Two things happened this weekend that led to a slight revelation for me. It's about my blog and about photography.
The truth is, I basically know nothing about the technicalities behind blogging. I don't know code (except how to start and end a paragraph, which Chris taught me) and I'm totally stumbling my way through learning what the heck I'm doing. I also know so little about my DSLR camera and I currently don't use Photoshop. All of these things can really frustrate me because I want to understand them and I know that once I do I'll be able to make my blog and posts look the way I really want to. Part of my frustration is that I dislike learning by trial and error. It feels very inefficient to me and I'd much rather just have someone show me the right way to do something in the first place. But at this point, I'm not sure who those "someones" are for me!
So the two things that happened to me: On Friday I heard an awesome clip of Ira Glass talking about creativity (via Shutterbean). I love Ira and what he said about persisting despite being bad at something rings so true to me right now.
Next, I was reading archived posts on Elise's blog. I am so inspired by Elise lately. I love her cheerful and honest posts, I love her projects and creativity, and I love all the photos that she includes from her life. I've realized that the blogs I love the most are the ones that let me feel like I'm connecting to the person who writes the blog. When I read a blog I want to feel like I just had a conversation with someone. I think achieving that comes from honest writing and getting glimpses into other people's lives through photos. It's the way I hope my blog is to you, dear readers, and if it's not, then know that it's my goal!
Anyway, looking at older posts on Elise's blog, I realized that while she includes awesome photographs in her current posts, some of her older photos are much more snapshots than well-edited photos. I love this. It shows that there was progress. That she might not have started out taking beautiful pictures. But she took pictures none the less and they are perfectly fine and tell her story.
I wondered, "Why don't I include more pictures on my blog?" And I realized it's because my DSLR camera really intimidates me! I don't fully understand it so I don't always look forward to getting it out. Plus, it's a bit big for pulling out for a spontaneous shot. What I really need to be doing is carrying around my smaller digital camera and just snapping photos. I don't need to worry about them being awesomely crafted, just take pictures! I'd love to be able to include more photos on my blog and as I take more pictures I'll hopefully take better pictures.
Here's the thing: In most of my endeavors I'm a little bit of a perfectionist (hmmm, you could probably argue with the "little bit" part) and I might be letting that creep too much into my approach to blogging. I don't have to have an awesomely popular blog; I'm not trying to make a living from my blog. I just enjoy being part of the blog community and connecting with new people, like my Liebster awardees! Blogging also helps keep me accountable to myself on the goals I set, from organizing to saving for a car to growing out my hair.
And then it clicked: Just because I'm not great at something now doesn't mean that I can't become great if I work at it. I blog because I enjoy it and I don't want to let perfection intimidate me from doing something I enjoy.
It's kind of a slap-your-forehead sort of thing because it seems like it should be obvious. It's exactly the kind of advice I can hear myself giving someone else. The things that I worry over, the technicalities of blogging and the quality of my pictures, those are things that I can learn. It's not that I'm not smart enough or creative enough, it's just that I haven't had time to learn enough! It was an important realization for me and it made me feel a bit lighter and motivated to keep learning.
So, I've got a few ideas. First, I'm going to start carrying my smaller digital camera with me. I started this on Saturday and I was snapping photos left and right! It reminded me that I really do enjoy taking pictures and I shouldn't let my equipment get in the way. I've also signed up for an intermediate DSLR class at the Desert Botanical Garden; it should be really helpful! This summer I might take a Photoshop class through ASU and I'm also trying to find someone locally who can be my blog mentor, someone who can guide me in the way of coding and maybe a bit of graphic design.
I know I have so much to learn, but that's the fun part, right? And as I learn I'm excited to keep on sharing with you on my perfectly imperfect blog. :)