On forgotten pastimes and passions

When I was in college, I used to be an avid photographer. In fact, I was an avid photographer even before I ever went to college, but during my college years is when I actually started to take it seriously enough to want to make something out of if. Something more than a hobby. I think we all come to a point in our lives when we think that the thing we love – often an artform, or a hobby – might be something more. That maybe we can make a living off of it… or dare I say it: become famous doing it. I know I’m not the first person to think like that, and I certainly won’t be the last. As long as there are brave fools foolish enough to dream impossible dreams, there will be people who’re capable of changing the world.

My crowning achievement in college, working as their photographer, was the fact that one of my images was used in their national advertising campaigns across the USA, especially in the state of Idaho:

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I believe the term snowball effect describes it the best: You start out small, have smaller successes. Your first paycheck, your first sale, your first big sale… you get the idea.

But, as time went by and I grew older – my passion for photography got shelved and more responsibilities took to the foreground. That is not to say that I don’t love photography: I do! It’s just that I haven’t had time for it recently, and if I’m being honest, I regret that. The first step to taking care of any problem is to realize that there even is a problem. Now that I know that I have regrets about not taking more photographs, I’ll take active steps to remedy it.

I think I fell into the same trap with my writing as well: I kept writing on and on and on for almost 8 years, always saying to myself that I’d publish “the next one because it’ll be better” – but no work was ever good enough. Sure enough, 8 years had passed, and I was left with nothing but unpublished works. This year, my new year’s resolution was to become a published author, no matter what. The rest is history, here I am, about to release my book to the world.

Even here, I find myself doubting myself and my writing. Is anyone going to want to read it? Is it any good? I can’t say. Only the public can decide, and that’s the scary part, isn’t it? It’s scary for any writer, I think: To put your work out there in the public’s view for it to be torn apart, and scrutinized, and for others to form opinions on it that may be less than favorable. I get it, it’s scary. But that’s life… you do anything worthwhile, there’ll be doubters, and people who would rather have you not do it, people who would rather have you not attempt it, or go all-out because God forbid you somehow succeed. A lot of those people don’t even have any ill-intent; just a sense of wanting to make sure you don’t make a mistake, essentially wanting to protect you from the big bad world.

I have this tweet pinned to the top of my Twitter profile. Why? It’s because I need a constant reminder that I’m not the first one to go through the motions of wanting to build something greater than myself. To want to escape the drudgery of the 9-5, Monday to Friday workweek. That I’m not the first, and definitely won’t be the last one, to put everything I have on the line to be able to do what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was 15… not as a side gig, or a part-time thing. But as a career. I’ve wanted to tell stories to the world before I even knew what a novelist was… win, lose, or draw; I’m not about to give up on that dream. It’s what gets me up every morning, and keeps me up late at night. It is what fuels my drive, and my desire to do better at my writing, so giving up is not an option.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Everyone has passions. Something that they feel a calling to be able to contribute to this world. It could be music, writing, art, science, architecture, [insert occupation here]. Only YOU can be the best judge of that. It’s not the same for everyone, and that’s okay. Just don’t let the white noise of this often self-obsessed world drown out the whispers of your beautiful heart.

Until next time.

Stay safe out there!

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