Magic Monday: Getting out of the Rut

“What about ruts? You’ll never get out of a rut by driving in the same direction as the one in which the ruts take you.

You need to jump the ruts, and that’s often a violent action – a reaction against the current direction.

So don’t keep doing more of the “same old same old” and hope it’ll yield new results.”

-David Duchemin

Anything in life is in danger of becoming a rut.  Creative endeavors seem especially at risk considering its easy to want to repeat what worked the time before.

Something snapped inside of me the end of 2010.  I had spent the entire year living in disguised panic mode, trying to suddenly adapt to being a new mother for the first time, and most of all, I assumed this incredible burden of being the sole breadwinner for my family when my husband left his job and started Grad School.  I think I got ulcers.  I sought out any ounce of photography work available to me–most of which was never blogged since it didn’t fit my personal aesthetic (no offense to reunion groups)– I was trying to feed my family.  Somewhere around fall 2010 I developed a hatred of  photography.

yes.  I just admitted that I hated photography.  Deeply.  I resented it.  I hated everything about portraiture, about the industry. I hated the thought of being hired to do basic boring work.  I hated the camera and kept it packed away during all family events, since I was tired of it. I didn’t care that the hard work brought progress and I was finally supporting my family now.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to throw it all away and just be done.

A rut?  I think I was more likely in the pit of deep dispair.

How can something incredibly fulfilling turn into something I’m practically dangerously allergic to?

A variety of things played into the tragedy.  Life imbalance, living with fear instead of faith, spending too much time online, not taking time for myself, working too hard and too much, not having time for family, having a blocked perspective in approaching shoots I wasn’t excited about, not working with the right fit of client, and yeah… did I mention fear?  Fear seemed omni-present.

The important part of the story is how things changed.  For as David DuChemin says “You’ll never get out of a rut by driving in the same direction…”.

You really can’t expect different results by doing the same thing.  Something has to change.

  • A few years earlier I got out of my rut by refusing to shoot in the same location more than once, forcing myself to always be doing something new.
  • I conquered another rut of shooting weddings and getting bored, by no longer shooting wedding days but only bridal/groomal pictures on a separate day that allowed me more creativity.

My pit of deep dispair is finding some sunshine.  I changed direction.  I’m on a new creative path with photography and finding the love again, but only because I stopped doing many of the things adding to the problem.

And the fear?  It still tries to creep in–change likes to invite it–but fear and faith cannot coexist.  And as Thomas S. Monson has said, “The future is as bright as your faith.” I’ll keep working on things that strengthen my faith, for the future is bright.  Especially on this new road.

How do you change direction?

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  In effort to not get in a rut in daily routine life, she is trying new things.  Today she made freshly squeezed orange juice for the first time ever. It seems small, but it totally changed the day.  Just imagine what could happen with a bunch of small things every day… a truly exciting life.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons , online photography classes, as well as seasonal photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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14 Responses

  1. Why is it that we can never see how deep the rut is, and where it is taking us until we get the gumption to get out of it?

    Great thoughts. We love you Brooke! We are glad that your are currently rut-less. 🙂

  2. I appreciate your candidness… I am currently getting out of such a rut myself. And I, too, have felt the pressures of being the sole bread winner to the point that I didn’t want to pick up the camera any more. Your work is one of a kind and I appreciate your example both as photographer and as a person 🙂

  3. Brooke – it is excellent news that you are no longer in a rut! This was so good for me to read becuase I feel like I’m in a rut myself, not creativity wise, but in life. Thanks for the thoughts, they were just what I needed this Monday morning!

  4. I think the internet was made for you. So one day you could have a blog and share your view points on life with people who would not have known you otherwise. Your words are gold to me 🙂

  5. Brooke, what courage you have to be honest about your past ruts. I am so glad I am not alone in the struggle of the love/hate of photography. It can be so frustrating and so enjoyable… balance is key, but sometimes I wonder if that is fiction. Thanks for the encouragement. From the bottom of my heart.

  6. Brooke – Thank you for so honestly sharing yourself with us. You’ve given me the advice I need to pull myself out of my own rut and truly go in the direction I am passionate about. Thank you for bringing me back “home” and showing me that building this business isn’t about following all of the rules and doing things by the book. It’s ok to be in a rut and find our own way out. 🙂

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