If you hang out anywhere on the Internet, you’ve probably noticed that photography and graphic design add enormously to the written content out there. There’s no denying that a beautiful image or artistically put-together graphic grabs your attention and reels you in. As a blogger, I know how important it is to engage my readers, but I have always felt like I fall short in my ability to wow you with my graphics. And that’s because, I am totally not in my element when it comes to technology.
Yup, being a blogger doesn’t mean I like computers a whole heck of a lot. I’m a writer with a soul full of messages – but they like to come out in their own way. My own way. I am always most creative away from the computer and love, love, love putting pen to paper. And lately, I’ve been putting chalk to chalkboard. I also have a calligraphy set, and practicing my lettering – just for fun – fills me with joy. I’ve known these things about me for a long time. I just forgot their importance for awhile.
And while I was forgetting, I was feeling frustrated by my attempts at using simple graphic design programs. Everyone would tell me, “Oh, it’s easy, just use (insert popular free program here).” So, I’d try that ‘super easy’ program and feel ‘super inadequate.’ I judged my work as amateur and in the end, I made myself feel like maybe I wasn’t cut out for sending messages online.
That’s an awful feeling…to know you have a voice but to feel like you can’t use it as well as someone else uses theirs.
Then last week, I got out my paper and pen to make a list of shopping items for my expedition with my friend, Salma. And of course, as soon as I sat in my studio with not even the hum of the laptop to disturb my peace (shutting the lid on it is so beautiful – I recommend it at least once a day!) I had an idea! Why not write out my list plus a few messages for my Instagram community on paper…then take a picture of the paper and post that?
So I did.
And it just felt AWESOME! I felt like I was actually getting my own art out there. I’m sure people who love using graphic design programs or are photography-buffs feel the same way about their art. (And thank God people like to take pictures because I am happy to use their creations and credit their work.) Thing is, I had been using the wrong medium – and until I figured that out – until I remembered who I really am – I felt…less than that.
So, then I got out the chalkboard and chalk I bought myself at Christmas (because I like writing motivating messages to myself on it!) and had some fun with it, too.
My sister-in-law showed me how to play with the lighting on my phone so that the message looked the way I wanted it to.
I feel like my world just opened up! I know this isn’t a novel concept for other artists. Now that I think about it, I have seen other people use art forms other than graphic design and photography to speak to the online world. I am so grateful that I figured out I can do it, too.
And the best part is, I’m motivated to try new things with this. I’m excited about picking up new skills and developing what I already have. A friend of mine told me recently she watches photography tutorials on YouTube to learn new tricks. I was like, what? For fun? But I actually spend my ‘free time’ with my interests – and that never feels like work although it may be something at which I have to practice. It’s not the work I shy away from, but I can no longer ignore that voice inside me that says, Just Be You.
Maybe something will change one day. Maybe I’ll come across a program that adds to who I am rather than detracts from it. But I’ll measure everything that comes my way against my personal ruler.
[Tweet “Authenticity is the greatest high! Just be you.”]
Does this make sense to you? What do you love to do so much that it doesn’t feel like work, although it does take time and energy? What is your art? How do you share your messages?
(I’ve been having fun on Instagram, playing games like this:)
I encourage you: if you are trying your hand at something and it ends up leaving you deflated, you may need to go at it a different way. Your way. And if you feel everything within you sigh with relief when you shift your perspective/direction/thought…you are taking one more step on your authentic path.