The Hard Work of Creative Freedom

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Creative freedom doesn’t magically just happen. It takes long hours of learning, trial and error, boring stuff like tracking your finances and admin jobs, and avoiding distractions.

I was gone for a long time and a lot of that was because my creative freedom was no longer free: it was trapped.

Creative Freedom Takes Discipline and Technique

Freedom isn’t free. It’s work and a sum total of what you put into it. I still remember a quote from one of my planners a long time ago. It was hard to find again but I believe this is it:

Freedom to a dancer means discipline. That is what technique is for – liberation.

Martha Graham

A dancer would not be able to contort themselves or leap as high if they didn’t spend most of the time stretching, doing bar exercises, and going through a daily grind of practice. They would injure themselves. It would be physically impossible to attain that liberation of movement that looks so effortless.

The quote has stuck with me over the years because it’s an excellent life lesson.

Finding Creative Freedom in Recipe Creation Through Restrictions

After I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I tried going on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It’s a grain, gluten, lactose, refined sugar, and soy free diet. It also excludes most canned and processed vegetables, meats, and products, some legumes, and starchy tubers.

As a diet, it was very restrictive but that led me to learn a lot about cooking and baking. And because of those restrictions I attained a cooking and baking freedom that I had never experienced before. Because of the knowledge and techniques I obtained, I was able to divert from recipes and create my own.

But as the years passed, and I abandoned the diet, I kept relying on what I had already learned in that renaissance. And my lack of knowledge finally caught up with me.

I wasn’t only struggling with digesting food from November-January but also with a lack of inspiration and innovation in my cooking and baking.

Gaining More Knowledge and Technique to Attain Creative Freedom

Cooking and Baking

Finding the balance between consuming content and creating content is hard. Creating a recipe that works usually takes more than one try. Making recipes from other bloggers, magazines, and cookbooks on top of that is a lot of food, groceries, and time.

But it really is necessary for keeping your knowledge and skills honed and up to date. I neglected that and now am trying to actively increase my cooking and baking knowledge by making recipes from other people.

I’m also reading Samin Nosrat’s, “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” which is excellent. It’s all about foundations and techniques, which will help me attain more freedom in recipe creation.

Photography

In addition to my cooking and baking slump, I’ve felt like my photography was floundering for a while. Everything from my editing techniques, photography skills, workflow, pitching, client interaction and other business aspects were stagnant.

One of the liberating aspects of tracking your finances is realizing that spending money on your business is possible.

For the first time, I invested my time and money into courses from other professional food photographers:

  • Restaurant Foodtography School from Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery and Foodtography School
  • Lightroom Magic from Rachel Korinek of Two Loves Studio
  • Food Photography Pro from Rachel Korinek of Two Loves Studio

So even though all was quiet on the blog and in the kitchen, I was doing work that will help me improve as a food photographer and blogger.

Creative Freedom Takes Time

I think most people who don’t rely on their creativity as income believe that it just magically happens. But as I’ve outlined above, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

Social media marketing is the face of the finished product. And it’s an important part of being a freelance creative but it’s also a major distraction. It can lead to a lot of not very nice feelings about yourself and it’s very easy to spend too much time online not doing anything productive.

Avoiding distractions is one of the primary reasons I was gone so long. I needed to do some learning, create a food photography portfolio website, get better and faster at pitching to clients, complete the jobs I was landing, and make a business plan for this year.

And I couldn’t do that when I was trying to create content for the blog, clean my email inbox, fill up my Tailwind queue, and schedule posts to Facebook and Twitter.

By stepping away for a while, I was able to focus on my goals and get some action plans set up.

Blog Content Update

I’m changing things up a little bit on the blog! I’ll be keeping the Health Updates for if I ever actually need to update everyone on some major health issues.

But I’ll be adding:

  • Travel Stories for whenever I have cool places and experiences to share with you
  • Health Stories for writing about general health topics that most people experience (work/life balance, anxiety, managing stress, etc.)

If any of you have any content suggestions (recipes you would like to see, what kind of travel content you would enjoy, health topics you would like to read about etc.), please let me know!

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