What are you good at? I used to know the answer to that question. I was a percussionist, and a decent one. It was who I was, and I thought it was who I would be, forever. It's funny how life tends to spit on your plans though.
Instead, I got married and popped out some kids, and that kind of put a damper on the whole musician thing for me.
I've always been a creative type, so I looked elsewhere for that outlet. I dabbled in jewelry making for a while. However, always in the background, had been photography. I got my first camera when I was a kid, and it seems I've always had one. I remember being at the zoo when I was about 10, and trying to get that perfect shot of the sea lions.
Since the musician thing has fallen by the wayside, I've gotten a lot more serious with the photography thing. Maybe even too much so. I stuck my toe in the water of selling prints, but didn't sell very many, and my ego got stung a bit. So the past few years, I've mainly just been taking pictures to take pictures. I've found any time I try to make money off of anything, it takes the fun away, so now I'm back to "amateur" status.
I can see my skills evolving over time. I look back at pictures I took 5 years ago, that at the time, I thought were the shiznit. Now looking at those same shots, I cringe.
The problem is, as I've been sucked further and further into sites like Flickr and deviantArt, my ego is once again getting the better of me. Not my ego being too big, but of it being too small. Ever the plight of the first born, I am a carrot seeker. I upload a shot I've worked hard on, dump it into some groups on Flickr, and wait. And I am hurt when no one comments on my work.
Why is that? Photography is supposed to be my hobby. It's supposed to be *fun*. I really need to get my head out of my butt and start realizing that the value in my photos isn't if so-and-so pats me on the head and says "Good job!" The value is in me capturing my creativity and life, and archiving it for the future. Some of my photos just make me happy when I look at them. I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I look at them. There is value in that. So why do I let the un-acknowledgement of the world damper it?
It's something I'm working on, and I still have a long ways to go. Hopefully someday I'll be able to just take photos, upload them, and not care at all who sees it or likes it. That is the goal. I'm just not quite there yet.