The Week Without A Phone by Emily Margaret

Last week, my phone spontaneously died, which was very inconvenient but also fantastic at the same time.

My friends and I were having a conversation recently about the influence of social media and technology in our lives, for both the good and the bad. After being convicted by Jen Hatmaker about my instagram addiction, I set out to decrease my screen time, but there must be a law of the universe dictating that when you decrease your intended online time, you actually decrease your offline time. So when a few days later my phone broke and forced me to unplug, I did not miss the irony. Aside from the inconvenience of having to use other methods of communication (hello old-school email!) and being unable to randomly text my boyfriend cat videos (you know, the important stuff), I didn't miss my phone.

I didn't miss the constant buzz of notifications or the feeling that there was so much going on that I wasn't a part of. I wasn't thinking of about what everyone else was doing, comparing my life to theirs. I wasn't thinking of the tweets, the facebook statuses, or the instagram likes that I wasn't getting because despite the way we feel and what facebook would like us to believe, that is not the stuff that matters. What matters is the things like the relationships that I grow, the books I read, things I write, praying, my church community group, traveling, actually cleaning my room, spending time with my family, doing yoga, and using my gifts and business to help people instead of growing my own following. That is the stuff that matters. 

Let's have less stuff and more experiences. Less facebook and more people. More of the things that matter. Rome wasn't built in a day and I'm a big fan of progress over perfection, so this doesn't mean going full retro and ditching social media all together. Technology/social media can be amazingly useful and powerful, but it shouldn't be a distraction from the important things in our lives, but instead a tool we can use to create more connections and community.

What are your thoughts on the influence of social media? How do you keep it from becoming a distraction in your life?

Getting Started | On Making Art and Being Authentic by Emily Margaret

Back in the days when I was getting started with photography, I copied what I liked. I followed a handful of photographers that I admired and tried to make my photos look like theirs, because they were successful and popular and obviously knew what they were doing (spoiler alert: no one completely has it all together). I had not yet developed my own voice and style and looked to others' work as a place to start.

With many things, not just photography, we tend to copy what we like. And that's okay- to a point.

making art - Emily Margaret Photography

When you first begin with something new, you have to start somewhere and it's common to follow the lead of those you admire. I wanted to be like those photographers, so I made my photos like theirs. I posed my subjects like they did, used similar locations, and mimicked their editing. But, there came a point where I had to find my own voice and my own style. I used what I saw as a starting place to begin to build my own ideas, find my own inspiration, and develop my own style, but once I had developed my skills and techniques, it was time for me to stop following and start doing my own thing.

Developing your own style and voice is a hard thing, but it's a crucial thing for any creative. It's easy to continue to follow what someone else is doing when you like their style and you see that they're successful, but simply copying is a discredit to both the other person and yourself.

As creatives, we constantly find inspiration in what others do and use that in our own work, but we must be careful that we aren't merely doing what the other people do because we want to be like them. We must figure out the "why" behind our work and what makes us different from everyone else, and focus on that, to truly develop our own creative voice.

Have you found your creative voice? How are you working to develop your own style?