First Shot

I snapped this picture earlier today while I was working on “Autumn’s Return” because of one of the stories inside the novel. Autumn gets to embark on a new social media experiment that has her completing activities inspired by thirty different people from around the world. Each challenge is based on an event that has significantly influenced that person’s life.

One of the challenges is to accept the first picture taken of you no matter what. The goal is to learn to live in the exact moment that the picture was taken. It doesn’t count when you look and redo it over and over again. The moment passes then. Let it capture who you are and what you’re doing and stop caring so much about your angle or the lighting or what other people may think of when they see the picture. And most of all, don’t avoid pictures altogether because you’re concerned about how you look.

I’ve been running on 3-4 hours of sleep for the past 3 weeks. I’m beyond exhausted and worn down, but pushing through it all to achieve my goals. What is insightful about this picture is that I don’t look the way I feel that I do, which is ragged with giant bags under my eyes. I look excited to be polishing this story and nervous as I prepare to send it off to my beta readers. Exactly as I feel when working on it. Usually, I would avoid taking any pictures when I am this tired or spend more time than the 10 seconds to snap it in choosing filters and poses that make me look best and carefully analyze each option. My goal is to no longer waste the time doing that with any picture I’m in.

What I love about writing even the most fictional of pieces is this: it brings insight into things in my own life. Do I spend too much energy on pictures caring about how things look and not enough about all the incredible emotions and memories tied into each one? Yes. After writing about this challenge, though, I plan to embrace the first shot of each picture and spend more time in the moment itself.

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