On Monday at WPPI to close out our Platform talk at one of the largest photography conferences in the world, I asked my dear friend Hannah Brencher (the founder of The World Needs More Love Letters Movement) to write a love letter to our industry…and to every photographer sitting at home alone behind their computers knee-deep in the struggle and thinking about giving up. If you find this letter, this letter is for you.
You and I have never met but this is a love letter. Yes, a love letter. Or maybe we should call it a “you’re doing better than you think you are doing” letter. A “keep going” letter. Because let’s face it, we all need a “keep going” letter in our possession for the harder days & weeks & months that come upon us like heavy blankets. We all need that sweet, solemn reminder every once in a while that you’ve got this. It’s not always going to look this way. So just. keep. going.
When your heart hurts. When the shoe doesn’t fit. When the words seem all wrong. When the door slams. When the music cuts. When you forget the words. When you stumble. And fall. And trip. And mess up. Just keep going.
We live in a world that tells us the point is to be on fire. To always be pushing and striving to become the next best thing. We live in a world that measures numbers and analytics. We live in a world that can sometimes make us feel like we are the sum of our Facebook likes and our Instagram hearts and whoever comments on our blog on a Monday morning. In this sort of world, it’s no wonder why we all need a “keep going” letter every once in a while.
Here’s the thing the world doesn’t talk about: how hard you’re trying. How much you’re pushing. The sleepless nights. The mornings where you are up before the sun to just try to slash out every little thing on your to do list. The world doesn’t talk about the two jobs on top of photography that you are working. The late hours spent editing. The times when you wonder if this whole thing is worth it. You’re thinking to yourself that you could just quit. Right now. You could quit and throw in the towel and call it a day. And maybe no one would even flinch. But here’s a secret: the world will talk endlessly about fear and failure and giving up but no one might ever turn their head, look you straight in the eye, and ask you how heartbroken you would be if you didn’t just keep going.
So this is me telling you– on this morning or afternoon or evening– that you need to keep going. Keep pushing. Keep pressing. Keep enduring the tears and the long hours and the moments of doubt and fear and frustration. Because…it is worth it. All of these things are stacking up and making you into a different person. It’s not even about the photography all of the time, it’s the fact that you are becoming different with every sacrifice you make for a dream that burns bright and real inside of you. So keep going. Because someone believes in you. And guess what, you believe in yourself too– whether it’s been a long time you said it out loud or not. At one point, you believed in yourself enough to start. And that’s what led you here.
So just take another step forward today. Another baby step. This whole journey is made up of baby steps. And one day all of them will be worth it. You and I will look back and laugh and think, “Remember that time we ugly cried in the MGM ballroom? I am so glad we stuck with it.”
So stick with it. Cheer others on. Screw the comparison and just keep going. Celebrate the victories. Celebrate the failures. You’re doing okay. This is all a part of who you are becoming. It’s all progress– every step forward and every skip backwards. It’s all led you to this moment. So today be exactly where your feet are. Breathe. And just take one more step. Because at the end of the day this much is true….
you’re here, you’re here, you’re here. And you are doing just fine.
**Hannah’s first book, If You Find This Letter, is officially OUT this month & trust me when I say you NEED to grab yourself a copy!!