A week offline, the flu, a cold, and a book review

One of my goals in my 101 in 1001 list is twice a year to take a week offline. No facebook, twitter, pinterest, blog stalking, etc. I’ve done this periodically in the past for a long weekend here and there. It’s time to make it regular. As my friend Stacie said – “what a great idea! I need to do this too. We are too connected these days”. And I’ll be the first to admit my fb addiction is a bit much. I’m always logged in and have it open. Which means I get no work done while online.

For me this week was time with my kids, time with my friends, time spent reading and editing vacation photos, time spent rearranging my living room and the boys bedroom and starting to organize my desk/workspace area. It was nearly perfect. It would’ve been absolutely perfect had Cody not gotten sick at the beginning of the week and Gavin and I the last couple days.

One thing I did this week was read a book. I haven’t sat down and read a book since June. I picked up Purple Cow by Seth Godin – which I had started twice before and never finished. It was a easy read with little gems of insight scattered throughout. Granted, a lot of the points don’t apply to my “line of work” but there were things I could adapt and apply. And some things that I bookmarked and went back to a few times. Here are a couple…

1. page 47 – “We’ve been raised with a false belief: We mistakenly believe that criticism leads to failure. From the time we get to school, we’re taught that being noticed is almost always bad. It gets us sent to the principal’s office, not to Harvard. Nobody says, “Yeah, I’d like to set myself up for some serious criticism!” And yet … the only way to be remarkable is to do just that. …. We often respond to our aversion to criticism by hiding, avoiding the negative feedback, and thus (ironically) guaranteeing that we won’t succeed! If the only way to cut through is to be remarkable, and the only way to avoid criticism is to be boring and safe, well, that’s quite a choice isn’t it? You do not equal the project. Criticism of the project is not criticism of you… It’s people who have projects that are never criticized who ultimately fail.”

This is such a good reminder. In art, it’s all subjective. Not everyone will like my “style” or my photographs. Not a big deal. There is a difference between someone just saying “I don’t like it” and someone offering some constructive criticism. There’s something to be said for someone with years more experience and knowledge offering advice or help. I recently opened myself up to a mentoring program and am working with a super talented photographer. We’re covering the basics, biz and technical. Some things I knew, some I didn’t. That’s the point. I’m looking forward to hearing her negative comments (again, I’m not talking just a simple ‘not my favorite’ or ‘I don’t like it’ but actual advice) seeing what I can apply and making modifications. I truly believe you can’t teach someone to be creative. You can’t teach someone to have a good eye or to see the shot. But you can help someone to achieve their shot more efficiently.

2. page 79 – “In search of Otaku – The Japanese have invented some truly useful words. One of them is otaku. Otaku describes something that’s more than a hobby but a little less than an obsession. Otaku is an overwhelming desire that gets someone to drive across town to try a new ramen-noodle shop that got a great review….”

For me, up to this point, photography has been otaku. I’m working on taking it to the next level professionally. But I’m also determined to keep it otaku. That overwhelming desire keeps me inspired and motivated.

 

That’s what I’ve got on the book. And in general for the week I got the break I wanted and the space I needed. It’s always a good thing to end a week like this more excited about checking e-mail and paying bills than getting on facebook. :)

About Danielle Nielsen

I am a photographer who loves to bring out the best in you and your life. Capturing those little moments that make you special are my favorite. I am an "on location" photographer and available for travel anywhere you'd like photos taken.
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