Autumn Granza is an employee at Penn Foster
As an NYIP student in the Photojournalism Course, I appreciate the convenience an online education offers. I find time to study and complete projects between a busy work schedule and home life. Rarely am I stressed over coursework and due dates, mainly because I set my own. However, I, like many others, have been lacking motivation during the pandemic. It’s been a challenge to get those creative juices flowing and really dive into art. Even my program’s project prompts have become an obstacle as I struggle to move freely and come up with ideas in this “new normal.”
However difficult it may be, I’m finding tips and tricks that help me get motivated and complete my coursework. Here are some tips that may help you, too!
Do what energizes you
Sitting there racking your brain and hoping your next big idea comes to you isn’t always the answer. For me, I’m rarely productive when I try too hard to come up with something great for a project or photo session. Taking time to unwind and do other things I enjoy is part of my creative process. When I feel particularly stressed over coursework, or work in general, I focus my energy on something else. Cooking and baking calms me and allows me to de-stress. Try your hand at a new recipe or make something delicious to enjoy with family or friends. Watercolor also relaxes my brain. While I’m not the best painter, the simple act of sitting down and creating whatever pops into my imagination always makes me feel better. If you have a hobby, spend some time embracing it. Once I’ve taken some time for myself, I go back to work with a clear, refreshed mind. Think about what gives you a sense of peace and when you’re feeling stressed step away and do what you enjoy!
Taking a walk or being in nature is a great way to clear your head and increase your creativity. Not only is walking good for your body, but it’s good for your mind too. Being present and focusing on where you are can inspire you and may be the key to your next project. Maybe a walk in your neighborhood made you notice something beautiful that you want to capture. Or a jaunt in nature may inspire you to take a direction you’ve never thought of before. Take your camera along! You never know when creativity will strike. The photo featured in this article was taken by me during a hike.
Draw inspiration from others
If there’s a photographer you admire, take a look at their work. Finding inspiration from others may boost your creativity and give you fresh new ideas. Instagram is another great place to find inspiration. For example, NYIP’s Instagram account often features students' work and may motivate you to get your photos featured. Asking for feedback is another great way people may inspire you. By asking a friend or family member what they think of a photo project idea or of your latest piece may enable you to take the constructive feedback they give and make your work even better.
Be kind to yourself
Remember to be kind to yourself. You’re furthering your education and going through a pandemic. There’s no playbook on how to do this. Do what feels right for you. If unplugging and stepping away from your coursework makes you feel better, then do it. Remember that the motivation to photograph may not always be there, and that’s okay. Take the time you need to regroup and come back to photography reenergized.