The first month, I did it every day. The creativity was welcome and freeing, and it was even giving me extra content to post on my blog. I was pretty sure that with my new DSLR in hand, this Project 365 thing was going to be a no-brainer. Beginning with my best friend back in 2005, I’ve watched tons of people accomplish it over the years, and become damn good photographers in the process. This was how I was going to conquer my fear of shooting on manual for good. And also how I was going to get my face out of the iPhone and back in to my life.
Things kicked off easily enough. I have a cute kid, a lot of natural light in my house, and the Canon 60D is nothing to sneeze at, so the first few days were a cake walk. But then something went wrong; the left side of my brain suddenly noticed what the right side was doing.
“What’s this? A hobby? Oh no…that won’t do. No time for hobbies. We’re going to publish these photos to our blog, Right Brain. And we’re going to do it every single day. We need to keep pumping out content, you know.”
My Right Brain is a total pushover. She never stands up for herself. So I started to publish the daily photos. And y’know, sometimes Left Brain knows what she’s talking about. Forcing out the daily content did help me rekindle the romance with my personal blog, but it did something else, too. It turned what was meant to be an enjoyable hobby — something I was doing for myself, in to an assignment. One with daily deadlines even.
And she didn’t stop there. Left Brain started to want creative input in to Right Brain’s daily photo. Photos of nothing but dogs and children weren’t going to keep the clicks rolling in — well, at least not photos of the same three dogs and one child — and certainly not if those photos didn’t have funny captions in white block lettering on them. So Left Brain started insisting that the subject matter get more and more interesting. And while Right Brain enjoyed the challenge, all of a sudden instead of dessert, photography was just another main course piled on my already over-filled dinner plate. And when the plate gets too full, something inevitably falls off.
So today, day 136 of 365, I’m officially calling it. The last photo I took with my photo of the day project in mind was just over a month ago now. Looking at it this morning, I felt really sad. It’s of my daughter kicking a soccer ball. A shot I’m grateful to have — she’d never played before and having those shots of her running around dribbling for the first time will be treasured for years to come, I’m sure.
And I realized: I don’t want to give up on this thing. I mean, I’ve clearly failed, but I don’t want it to be over. I really did love taking those daily pictures.
So I’m starting again. But I’m going to make the focus of the project that it remain a hobby. No rules. No deadlines. No requirement to share the photos with anyone at all. I’ll be damned if I let that Left Brain win.
Any advice for me? Have you been able to successfully maintain a hobby? Does it add to your quality of life as much as I think it will?