A funny thing keeps happening. Folks who are now quarantined are reaching out. That is not surprising. Many of these folks are new to quarantine. I am not. Sure, during normal times I can go when I please but I often choose not to. I like it here. I like it alone. I am productive. I am focused. But what I am not is idle. Not by a long, long, long shot. Nor am I sitting around with nothing to do.
But these are not normal times. These are atypical times. And if you aren’t used to working alone, working from home and aren’t totally understanding of just what it takes, or just what is possible, then let me explain. I have produced more content in the last week than at any point in my entire Blurb career. True story. Not to mention I spend hours on the phone each day working with various teams, doing conference calls, planning, working on options A, B, and C for the next eight weeks.
I’ve done six films, dozens of blog posts for this site, Blurb, MagCloud, etc. I’ve done one YouTube Live with another scheduled for later this week. I’ve done interviews, several podcasts and managed to get down a book or two. I’ve also begun learning two new pieces of software that might help me produce content more efficiently and I’ve also begun learning more about Adobe Premiere by doing online tutorials. I have zero time for play. The only thing I am able to do is either yoga or a short walk each day. That’s it. But man do I love this protocol. Anytime I can check a box I feel like I’ve done something that might have impact. Or not, but it’s still fun.
I am fully strapped down here. I spent all morning shooting footage for the film I need to produce by Wednesday. I wrote the script at 6 AM, shot footage for an hour and a half, culled my archive for more footage and am about to connect to my second hour-long call of the day. And there’s more later.
I’m not complaining just explaining what life in quarantine is like. These are strange times that require stranger protocols. Some folks seem confused I’d be working at all. Strange. But in some ways, our situation has eliminated some of the distractions that come with freedom.
I run into a fair number of people who ask me about how to become a professional photographer. I ask them “Why would you want to do that to yourself, at this point?” I feel the vast majority of people out there would be far happier, far more productive if they didn’t work as professionals. But those who persist I always say the same thing. “You have to want it more than you think you do.” What others see as a sacrifice is going to be your Tuesday, and I think our time of quarantine is, only in some ways, foreshadowing to what it’s like to work as an artist, writer, photographer, etc.
It’s all in. Otherwise, it won’t work. Unless you are rich then skip to the next post.
Great post, Milnor. I shared it my entire office. You’ll be hearing from them soon. :o)
I’ll be waiting…
You are demonstrating a perfect version of the Stoic principle “Amor Fati” or love your fate. It’s a matter of seeing the state your in and asking “How can I thrive in this state?” In other words don’t waste time mourning your old reality, enhance and maximize your new one. You words are wise.
Ya, just want to leave it better than I found it. But, I’ve been here part time for thirteen years and was coming here even back when I was a kid but now that I’m full time I want to do more.
Thank you for sharing this Dan. I have a friend who used to do graphic design work at a retail-type store. He did brochures, pamphlets, etc. and sort of enjoyed it but there was clearly a repetition that was going to eventually block his creativity. As time went on, a regular client starting coming specifically to him for a civil engineering company and my friend found that area really interesting. Eventually, he became an employee of that company handling their graphic design needs but became more and more involved in the urban planning aspects. The point is that instead of thinking that a single skill (graphic design) was his “career”, he found a way to build a career that not only utilizes that original skill but also allows him to build other skills. And in an area that genuinely interests him. I think the same thing is true of photography. If we starting thinking of “photography” as a singular thing, we get stuck. It is a skill, a tool. And it is the variety of skills, or tools, that we build throughout life that allow us to thrive in areas where we apply those skills.
Precisely. It’s a small part of a larger conversation. And I think it’s a wonderful part. When people ask me about influence they are often looking for a specific style answer. When I say “Earth’s microgravity which helps predict volcanoes,” they don’t seem to get it. But it’s true. All this stuff, science, math, art, nature are all equal players.