Being a professional photographer can be draining. Don't get me wrong - I love what I do - but being a creative entrepreneur can be ten times harder than being an employee for someone else's dream. You are doing it all. Shooting, accounting, marketing, emailing, blogging, invoicing, scheduling, commenting, following, unfollowing, trying to keep up with everything.

Project to keep the spark alive

One way I keep my Creative Spark alive with all the other stuff that needs to be done alongside shooting my clients is to have a Personal Project. You've may have seen my 52 Weeks project up on my personal blog.

I choose one photo of my daughter every week to post. Sometimes I have 10 to choose from, and sometimes I have to remind myself that I need one to post on Sunday! It really is a feast or famine kind of thing, but somehow I always manage to pull it off.

At the end of the year, I am going to put together an album. Fifty-two photos of my daughter throughout the year, doing the things she loves (coloring, running outside in rain boots, lounging, etc). It's really become a memory-keeping project for me too.

You don't need a fancy professional camera. Many smartphones have perfectly capable cameras on them, and there are even guides on the best way to use them.

If you decide to do a personal project - or get back to an old one - here are a few things to think about.

Five points for your project

1. Choose something that you care about, not only what you think people will want to see. You want to keep your interest and creativity peaked and feel that connection so that you don't become bored.

2. Carve out time to make it a priority. I am guilty of getting lost in the busy-ness of life, and it drains me.

Personal projects often serve as a project to fill us up too. It forces me to be mindful of the very small things in my daughter's life that are often overlooked. They are the things that I will want to remember in twenty years when she is draining our bank account from college.

3. Be prepared. Know what you need, if anything, how you'll execute it, who you might need help from, etc.

The better the plan, the better your project will be. There are certain weeks that you might want a very specific type of photo, such as birthdays, holidays, sporting events, etc. Make sure to plan them.

4. Put a timeline on it. Intervals, deadlines, whatever works best for you. I do mine once a week, and I post on my blog on Sundays. Normally during naptime. It works pretty well most of the time (don't mind that I post 4 today because I lost my SD card....).

5. Keep your enthusiasm. Tell your friends & family about it, and let them enjoy the project too. They can also serve as accountability partners if you fall behind!

Enjoy it and good luck!