I know everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, and some have been more affected than others. In fact, I’ve been reluctant to express how the pandemic impacted me because I know that on the spectrum of struggles there are people out there who have it much worse. However, regardless of where anyone is in the spectrum, it’s important to acknowledge that there is a connection between current events and our emotional health. As a dear friend once told me, “Pain is not a competition.”
Since we are in the midst of unprecedented times, I’ve had to completely rework my timeline and strategy for my projects. Most of my freelance work has been on hold because people aren’t hosting or attending large events. This means that I have had to reevaluate my budget for publishing, marketing, and advertising. Since I’ve had a career in the arts since I was eighteen, I understand that uncertainty comes with the territory and being able to adapt is crucial. For me, this means exploring new ways to create content and generate revenue.
I’m still in the process of figuring it out, but I’ve made changes to my workflow and the type of projects that I want to finish this year. I went back to writing fiction, and I’m hopeful that I will have a solid draft of my first short story collection by the end of this year. I do plan on finishing projects that I had been working on before the pandemic, but it’s important for me to keep the momentum in self-publishing and if that means moving things around to accomplish that, then so be it.
When the shutdown first began, I suffered many panic attacks. I’m one of those people that wants to plan ahead, but this time no one could guess what was going to happen. I was just getting ready to start working on my third photography book, but now I had to change directions. At first I was pretty upset. Postponing my third project wasn’t my only loss either. The business that I co-own with my parents was also drastically reduced. Change is hard, but sometimes it pushes us in a direction that we wouldn’t have otherwise explored. In fact, if my novel hadn’t been rejected, I wouldn’t have published Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits, which has won multiple awards in Photography and Pop Culture.
Obviously, I would prefer to have a better idea of what the future will look like. Who wouldn’t? I can make plans, but, especially now, I have to learn how to balance planning while also being flexible. There is an expression from the Hopi Elders that I try to remember when major changes have affected my life: The river is raging, and those who cling to the shores will be torn apart. Life isn’t a smooth ride. It’s bumpy, challenging, and quite scary at times. However, if you can just let go and let life take you where you’re supposed to go, you may just find the direction you were meant to take.