Guest Essay: The Very Real Joys + Struggles of Living Creatively

“Don’t abandon your creativity the moment that things stop being easy or rewarding – because that’s the moment when interesting begins.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, Author


It’s hard to be a full-time creative, my loves. What once was just play, climbing trees and wading in ponds, becomes a career that requires money to pay the bills and long hours devoted to emails for every one hour spent roaming in the warm sun.

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Oh, but it’s so worth it, I think. To make your work the greatest play of all, to make something out of what your heart clamors for.

For me, sometimes I have to take a deep breath of October air when the pose just isn’t coming out right or I forget to send a message back to a client or I feel foolish and gangly in the pretty loungewear I was sent to photograph in.

I need to remember I do all this because it’s joy.

I answer emails because working with new friends is joy.

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I writhe around for hours in front of the camera hoping for a shot where all of my arms are in the frame for the joy. I love the click of the shutter. I love the breeze that blows a strand of hair into just the right place at just the right 1/60th of a second.

Sometimes the photos are blurry and my pose is awkward and I’m tired and I forget that my spirit sings its favorite song when I go out to take pictures or curl up by the window in the morning light with the Canon.

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We were born to create stories and live in highlights and shadows.

I’m rubbish at emails, too easily distracted to be efficient at business, I’m forever chopping limbs out of the frame and going a little too fast shooting, but this is my own little fairyland where all the imperfections are made lovely and the only rules are my own.

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The truth is that being an artist is often hard and frustrating and discouraging.

But art is a pure bliss when the Universe and one of its little people are working hand in hand to express something true and important.

I’m interested in what art and creation are doing and I want to go along with them and play my part.

That’s a holy work that makes the unanswered-messages guilt and long hours of self-doubt so deeply worth it all in the end. One golden moment in the light is enough to help me see for miles and miles.

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Lulu Lovering is a photographer, model and writer from Vermont. This guest essay originally appeared as an update on Facebook, and is republished here with permission.

Follow Lulu on Facebook, Flickr and Instagram.

+ When the creative life becomes difficult, what inspires you to keep going? Do Lulu’s words resonate with you?
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