April 23, 2015

Out of Focus by Lynn J Simpson

"I challenge you not to hit the Delete button," my friend Richard said, leaning across the table. Glancing at my five other dinner friends, I could see them nodding in agreement. I looked down at the napkin laid neatly across my lap, white and blank, like the templates of my word programs. Not even a speck of a crumb.

I'd just been lamenting to my friends that I had writers block since mid-March. Since the day I decided to do an entry on my photography blog stating that I would be taking a break from posting photos as I needed to focus on my writing, I couldn't seem to keep words on a page, hitting the backspace button faster than I could type. Ha! Stopped shooting pictures and my writing stopped too, like a lens cap does to a camera. The picture was just not getting through.

I must confess though, I was beginning to get very critical of my photography. My pictures did not
seem to be as sharp as I wanted them to be, the clarity and depth of field out of reach of what my mind saw and what actually showed on my computer screen. So I would play with the tools to sharpen, to balance the colours, to crop and scale. And then have a picture quite different than the one I actually took. Good enough, I'd think, and post to the blog.

But feeling utterly disappointed with myself.

Yet the comments came. Comments on how I will be missed, that my photography was 'inspiring' and 'full of talent.' And how my words following each post that brought comfort and encouragement would be missed too.

Inspiring even though completely different than what my mind saw, what my critic said it needed to be, to be worth publishing.

Maybe it is time to take that lens cap off and let the picture lead itself, instead of me getting in the way.

And maybe it is time, like my friend Richard advised, to stop hitting the Delete key, and just let the writing flow. To get out of my own way and just let it be. And maybe, just maybe the first few shots at writing again will be out of focus in places. But that is okay.

'Cause I have the tools to bring it into focus again.


  1. This is such a wonderful demonstration of how writing is so closely tied to the other arts. Often one feeds the other. Nice photo, too, by the way!

  2. I'm with you when it comes to getting out of the way and letting the creative side of us flow. God can't lead if we're tugging in another direction! Great post, Lynn.

  3. I think most of us can identify with your going through a super-critical period, so we can appreciate what you're saying and what you're going through. You give us a good conclusion when you explain that you are going to take the lens cap off your camera and quit hitting the delete button and let your work flow. Although he need to edit and rewrite and try for our best shots, our judgment can skewed and out-of-focus. That's when it helps to have writing or photography colleagues to give us honest feedback and encouragement as well. Are you part of a writing and/or photography group, Lynn.

  4. Yes-great picture! I connected with - 'the need to get out of my way' frequently in the last few months. And interesting how our creativity needs to be fed from different streams, to be well watered. Thanks for the pos

  5. Anonymous2:32 pm GMT-7

    Thank you for your comments! At this present time I do not belong to a writers or photography group but I am looking into both! Connecting with others is also so important to an author's (and photographers) life!

  6. I love your thoughts about just letting go; "taking the the lens cap off and letting the picture lead itself." It's so true that we often frame everything in such a way that we create restrictive boundaries. Way to go Lynn! Just go with the flow!

  7. "Maybe it is time to take that lens cap off and let the picture lead itself, instead of me getting in the way."--love that! This is a very motivating piece Lynn.

  8. I know what you're talking about Lynn--hitting the delete button faster that you can type. But I think you've given yourself good advice: just write. Sometimes that's what it takes to get out of the slump. A good reminder for us all. Thanks.


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