed the conventional route as best I could and I've done all right but my heart's not in it. Because of that, I feel like I haven't done as well as I could have. I should be VP of something by now but instead I keep telling myself I need a life.

Now I'm at a quandry. Blogging has introduced a photojournalistic outlet for me that has also emphasized something else - I'd rather be doing this than my real job. Don't get me wrong, my company is great! And there are avenues in the company that I could take to satisfy some of this writing need. But. I'm afraid. I've never done any freelance work, ever. And that's what I'll have to do in order to get anything noticed.

I'm not saying that the opportunities need to come to me rather than me seek them out; it's just that...I want to make sure I know an opportunity when I see one. Make sense? And not have fear.

So this is my post for the day. Nothing about knitting. Just more about life.


Stephanie said...

I understand exactly what you're saying. I've always wanted to write or do something creative (I'd love a yarn store where I could have great merchandising and fabulous classes) and I'm in a field that doesn't lend itself to creativity. Could you pursue some freelance work while still keeping your current job? That way you could "test the water" and find out if you'd like it with very little risk. I truly believe that there's nothing wrong with making money, but I too would rather have a life and be happy with what I do. I say try a few things and see where the road takes you.

caitlyn said...

From your blog I can tell that photography is one of your passions. Stephanie's idea sounds good. With regards to whether you will recognize an opportunity when it comes to you -- trust your intuition. Gut feelings are important. For me, sometimes my "rational thinking" is different from what my instinct tells me. It can be hard to reconcile the two. But I'm usually happier when I go with my intuition. That's just me. =o) Good luck as you explore this new path!

LoriO said...

First you need to get rid of the "shoulds." That's the first part of losing fear. If you had wanted to be VP of something you would have.

I'm with caitlyn, trust your intuition and do what makes you happy. Maybe you could go part-time and pursue your passion the rest of the time? Maybe you could start small, like entering something in the State Fair?

I love your pictures, and you do have an excellent writing style. That's why I kept reading your "blahg." I felt like there was some connection, and that's what all good writers do, they connect with their audience. I think you have the talent and the smarts to do whatever you want and be successful.

kittensmittens said...

Yep, I too agree with the above comments. Anyone can see you are an intelligent and talented woman. You want to try something new, go ahead. Like your other readers said, there's plenty of options to try something new without having to give up your job just yet; maybe send a story or an essay to a magazine, try some freelance on the side, or send your pictures away to competions,...
As for not recognizing oportunities, I'm a firm believer that you have to create your own oportunities. And when they come along, you'll know it, because you've created it. (Corny but true)
When you set your mind to you, you can succeed at whatever you want.

Birdsong said...

I agree about creating your own opportunities, and also that you don't have to quit your current job to begin to make more time for your passions. However, there will come a point where "work" is cutting into your time to develop your life, and intuition will help decide that too. As for making submissions, the old route was to buy the annual edition of Writers Market: - and start sending stuff out. Right now there are a lot of e-zines and independents that you could locate through the Internet as well. "Write about what you know" sounds trite, but it really works, because you have so much more conviction when you do that. You might want to consider writing up some of the great local places and events for Sierra Heritage, and including some of your photos. Email me if you want to have a long conversation about this; I'm behind you 100%.

Agnes said...

One big piece of advice from to aspiring photographers is that they should keep their day job while pursuing opportunities in photography. I think that makes a lot of sense. Get some writers' magazines ... they offer advice to writers too, though I don't know if they all make sense. Submitting your work to your local city newspapers is one way to get people in the business to know you, I think.