Analysis Paralysis – The Photographer's Conundrum

PlantonDune, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

You might be wondering why you have not heard about all the great new shows I’m in. About how I’m showing my work over here or how this wonderful gallery has just dropped everything it was ever intending upon doing and is now showing my work. You might be wondering that, of course you probably aren’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway. I’m going to tell you what’s happening as of late in an attempt at helping you out, in case you ever get stuck in the same sort of a funk that I’m in right now too.

I’ve come down with what appears to be a case of analysis paralysis. I’ve started over thinking every entry I send out. It’s like I get all set to send some work out, I sit down at the computer, and I think to myself, “it’s not good enough. You can do better.”

Yesterday, I had all of these plans. I was going to come home from work, pop a frozen pizza into the oven so I did not have to cook, and start sending work out. I didn’t. Instead, I started gathering work to send out and I sat at my computer thinking over and over again, “this isn’t good enough. No. No, I don’t like that. This won’t do. Oh, that will never fly.” It was like a broken record stuck on the track of “No!” it was getting louder and the neighbors were not about to turn down that stereo anytime soon. It was annoying. It was maddening. I felt like some kind of crazy artist trapped in a cage about to cutoff my ear and storm off, leaving a bonfire of all my so-called work behind in my wake.

No, I’m not stupid. I know I’ve sent work out before and I’ll probably sent it out again. I know there will be rejections and, heck, I’ll probably get into some cool stuff too. So, why am I doing this? Why am I beating myself up about this now, at this point in my life?

I think I’m just not satisfied with my work.

I think I am feeling the need to push myself further. I feel like I’ve reached a sort of “hump” and I can’t get over it. Like I’m stuck in a rut of some kind. Ok, maybe not a complete rut, I mean, I like some of the work that I’m doing, but it just seems like it’s not enough. I want bigger, better, faster, badder, louder, more in-your-face, or whatever kind of work. I want to drag myself kicking and screaming to the next level kind of work, instead of hanging out down here, with the riff raff. I just somehow want to turn it up a notch and the knob is stuck. It’s like I’m on a plateau, maybe high mesa of some kind. I know where I am, and I know I’m not at the bottom but yet, somehow, the top seems so out of reach. Help!

Now, I’m sure this conundrum will work itself out. In fact, this morning, I got up early, got down to business, made a new set of stuff that I actually like (you’re looking at one of the pieces-it’s a new black and white textural series) and I’m almost happy with it. I say that very tentatively, because, well “happy” is a loose word with me these days. I guess I’m “ok” with it and leave it at that. But, you know, getting there, baby steps and all. Slow acceptance over time I guess is what I need right now.

Did you ever feel this way? Ever get stuck like this and don’t know how to get out of it? Do you sometimes feel like you’re in your own way, like you can’t move out of your own shadow? Like the whole world is moving faster than you and you just can’t seem to settle in and find your groove? Yeah, I’m there now.

I’m hoping that I’ll just break free from these chains and, maybe even at some point, something completely new and different will emerge. Until then, I guess I’ll have to just make the most of being stuck on my own little high mesa.

Until next time…



  1. mythopolis
    October 13, 2010 / 5:15 pm

    Hmmmm…I used to get frustrated because sometimes I am on a roll with my ideas, and then all of a sudden I could beat on my head with a brick and nothing would come out. Now, I am inclined to think that it is a kind of cycle. You can produce for awhile, then, you have to back off, get a way from it….just soak stuff in for awhile. Then your motor gets cranked up again…some kind of incubation/creation yin yang thing…Anyway, that is how I look at it.

  2. Carol
    October 14, 2010 / 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the advice, Mythopolis. I am hoping the weather has something to do with it. We've had a hard allergy season this fall and my heads literally been "stuffed" for about a week. It's making me want to just curl up and do nothing for a while, so maybe that's it?

    Here's hope it just goes away though.

  3. mythopolis
    October 17, 2010 / 9:26 pm

    Yeh, well, just kick back with a box of kleenex and watch a few flicks. It all comes back around in awhile.

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