“You should write a book!”
“You are a FANTASTIC writer – I literally devoured every single word on every page of your website.”
“Can you write like every day, please?”
These are just a few of the comments that people have made to me over the last eight years on my blog.
Which, yeah, is flattering…in a way. But it also brings out a wild-eyed teeth-baring smile of frustration (usually with labored breathing) every time I hear something like it.
Why, you ask?
Because when I wrote all those words before, I wasn’t trying to BE a writer.
I was trying to be – wait for it – a PHOTOGRAPHER.
Do you have aaaaannnnny idea how freaking MADDENING it is to share your work – your photos – with the world – hoping, praying, pleading for the resonance and appreciation of the masses, only to have said work completely and utterly ignored for what you WROTE ABOUT instead????
(Geez, just talking about it right now is nearly producing an eye-twitch.)
Well, along with the confusion of trying to decide whether or not I should be flattered or insulted (or both) by the responses I was getting about my writing, I took the hint that maybe photography isn’t where my true talents lie (which was absolutely terrifying). I decided to stop taking clients, stop shooting altogether, and just….see how it felt. Give myself time to get some clarity.
That’s been several years ago now, and my itch to photograph things – albeit in a very specific, unconventional way, which I’ll get to later – hasn’t diminished.
But, at the same time, my love for writing has gotten stronger with time as well.
So, I’ve had this internal debate with myself literally every day for the last few years – do I write, or shoot, or BOTH? How do I marry the two in a way that is true to who I am?
I’m a person who is pretty (read: unapologetically) forthcoming with my confessions, convictions, and (sometimes ugly) truths. So, do I have a personal blog that is separate from my photography business? Or do I just do it all in one place?
What I’ve been leaning towards – what my gut is saying – is to do one blog, one brand, and be done. Because that’s true to ME.
Part of me feels anxious about it, because HELLO? have you SEEN photography blogs these days?
What. A. Nightmare.
It’s like Ansel Adams and the Stepford Wives got together and curated the whole internet into a perfect smorgasbord of pin-worthy, beautiful, Kinfolk-magazine-cover-ready photographs of gorgeous hipster mermaids. That…..that is just not me.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with gorgeous hipster mermaids, of course – they just don’t particularly move me, and, as such, I don’t want to make photographs of them.)
ALSO, alllll the photographers I know are very polished and particular about what they blog about and the image that they project – like THEY THEMSELVES are gorgeous hipster merpeople who also have (all-white) homes featured on Apartment Therapy and (all-white) high-end vintage wardrobes that are featured on fashion blogs constantly and they NEVER post about politics, parenting, shitty days or just….normal, every day stuff.
There is so much pressure to have all this artistic freaking SIGNIFICANCE in EVERYTHING they post, and it just feels….well, almost inhuman.
At least to me.
I am a person, and if I want to blog about the new face mask I found that made me stop breaking out, or why I want to throat-punch people during election season, I should not feel GUILTY for it…. *bangs fist on table* AMIRITE?
I’ve been told that “no one’s gonna want to come to a photography blog and read about your intense opinions on breastfeeding in public, or why the church needs to talk about sex more, or about your quest for a capsule wardrobe, Brittany. They just won’t.”
But, problem is? I’ve never really cared for doing what I’m told, to be honest.
(Shocker, I know.)
And I think they’re wrong. Maybe that’s true about some people – of course it is – but not ALL people.
And yeah – the people who would be annoyed by it? Not my people anyway.
I believe there ARE people out there who want to have – gasp – a HUMAN to read about. A human who has real life experiences to talk about, who doesn’t only ever LIVE photography (because THAT’S realistic), who has real opinions and real faults.
I don’t want to be the next Jasmine Star – I want to be ME – an unpolished woman who lives (and writes about) her life AND happens to document people in a specific way with photographs.
And I don’t think that I should have to choose between one or the other.
Maybe I’m wrong about all of this…but I have the hunch I’m not.
My friend Ash – who is the best and most successful blogger and copywriter I know (not to mention one of the coolest and most real) – writes a LOT about defining an edge and leveraging who you are as your biggest strength (and the one thing nobody can steal). And that drives me to follow that hunch – and to follow it recklessly.
So, here I am. I’ve finally succumbed to the desire – and, yes, the peer pressure – to write.
I can’t promise that it will always be profound, or amusing, or enjoyable.
I can’t even promise that it will be frequent.
But I can promise you this: it’ll be honest.
Because, at the end of the day? I write for me.
I write because it’s liberating.
Because it makes me a better person – the best, most healthiest version of myself.
And because, ultimately, I can’t NOT do it.
So, my word of advice to you?
From now on, be careful what you wish for.
(…And hang on for the ride.)