HOW TO: Survive being creative – Step 1 and 2

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I have a sign on my toaster which reads: “I’m not weird, I’m gifted!” given to me by my long-suffering boyfriend!

Creative people are just different! We tend to be up one minute and down the next, and I’ve learnt that dealing with this behaviour is the key to being successful and happy as a creative person.

You may wonder why the people around you sometimes don’t seem to understand you! Some days you can take on the world, and feel really inspired and motivated, yet other days you feel like you’re kidding yourself. Over the next few months I will share with you my 10 steps for making this work to your advantage!

Step 1 – Learn to trust your intuition

Creativity is all about feeling – learn to do what feels right for YOU. If it feels wrong, then it probably is wrong – have the confidence to change what you’re doing when you feel it’s not working. If you are really struggling to take a picture of a child against a certain background, then you are struggling for a reason – usually because it is never going to work – so don’t pursue it. Just say, “this isn’t working, I need to change it” and move the child somewhere else; change their clothes, find a different toy, look for a different background, and suddenly you’ll find you get inspired and taking the photo becomes easy.

Photography should be easy – don’t make it hard for yourself.

If you feel uncomfortable using flash, or different f-stops and settings, don’t feel you have to use them – adapt the way you work so that you feel comfortable, until such time as you gain the confidence to learn new things, if you want to. I have never felt comfortable using flash – I’ve tried lots of times, and finally realised it’s just not my thing! I do use it in the aisle for weddings, and for the first dance, because I have no choice – but then it goes back in the bag. I’ve learnt how to shoot everything in natural light – and learnt to say “no” to jobs in the dark! Why make life hard for myself? It’s much more fun pursuing the things I like doing.

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When things feel “right”, photography suddenly becomes very easy.

If you feel uncomfortable at times, this is your creative brain telling you to change what you’re doing. Learn to recognise this and move on. Accept that it doesn’t work and try it a different way – you’ll be amazed at how much easier the shoot will become.

Step 2 – Get rid of negative people

Seek out and surround yourself with POSITIVE people! Don’t let negative people get you down – it will dramatically alter the way you feel, work and live. We all know them; there is usually at least one person in our lives that is constantly moaning, and telling you that your latest idea won’t work. Creative people are sensitive people, therefore we tend to get sucked in by the negative ones, and before you know it, you’re feeling down yourself!

How many times have you told someone you have a great idea, only to hear, “that won’t work” or “ooh, I’m not sure about that, sounds a bit risky…” It’s very hard to ignore these people, you suddenly go from being all excited and creative to starting to wonder if they’re right, and before you know it you’ve binned the idea, and gone off to sit in front of Richard & Judy.

If you can’t bin the negative person from your life (because they’re related to you usually!), then learn to talk to them in a different way. Feel sorry for them that they can’t see how great your ideas are! But DON’T LET THEM GET TO YOU!

If you’re unsure about someone’s criticism, look at what they do, how they dress, the life they lead. Would you dress like that, do those things, think the way they do? Chances are you wouldn’t, so why would their advice relate to you? Have the confidence to believe in yourself and be able to smile sweetly at negative people – don’t let them get under your skin!

Try saying, “oh, I’m sorry you feel like that – I’m really excited about my idea, and looking forward to trying it out.” In other words, you’re saying “I’m not going to let you demotivate me!” After about the third time of doing this, the negative person will stop being negative towards you because they will learn what your reaction will be. They will realise they will get nowhere with this behaviour and may as well not go there! Try it – it works!

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Surround yourself with positive people!

Remember you have a choice in life – you DON’T have to spend huge amounts of time with negative people – don’t immediately answer the phone when you see their number – choose when you feel like speaking to them. Chances are if you call them back an hour later, they will have calmed down and have less to moan about (they probably moaned to someone else because you didn’t answer the phone!). If they drive you mad on email – add them to your junk filter – works brilliantly!

Remember you are unlikely to be able to change their behaviour completely – all you can do is change your behaviour towards them – see them differently, deal with them differently and you may just get a different result.

I have to say that this is one of the things that really moved me forward – once I started refusing to allow others to spoil my happiness, it really did make a difference.

If you have any comments or questions about these issues, please share them below or via Facebook, so we can help each other!

Annabel x


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