Finding motivation as an artist can be really tough. It can be easy to fall into negative cycles, feeling like you’re not good enough, and not producing work that is as good as you want. It can feel impossible to break out of, but don't give up even if everything you produce at the moment isn’t as good as you’d like. Everything you do is part of building a bigger picture, and you will come out the other side better for it.
If you are among those struggling with finding the “next thing,” avoid the temptation to blame yourself, but instead feel empowered! Blame shouldn’t be used for failure, but rather reserved for when you feel an unwillingness to try. As long as you believe there is more to be done, to be learned, and to be expressed, then you are still on the right track. This is especially true even if you find yourself in the throes of a creative block, a personal struggle, or in search of a deeper meaning that is yet to appear —don’t blame yourself.
Every image I create, whether I think it's good or bad, contributes to my photographic education. For that reason I never think that any of my work is a failure; it all contributes to my development in some way. Keep trying. Take a break if needed, but don’t give up. Accomplishments are rewarding in a way, but the rewards are short-lived. To live creatively, to constantly seek meaningful expressions, to try; those are the things that will keep giving you rewards every single day. The good artist knows that he is always learning, and will always have more to learn. He also knows that creating art isn't just about success, it's about the journey.
There isn’t room for words like failure or success. Instead, understand that it’s just a process that we all have to go through. You have to fail in order to learn. You have to get used to accepting that the majority of what you create isn't any good. Look at it like creating prototypes or concepts. Until we get to where we wanted to go with a piece of work or an idea, everything we create on the road to getting there is a prototype. Not a failure. Don’t be afraid to put the work in, accept that the road will be a long and difficult one, but always remember that you will be growing throughout the process.
I'm aware that all of my work to date has taken me to the point where I am now. I couldn't have arrived here without all the hard work and dedication of the last ten years (?). Everything I've done, through every bad photo and every successful one, it has all taught me something and has contributed to me being who I am now. My experience has shown me that it's never the tools or software that need to improve. It is my ability to apply them to the subject at hand, and my skills as an artist that need to grow.
Our work is never finished. Every image we create, whether we think it's good or bad, contributes to our photographic education and our artistic growth. Try and eliminate the negative thoughts and words from your work, and instead see it all as part of the broader tapestry of your life and creativity. It can only have positive effects, and help you create more, and with more happiness, than ever before.