Working on New Skills? Look for Signs of Progress

Have you ever started a new creative hobby? Think back to some of your first accomplishments, and how that felt for you. How did that encourage you and propel you forward to keep learning more and doing more? For me and photography, all it took was a piece of paper and a little ink.

After years (read: months) of hard photography work (read: having fun learning photography), I’ve become a published photographer! First of all, I’d like to thank the little people…just kidding, no speeches.

But I have discovered that one of my photos has been published in a professional magazine. National Geographic, perhaps? Or Photography Monthly, you ask? No, a journal much more highly esteemed than those: the fall activity guide of the East Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department! Yes, I know, it’s quite exciting.

Dylan's photo appearing in the Parks and Rec activity guide
My mother must be so proud.

Late last year I took  Digital Photography 101 through the Parks & Rec department (shout out to Josh Weiland of Weiland Studios for teaching). On the last day of class, the half dozen of us went outside to practice what we learned, while Josh directed us to try a few different things. Everyone else was walking around taking pictures, so just to be atypical, I fell right to the ground and found the bug’s eye view.

A small twig-like weed as seen by a bug.

Josh asked each of us to send him a few of the photos we had taken, and I had sent along this one with a couple others. Then in the middle of this summer, I get the new activity guide in the mail, browse through it, and BAM! there it is.

It’s about the coolest thing for me to get a picture out there where other people have (probably) seen it, even just in a local paper. Something I’ve done was considered good enough to encourage other people to learn more about photography!

So when you’re working on new skills professionally or just picking up a hobby, take each of those little landmarks as a badge of accomplishment! You’re moving forward, making progress. Let it encourage you to keep going toward even greater goals.