Things that are caught, not taught

caught, not taught

One of my goals for this year was taking my time for myself, time in my own head. On some level, I knew that I just wasn’t feeling and acting like myself, and a big part of that was never really having time to be alone with my own thoughts. It’s something I’ve been struggling with a lot in the past few weeks – Harley has been on school holidays, I feel like there is a constant moving to do list, plus I want to connect with everyone I can before we leave. It’s leaving me very little time to daydream or waste time, which is crucially important for anyone, but particularly for those in the creative field.

You see, there was something I heard a while back on a podcast about how to write good copy. The guy explaining it was saying that while there are certain rules or guidelines to help people write better social media posts or emails, the reality was that it was something that was caught, not taught. I liked the sound of that expression, but it got me thinking about those things I’ve learned and done well with, and how I acquired those skills. While education, research, and learning are certainly important and also something I continue to pursue, I do think that concept of caught, not taught, is vitally important, and ties back into the space in my head thing.

I have mentioned a couple times that I hate being one of those permanently busy people. It’s not that I want to be lazy or something, but that always being tied to my phone, plugged into work and social interaction and feeling a constant rush or pressure isn’t conducive to actual productivity. Maybe it’s different with something like manual labor – building, gardening or cleaning are all things that require time and effort. But being creative, improving writing or visual creation, that actually comes from slowing down.

I went to a lovely event with Canon last week. It was a fun opportunity to chat with some friends of mine, and mainly just spend the day eating nice food and taking cool pictures. They basically just gave us cameras and told us to photograph four things – moving water, leading lines, a unique perspective and a red ball. Here is my favorite photo that I took from the day:

red ball

Although this one that I shared on my Instagram is a close second.

We were given about 45 minutes to wander around a lovely venue and take the photos. It reminded me of my school days when we were able to spend hours in the park on an afternoon, sketching trees or the way the light fell through leaves onto a bench, or an old couple walking down the path together. Or the hours of my life spent wandering through museums, surrounded by incredible art that changed my view of the world. Or the hundreds (thousands?) of books I’ve read that have helped shape my vocabulary, syntax, and perspective.

With preparing for our move, I’ve been expanding my blog reading and Instagram following. I want to find local bloggers in the US (and particularly in Arizona), but I still have my usual thing of wanting to find fellow bloggers who make me feel like I’m a part of something, who inspire me with their greatness or make me feel less alone in my chaotic life. A big part of that is finding people who are intriguing to read or watch. I’m also just generally following more artists, photographers, and creators online, hoping to catch whatever it is they’ve found.

Part of striving to be a better writer, a better photographer, a better video streamer, a better human is having time. Time to read and to watch, but also time to think, reflect and find my own perspective. My best photos aren’t necessarily when I have the best object to capture, but when I have time and space to pause and truly see. My best writing isn’t done when I’m rushing for a deadline, but when I have time to think, marinate with an idea and eventually craft each sentence and paragraph with care.

I am hoping to make time for myself, for my creative process. I am trying not to undermine the importance of being bored, of daydreaming, of letting my mind wander. I need time to be exposed to things of beauty, to experience new things, to savor each moment. Perspective, insight, and creativity – all things that are caught, not taught. I just need to carve out more time in my day, being open to what I can catch.

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  • Jonelle

    This post really spoke to me! I think that taking time out to “do nothing” is a vital part of who I am but with school holidays it feels impossible. I love my son so much but sometimes, I just want to sit and just be. be calm, be at peace, be alone and I find that I’m so unable to do that. Even with Gerard around, Oden still wants me all the time and I sacrifice the other things that make me, me because I need to be mom. Thanks for writing this!

    • Zoe Hawkins

      <3 thanks for reading this! ๐Ÿ™‚ glad i'm not the only one. and geez, school holidays are TOUGH… to think that a few months back we were agonizing about starting them at school, and now we can't wait until they're back

  • Ursula Van Lelyveld

    Ooh jealous of the Canon event, I LOVE my Canon camera

    • Zoe Hawkins

      oooh, which one do you have? I’m looking to buy one to up my photo and video capability

      • Ursula Van Lelyveld

        I have the SX610 HS

        • Zoe Hawkins

          NICE! I’m looking at the G7X… just not sure I’ll know half of what it can do ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Melissa Javan

    Growing up we use to have this page on the fridge that said: “Children learn as they live”.