I remember back in January of 2018, thinking at the time what my New Year’s resolutions were going to be. I knew I wanted to make the most of the year and make it as successful as possible. So I began writing down things I wanted from the year. More of a goal list than anything related to a resolution, I suppose.
It went as such:
- Read More
- Travel More
- Gain 50 Newsletter Subscribers
Sell A Single Print
I figured these were as good of goals/resolutions as any and would at least set the mood for the year. I could always add on to them as time went on. However, I found myself in somewhat of a financially poor place. For lack of better words, car insurance for a college student isn’t exactly what one would call cheap. Pair that with a mentally straining first year, second semester of college – 2018 didn’t start off as well as I had hoped.
Yet I still managed to take a “camping” trip back in May – from which most of my released images come from – and have actually been really okay with only going on a single trip, with very few other weekend trips through the year. I mean, it still bites to not be out a lot, but still. Many of my outings have been walking the fields by my house as I work on a series of images of such subject matter. So long as I am still able to get out shooting, I think I will be good…for now.
It wasn’t until August or so that things began to change for the better.
I began taking myself seriously for once. I was just finishing up a full-time job and was beginning to prepare for my upcoming fall semester, this time at Kutztown University rather than Albright College. Knowing very well I didn’t want to get a job while at school – personal preference to keep focused on my studies and use my free time to work on my business – I knew I needed to really push myself and my photography. So I met with my accountant and registered myself as a sole proprietorship. Although I had not made any money off my photography at the time, simply having a piece of paper declaring myself as a true business – it validated me and gave me reason to continuously push myself.
But it wasn’t enough.
I still held a deep hatred for my work in my heart. I still had zero confidence in my art – none. Yet I continued to push myself harder every day. I looked for answers everywhere. I made expensive mistakes but learned a ton about both myself and the business of fine art. There’s still a ton to learn about both.
But something beautiful happened in November of 2018. I made my first sale. A 10x20 print of “Forest Views,” a personal favorite of mine. It was a pleasure getting the piece together, from signing and numbering the print to preparing the certificate of authenticity to handwriting a personalized thank-you note. Simply seeing the print larger than a small 5x10 was worth it alone. And again, through this process, I found myself learning.
I may not have been able to travel nearly as much as I had hoped. I may not have hit 50 newsletter subscribers. But 2018 was still successful. I read more than ever before. I sold my first print. And I began to find myself.
It’s a slow, painful process. But it’s working out. One way or another, this is going to work.