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  • Tyler Sirman

(Not) Doing it for the Clicks

Well-brewed thoughts into digging back into passions, managing yourself during these times.

Like many others, I have had a lot of time for reflection. On self, on business, on priorities…the list goes on. Like other artists, my livelihood suffered a brutal blow in April. I didn’t let it sink in immediately because the thought of entirely having to shift gears away from work/passion to simply stay afloat terrified me. I’ve been lucky enough to be finding work in my field since then – but the thought still scares me. And for those in the arts that have been left without live shows, crowds, markets, and so many other venues to express themselves and make a living, I recognize that reality is filled with pain and reinvention, innovation and failures.

This is not about dwelling on what has changed. This is about reigniting that spark that led you here. SO: for those artists…businesses still reading – take these notes of one’s (albeit, short thus far) journey through those emotions and the reality of today.

When everything happened, I hit pause. Contracts, plans, and more snapped away. I went through a week of…grieving and deep breaths. The fire I had been stoking for months on end was extinguished. The reality for me was that I could’ve sat back and taken advantage of emergency relief benefits. But my entrepreneur cap went on, and it was back to rebuilding work as I knew it. It was a pivotal time. And as I mentioned, I didn’t fully process that my fire had become wet coals. Perhaps to my benefit. I leaned on an old relationship and was able to find some work in an alternate field to get me through that time. But it wasn’t the luck that I’m going to be focusing on – it was the mindset I had at the time.

I was ready to change everything. Ready to move on. To do anything to just keep going. And had I pursued that path, I wouldn’t be writing this. I didn’t pursue that path. I forced myself to dig back into WHY I do the work I do. What sparked my passion before all this? What drove me into this field? For me, that meant going back to taking pictures for fun. Because that’s where it started for me…to take better pictures and capture memories more accurately. I picked up a film camera to force me to focus my energy into 36 frames per roll. Focus my re-ignition strategy to something tangible. And I’ll be the first to admit that it worked. I was excited to go out and take pictures again. I was challenged to not shoot too many, and really think through everything I’ve learned in the art.

And as you’ll see, the result is quite pretty. But beyond the images is a deeper feeling of enjoyment, of pride in the art, in the practice. And it took a pandemic to get me back there. SO, the first lesson I took away from this enlightenment is to go back to your roots sometimes. The WHY in your world. And then find a way to express that WHY in a wholesome, self-seeking way that benefits YOU, without removing from others. What you get out of it is pure enjoyment.

Realistically, this journey of self does not pay the bills. These days, that is a hard realization, and makes the journey that much harder to justify. But what comes next is your decision. If your journey sparks joy the way it did for me, you’ve probably rediscovered a gift that you can ultimately SELL. For me, that’s easy, I’d gladly sell my prints to any interested parties, and I will probably start pursuing that once I have a wide enough selection to shop from.

For you, did that rediscovery create something entirely new that could take your business in a different direction? Did it bring you a breath of fresh air? If not, that’s ok! The best part about this “exercise” is that the side-effect is happiness and joy in a passion. But the reality is that if you can monetize it, or let it take your business in a new direction, then you’re ahead of where you were before, and for me, had circumstances been different, that could’ve been my saving grace.

There is joy out there, and it’s sitting closer than you think. The hinge is your ability to recognize that today’s economic issues are not going to be solved by wishing this thing away, but instead on your capability to dig back in and reinvent, rediscover, and shift. That said, I really do need to validate how you’re feeling…scared, alone, afraid, angry, frustrated, sad…the list goes on. If you need to navigate those emotions before you push forward, please reach out to someone. There are so many resources for support, and there is a community around you ready to talk. If you’re struggling, you are not alone.

This is not about becoming a hero for yourself. This is about reigniting a fire you started once, but this time with new purpose.


I'll be back to writing on a normal basis eventually. Until then, I'll continue brewing. I wanted to share this experience now, in hopes that the right person finds it.

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