I took a creative break last month, and it turned out more literally than expected. I was wiped out after launching this site and my book, and doing Open Studios. And I’d lost my way with my photography. Despite plans for collages and ebooks, I wasn’t clear what I was really photographing for – and so thousands of images had piled up unedited and/or unused. I knew I needed to relax and play around, and so I went to Anglesey to do a Land Art workshop. Place and people and workshop were all brilliant, and apart from a couple of hiccups I got into the flow. (Although I’m never going to be a land artist.) Then I stayed on for ten days, exploring the countryside and coast, and trying to get clear on my creative path.
I had an idea for a collage, and spent the second week photographing for it. Once I got home, though, I felt strangely sad. I had a few more days left of my holiday, and had planned more exploring with my camera, but didn’t feel like it. I could see I’d been pushing the stream, and that I’d lost my real enthusiasm for photography. I thought I’d switch focus for a few months to writing, since I really want to have another go at fiction. But a friend made me see that I needed to give up photography entirely. This was a rather shocking idea, but I realized she was right: giving up the idea of being a photographer frees up all the time and energy I’ve been putting into keeping up to date with all the technology of photography, and fretting about being in a rut with it.
It’s a pretty weird thing to do after twenty-five years – especially when I’ve just launched this new website. And I honestly don’t know if the break will last two months or two years – or even if I’ll ever pursue photography seriously again. (Lightening up about it sounds a good choice, frankly.) Meanwhile I’m creating a space for writing – sorting out my workroom, gathering inspiration, and aiming to play around until I find a way into it. Being a complete beginner again.