The rut

Ch'ng Yaohong of Asian Photography Blog writes: "I feel that I’ve walked into a mental block. So I’m wondering how do I get out of the rut and back into the game?"

I've been there and it is a difficult place to be. It took me three long years before I broke through mine. Financial stress was the culprit. Business fell sharply after 9/11 and I was constantly nervous about not having enough money to pay for the next month's bills. It consumed my life and it left me exhausted. My debt kept growing and as much as I wanted to continue on my current direction, my younger sister's voice of reason got through my stubbornness. Failure was a hard pill to swallow and I was depressed for quite sometime. Once I was done feeling sorry for myself, I got my act together and reversed course. I had two goals in mind: one was to climb out of debt and the other was to find that creative spark again.

I took on a full time job to stabilize my financial situation. Once the stress and chaos was replaced by calm, I felt I was ready to take pictures again. I started by having a camera with me at all times. I had to shut off the inner critique in my head, stripped away any expectations and gave myself permission to have fun and to make mistakes. It wasn’t always easy and it required discipline and resilience. I had my moments of despair but I refused to let it go for long periods of time. With enough persistence, I succeeded. I felt a vision gradually emerging. My confidence grew and before I knew it, project ideas and creative inspiration began to flow.

I finished paying my business debt over a year ago. It was a long and hard journey but it was worth it. Although I initially thought of this as a setback, I am glad I made the decision to move in this direction. I knew deep inside that it was the right thing to do. I could not see myself moving forward in life without addressing this issue. I am so thankful that wonderful opportunities have come my way this year and I am excited about what is ahead of me.