Pushing Through Creative Ruts When Burdened With Chronic Illness | by Teri Willis
Two weeks had gone by without me picking up my camera. I had been spending my days consumed by thoughts of “What is wrong with my body? When will this pain end?” I prayed for just one day where I felt normal again but every day I woke up in pain and a gray cloud immediately covered any chance at a positive thought. I began spending so much time going from specialist to specialist, trying to find a diagnosis for what I was going through. It’s extremely difficult to make yourself feel creative when you have so much heaviness in your day to day, which is why I lost my desire to photograph or create anything.
I’m sure every creative has found themselves in a rut at some point. However, I was losing my passion for nearly everything, and the days just seemed to all run together. Then one day, as I was sitting in our hallway watching my children play, I noticed the sunlight casting a glow over my sons head; I could see every stray reddish-brown strand and it was beautiful. I jumped up and ran to grab my camera. As I sat there taking shots of them playing from all different angles, I remembered my “why'.
That moment sparked something inside of me that reminded me of all the beautiful things around me I had been overlooking. I slowly came out of, not just my creative rut, but the cycle of depressive thoughts as well.
When you’re going through trials or rough times, try to remember why you started your creative journey in the first place. When I first got serious about photography it was because documenting my daily life with my children and marking their growth brought me so much joy.
One thing that helped me get back into shooting daily was keeping my camera nearby at all times. I now leave my camera sitting out on a table so it is within arms reach whenever there’s a moment I want to document. I also started making a point to get in the frame with my children. Even if we were stuck in the house because of bad weather or me not feeling well, there was still the connection we share with each other to be documented.
Most importantly, shoot what makes you feel. Shoot what you want to remember. Whether it be the way the sunlight settled upon a flower or a crazy face your child always makes. For those times in your life where you struggle to even get out of bed - those are the things that will help you pull through, every single time.