A New Beginning

It’s the beginning of the new year, and it’s time to start working on those New Year’s resolutions we made, or what? No need to postpone all those good deeds we have planned for ourselves to the last week when the year is no longer new. Let’s start now. No?

I am actually a little ambivalent to those New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s good to evaluate myself and my doings ones every so often, but somehow those New Year’s resolutions end up being grand words and eventually no content at all. I still do them and I still try to make them happen. But more to the point I think it is to continuously work on our projects, to continuously challenge ourselves, and to continuously do the work we need to in our creative sphere.

One thing I am going to do this year is fight the resistance that always challenges my creativity. It’s that resistance within us that makes it so hard to do what we actually want to do. Because of self-doubt, procrastination, distractions, ego, narcissism or whatever it is that makes us believe what we want do cannot be done. The writer Steven Pressfield writes about it in his books The War of Art and Do The Work. He writes that our enemy is all the excuse we come up with, alibis, self-justifications and all the millions reasons why we can’t do what know we need to do.

We rely too much on our rational thinking, which makes us believe that those grand ideas cannot become true. Instead – according to Pressfield – we should more trust our intuition, be more stupid, stubborn and have more passion and blind faith in what we do. And that is what I am going to do. I am going to thrown myself onto those tasks that my rational mind, or fear or the resistance kept me from doing last year. In terms of creativity I will concentrate on three projects where I will blindly, stupidly and stubbornly get myself going. No second thoughts. I have long wanted to photograph my family, do it as a proper project. Not the close family I see every day, but those further out, by spending a whole day with each of them while photographing them. Secondly I want to edit the novel that I did long time ago but then thought was nothing but plain bullshit. I will put my rational mind aside and just make it the way I want it to be. And finally I am going to get my pictures exhibited somewhere. I started the process last year, but got caught up in too much research and lost the courage. No more! Time go let go of everything and just do it.

Happy New Year to you all!

PS. I am still in Honduras. The picture here is from the neighbour country Guatemala taken during Semana Santa in Antigua.


38 thoughts on “A New Beginning

  1. Letting go of everything that makes us NOT do our creative passion is a very difficult thing indeed. We are driven by the need to make a living, succeed, be accepted…..you fill in the blank. There are as many reasons for not doing as there are for doing. It’s so important that we try at least…if nothing else we create the momentum to keep going. A creative life will never be easy…it’s a given. That’s why those who are called will always be challenged in some way. It’s why we do it…the challenge and the desire. Thanks for sharing……

  2. You go Otto! I love your awesome words…”trust our intuition, BE MORE STUPID (I really love that!!) stubborn, (oh yah!) …have more passion and blind FAITH…
    Mantra for 2012! Thanks!

  3. Isn’t it interesting how self-confidence erodes! I so admire your photography and to hear that you lost the nerve to go forward with an exhibition is a surprise…and yet that’s exactly what we do to our dreams, isn’t it! That’s your point…let go and DO it without the rational thought that limits us to thinking about statistical success. It’s the joy of the ride anyway, not always how we arrive. I can’t wait to see what you do with your goals this year. I’m glad you share so openly. Happy New Year, Otto, and I’m going to take your challenge and make it mine, too! Debra

  4. Any day is good to start on new projects and set up deadlines, not just because the calendar says so. 🙂 hee, hee, hee, hee

    Wishing you a wonderful 2012!

  5. The run up to Christmas, and the days that followed, I have been out of touch with my camera, I don’t know the reason for this, I just kept hitting a blind spot, from within my head, not the camera.
    My resolution is get a grip on myself, restart my minds engine.
    A beautiful post Otto, thank you.
    Happy New Year to you.

  6. I discovered a quote over Christmas by Cecil B deMille: ‘Creativitiy is a drug I cannot live without’. That applies to Photography just as much as to any other Creative medium. Trying to remain sane in an increasingly insane world is helped by doing something creative that is inspiring. Good luck with your projects. I too have a Novel half finished that sits on the hard drive – I suspect there are a lot of us out there in a similar situation!

  7. Self-doubt is really something annoying indeed. I get it all the time mostly because of my academic work, but it has also kept me from doing many other things. For the academic work I always end up trying the impossible, pretending that I can do something already although I have no clue really. In the end you have to follow up on your bold claims and just do it … It’s amazing what we can all do, really, if it needs to be done. In the end we can all do what we set our minds to, if we just try hard enough.

  8. I think most of us have self doubts. I try hard NOT to make New Year resolutions, because I know that by the next day, I will have forgotten them. (I have a short-term memory problem). In my case, I wake up in the morning, look at the weather and if my energy reserves and chronic pain levels are ok, I plan where I’ll head off to that afternoon (with my camera in hand).
    I’m surprised such a creative, inspiring person such as yourself has doubts about doing an exhibition – it’s sure to be a success, so why postphone the inevitable.
    Sit down tonight and make a list of the when, where, how, what and ………just do it.
    (Reflect on all the great things you’ve done in the past – no matter how small – and you’ll realize how easy it will be to do something in the future).

  9. Interesting that your photo is of penitents —
    A rather different nuance of New Year’s resolutions? It startled me into thinking that perhaps most people’s New Year’s resolutions are really statements of penitence, all the things they didn’t do (and by suggestion the trivial or foolish or destructive things they did).

    What would it feel like instead to look back over the year and envision all the successes and the energies and momentum gathering already on the ocean of our lives from the past year, ready to roar back even stronger in 2012?
    I see you there poised in the wave, courageous surfer!

  10. Beautiful said Otto, my new year’s resolutions are based on your post “Never Rest” and a phrase I was told Richard Avedon always said to his students: in photography you’ll get no success if you do not use the three E process: E as Enthusiasm, E as Energy, E as Emotion. And I think this applies not only to photography. Wish you a lot of success and emotion in 2012.

  11. These are good thoughts and ideas to ponder at the start of a new year. I wish you well as you move forward on your three projects or goals. I’m looking forward to hearing more about them as the year unfolds. Your family photography project sounds especially intriguing.

  12. Thanks for the inspiring post, Otto. At the end of the year I submitted a book I self-published in 2010 to a university press. Haven’t heard anything, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s getting easier to step out of my comfort zone, and your blog is fitting me with new SHOES.


  13. Glad to read your post… Yes, it’s been a while! With winter colds and such, it’s been hard to keep up. I hear you about your 2012 plans and I’m planning to do more offline too. Best wishes!
    ♥Happy ♥New ♥Year ♥To ♥You! 🙂

  14. Beautifully written Munchow! An equally lovely photo as well. I love the title of your post, “New Beginnings.” It reflects your sense of hope and optimism for the New Year. After all, isn’t that what dreams are made of? Without it, our life endeavors would simply be a fading thought that never comes to fruition. No need to rationalize about it. Just let our intuition and passion guide us. Now that sounds like a plan to me! Happy New Year! 🙂

  15. Happy New Year, dear Otto. It was one of beautiful things that I have met with you and with your beautiful photography in 2011… I wish you all the best for this New Year. Thank you, with my love, nia

  16. Beautiful Picture with intelligent words from you. I was not getting the mail, when you are posting something new in your blog. So lots of post are there in your blog for me to read. 🙂

  17. I smiled when you mentioned about making excuses to rationalize things that are not done. How many times I told that to myself. This year I will too blindly, urgently do the things I always wanted to do like going back to the tropics to visit my folks and rekindle the island mojo in me. I do wish the best for you.Can’t wait for the exhibit, the photos of your family and all that you are passionate about. I’m a fan of your work…I always learn something new every time. Wishing all the best.

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