A man coming down the stairs in a train station

A Photographer and a Writer

I’d like to think of myself as someone who writes and someone who writes enough. What does that mean? Am I a writer? Yes, I am. I write. In fact, my day job involves a lot of writing, mostly code, and technical documentation but still, I write. So, am I a writer? I am a person who writes, and it does so a lot. But my writing is not what people see as the product of a writer. A writer is a person who writes novels and poetry and has books or columns published, you know what I mean. But I disagree. You don’t have to get paid as a photographer or a writer to call yourself one of those things.

I also take photographs, a lot of them. I take photos every day, sometimes a few and sometimes dozens, every day. Am I a photographer? I think I am. Do I get paid for my photography? No, I don’t. Not yet. I still have a lot to learn about photography, but I consider myself a photographer.

Our society likes differentiating people who get paid for a creative task vs. those who don’t. This has consequences. Many people are afraid to call themselves a photographer or a writer, for example, for fear of sounding ridiculous or pretentious. But why? If you take photos often, if it’s part of your life, you are a photographer. If you write anything, and you do it often, then you are also a writer. You might not be great at any of these things, or maybe you are superb, but that doesn’t matter. You are still those things.

Why is it important to use titles such as “Photographer” or “Writer”? I think it’s important because it makes you believe in yourself, makes you serious about your craft, and makes others think of you (professionally) as one of those things. If anyone asks, you can always clarify that you are not a “professional” writer or photographer, for example, because you are not getting paid for your work, not yet.

Labels and titles are important because people choose to give them importance, and instead of ignoring or pretending that I don’t care, I’d like to take advantage of the importance people give to these things to help me with my craft and career.

Don’t be afraid of using titles like these if you work hard and put enough time into any of these creative tasks.

Be proud of calling yourself a photographer or a writer, don’t be afraid of it. If you want people to recognize you as a photographer, a writer, or by any other title like that, then use it yourself first, and give them permission to do it too.

3 Key steps to learn anything

Get Started:

  • Be curious
    • You want to learn about photography, coding, or how to play an instrument. You are curious about something and therefore you want to learn it. Being curious is indispensable to learn anything. If you force yourself to learn something or you feel pressured to do it, you’ll have a hard time learning. Remember school…?
  • Start doing
    • Start doing. Don’t worry about not having the right item or place to start doing and learn. For example, if you want to learn about photography and don’t have a good camera, then start with your phone. If you want to learn to play guitar start with a cheap guitar, don’t convince yourself you need to have the right equipment to make it happen. Start doing something rather than waiting for the right moment or equipment to do it.
  • Stay motivated
    • After you start doing and become better at it, it might be time for you to get some equipment, like a better camera for example. Once you start seeing some results and you outgrow your initial setup, place or equipment, then it isn’t a bad idea to invest a little more on it. Keep yourself inspired and don’t stop doing.

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