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Photo Credit: Jeremy Holder · The Sentry

Hello Fear

You know what’s really weird? Being a human who gets paid for the output of their creative brain for a business’ needs. 

Let me be specific: I am afraid that every time I go to shoot something for a paid assignment, the muse will desert me (or some such equally self-dramatizing thing). So much so, I think about that instead of all the practice I’ve put into learning the craft and best practices of photography. 

But I still have to do it because otherwise I’m screwed and/or will let people down and/or won’t get paid. 

I’ve learned other coping mechanisms, like making a list of the most important shots and scouting the location beforehand whenever possible. And then I just do the thing.

I stop overthinking, and I just think about how to frame a shot or how best to communicate the subject or what I should include of the foreground and background. (This is often referred to as a state of “flow.” When our minds have just enough feedback while making things but aren’t consciously vocalizing thoughts. Research exists to argue that this is actually our happiest state.)

Being a nerd, sometimes I remember the Bene Gesserit litany against fear from “Dune” (not when I’m really really scared… I’m not that much of a nerd).

It reads: I must not fear / Fear is the mind-killer / Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration / I will face my fear / I will permit it to pass over me and through me / And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path / Where the fear has gone there will be nothing / Only I will remain.

I can’t say it’s a magic cure, but it’s certainly interesting to think about. And if it gets your mind out of the tiny dark room that is fear, then it’s working.

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