At 16, I used my first paycheck to buy an SLR. What I considered then to be a very random purchase, now becomes in many ways the heart and soul of all my hopes, dreams and even fears. The last word "fear" is something a lot of people don't understand when it comes to Photography, but if you are like me, and fully invested in your business (or any other lifelong dream) it is terrifying.
At almost every step of my journey I feel fear, topping that list of fears rears the ugly head of inadequacy, self-doubt, and . Every night I have the option of stuffing my face in a pillow and screaming "Enough!", then opting to pursue lifelong sleep (so tempting!).
One of the best decisions I've ever made in my career is purchasing the book "Art & Fear" by Bayles and Orland. I'd say it is right up to par with Jasmine Star's "Restart" series. Money cannot buy you your self-confidence (okay.. I guess this is $10 bucks, but who gives right?)
Simple sayings that got me through:
1: "fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work, while fears about your reception by others prevent you from doing your own work"
Are you more afraid of yourself or reception by others? This is absolutely critical in moving on because it determines your next step to action.
2: "fears that you are not a real artist causes you to undervalue your work...this tends to happen when your work isn't going that well or when happy accidents or hunches aren't happening or paying-off"
I think we've all been there, 'i'm not getting that many people to book me... should I charge less?' or 'I mustn't be all that good if things aren't going the way I intended them to' have graced my lips once or twice. Never forget you are an artist who deserves credit, respect, and compensation.
3: "there is no probably no clearer waste of psychic energy than worrying about how much talent you have"
...so stop comparing yourself! Seriously stop! If you must compare yourself, take a photograph you thought was good a year ago, and look at how far you have come!
4: "to require perfection is to invite paralysis... if you think good work is somehow synonymous with perfect work, you are headed for trouble. Art is human, error is human, ergo art is error."
Couldn't emphasize this enough! So many Photographers won't post a blog post, an image, or anything like that simply because it isn't perfect. Perfection and Refinement are different. Refine your work to look presentable, and nice. If you work to perfection, you may never have anything to show!
All of this and more in the book (buy link below). No, I don't know them, or they aren't some distant Uncle twice removed, I actually purchased this while finishing my Undergrad, and I can say it really made a difference.