Credit, Creative Work, Depression, & Aging: How a blogging mistake took me down a path of rediscovery

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When I started this blog, I didn’t have much in the way of images. As an amateur photographer, much of what I shot was lacking in terms of composition and styling, and didn’t communicate the look and feel that I was going for with my site.

That said, I did, however, know what was inspiring me, and found many images and products elsewhere that I loved and admired, and wanted to share and promote. So I began a series of inspiration posts, a collage with links crediting back to the original source wherever possible. Although I genuinely loved the images and products, here’s the thing – even though I was crediting the original source, the images weren’t mine, and on the occasion where I couldn’t find the original source, I credited back to where I found the image.

Eventually, I was contacted by a talented photographer, who had noticed her image in one of my inspiration posts, and kindly requested that I remove it. I responded immediately by removing the image and sending a follow-up email to apologise. Still, the situation played on my mind for several days afterwards. I felt awful about what had happened, and after much thought about what I should do next, I made a decision. I decided to step back from my blog. Up until now, I’ve enjoyed posting my original sewing work, and using my own photographs as the background image for the text-based post headers I’ve created in Canva. I’ve enjoyed having a life outside of this blog, as a musician, an actor, and creative person.

However, things have been changing. I recently left my record label, and dialled-down all of my performance work. I went quiet on social media, and researched articles about social media fatigue, thinking that might’ve been the issue. But it wasn’t. I felt burned-out creatively, lacklustre, disillusioned with my work, and I just wanted to hang out with my family and in-laws, and forget about the fact that I had a growing online presence and a business to promote and maintain. Something about my creative work didn’t feel right, and in that moment, I realised I needed to step back for a little while, and try and work out what was going on with me in a creative sense.

I have a background in design, specifically graphics, and packaging design. I also have an even longer background in music performance and acting. I’m used to being up in front of crowds, and I’ve always loved entertaining people. But over the last few months, I’ve been pretty reticent, even scared, to share my own work. Even when other people thought it was awesome, I’d feel like my work was lacking in a way that I couldn’t put my finger on. It wasn’t a question of self-esteem – along with a creative background, I also have a history of clinical depression (successfully treated a few years ago after many attempts), so I’m very well aware of the need for me to step back and take time out from social media and blogging when I’m feeling low. It was more an issue of creative frustration. Frustration that I held such a high standard for my work, and I couldn’t bring my ideas to fruition in a way and in a timeframe that I’d thought to be achievable – and that because of this, I kept falling short.

I had good ideas, but I felt this internal pressure to create amazing work in short spaces of time, like I did in my twenties, and when I couldn’t churn things out one after another, I kept feeling like I’d failed somehow. The thought that slapping together an inspiration post might also raise questions about my own creative ability, made me realise that I didn’t just need to start challenging myself to create the kind of images I’d love to have on my blog – I needed to start challenging myself to ignore my creative frustrations, to snap the link I’d made between my age and my own self-imposed limitations, and work at my own pace, on things that I loved.

As a flow-on effect, I’ve found that the quality of my work has increased – I’m less frustrated, I’ve graduated from the Diploma of Business course I’ve been studying over the past year, I’ve become more selective about the outside creative projects that I get involved in, and I’ve rediscovered how lovely it is to sit down at the piano and just play, sing, and write for my own enjoyment. I’ve also embarked on a new course of study. I’m now a student in a short Diploma of Photography course, and will graduate sometime within the next two months. I’m learning more about this beautiful creative outlet every day, and am excited to see what I can create.

Additionally, from now on, beehivebespoke.com will contain predominantly original content that has been created by me, including sewing, photographs, typography, images, videos, and artwork. I don’t care if it takes longer – I just want to do good work, and do it well. In situations where an outside image or video has been used, you can be certain that I have first obtained email permission from the original creator, and I will always add a statement noting this, along with credits linking back to their site or work.

If you’ve ever been through a period of creative rediscovery, I’d love to hear your story – leave a comment below, and let’s get the ball rolling…

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5 Comments

  1. theresa
    May 16, 2016 / 12:21 am

    Im currently going thru that uncomfortable stage with life, creativity and more so this was a good post to read. I’m confident that following intuition is always the right path.

    • May 16, 2016 / 3:22 am

      I agree Theresa – it’s a tricky stage to navigate at times! I’m glad to hear this post resonated with you 😊 Have a great week!

  2. June 21, 2016 / 4:23 am

    I think your photos are great, keep chasing your dreams :)

    xx
    Faith

    • June 25, 2016 / 12:01 am

      Thank you Faith! Wishing you loads of success in business and life, thank you for the lovely comment! :)

  3. October 5, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Hi Genevieve, I’m Theresa dropping in again and re-reading this article. I can relate to so much in this post. I’m no spring chicken, lived through and beyond a chronic clinical depression assessment, and enjoyed a blogging habit but then got to a point where something just wasn’t right with what I was putting into it and what I was getting out of it. I took a two year break.

    At the time of posting my first comment here I had been formulating a plan to get back into the blogosphere, which I have succeeded at. What took so long? Time, money, more life distractions. I knew my desire would not go away so I let it come forth at it’s own pace. My first blog was merely a hobby that got a level of moderate success within the online crowd I was surrounding myself with. Then one day I saw one of my best posts copy and pasted in it’s whole entirety on someone else blog. A request to please share and credit but kindly remove my entire article from your blog was ignored. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt she might not understand blog ettiquette at first but I did my best to make her aware in the most polite way I could. Then later something I had created was so closely copied by one of my regular commenters and she then offered paid workshops for her customers to create the same. Sigh. No credit, no thank you, no referral. I didn’t want to waste energy getting bitter about that, hey I’ve come through bigger stuff than that, but it did leave me in a funk.

    I’m in a more joyful place with regard to my blogging. If I can’t enjoy the thing that I create in a way that is satisfying to me I may as well stop, or not start, right? I’ll go out on a limb here and say we have a very similar creative spirit that is always calling us to create. Something, Anything. We’re sharing people too. But we are also respectful and willing to learn from mistakes, I’ve made a few blunders along the way. I’m still naive about so much but learning through the bloopers is where it is at.

    I’d sooner see your photo any day than someone elses. Your own photos will always have a soul that is connected to you. From my experience from posting photos of my work online for nearly ten years people did start to instantly recognize my work and I think it is due in most part to the camera lens, the editing and the person behind it.

    Keep up your good work.

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