A Few of My Favorite Things

Working on “Must-Do” and “Wish-To-Do” Projects – An Ongoing Balancing Act


I guess we all know it. In life, there is what we need to do, and then there’s what we’d rather do; a must-do list, and a wish list. I think that, for the most part, deadlines help us keep an eye on things. [A quick side note: I do believe that deadlines, self-imposed or not, are a necessity; can’t really accomplish much without them.]


Question is:

How do we get inspired and motivated to work on projects that we don’t really care much about?

Followed by:

How do we balance our time and creative flow to do both?

NYC water commute through fog. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Into the fog. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Myself, I’m glad and grateful to say that I write about things I’m very passionate about: HIV and AIDS, LGBTQ, photography, and educational writing about photography. And speaking of photography, I also get to photograph subjects I feel strongly about. [And, yes, I don’t take anything for granted.]

Deciding to actually update my blog more often and actually write just for myself is one of my writing personal projects.

When it comes to photography, I also get to add some personal projects, in addition to the subjects of interest mentioned above. Among my other personal photography interests, I’d mention capturing weather, in particular severe weather, nature, and some phenomena that I find quite intriguing–stuff like the Brocken specter (an optical illusion showing one’s shadow surrounded by a rainbow), live lava, aerials, moonbows (rainbows created by moonlight), and rainbows. And thinking about it, moonbows are still my bucket list…but I’m working on that.

So, here’s my two cents on the topic of balancing working on exciting projects (that don’t pay or don’t pay much) and not-that-exciting projects that pay the bills:

  • in order to do the greatest job possible, when working on any assignment, always try to connect with and understand the subjects and their stories
  • try to find something that really interests and fascinates you in that story, and share it, in the most powerful way possible, with the audience; create from the heart, and the audience will take notice
  • there will always be subjects and stories out there that are just not…you; there are times when we have to take these kinds of assignments because, let’s be honest, sometimes less exciting projects pay better (that’s the naked truth and we have to pay our bills); but I believe that there has to be at least a seed of excitement is necessary, because, if you take on that assignment for money alone, then that lack of interest will eventually show in your work; maybe the work will be perfectly ‘executed’ from a technical perspective, but it will have no soul; so, I guess, when it comes to assignments and projects, try to choose wisely, and always try to find something of interest and excitement in the said projects
  • I believe that personal projects are important for many reasons: they help you think outside the box, explore and learn, and come up with fresh and new material on a regular basis; personal projects feed the muse, and can lead to (or become) projects that end up feeding you
Relative: Albert Einstein billboard in Times Square. Lensbaby Photography by Alina Oswald.
Lensbaby safari in Times Square, part of B&H photography project, April 2009

And one more thing: it’s always a humbling experience to work with and for people who have your back, allow and even help you spread your wings, and encourage you to at least try to become a better version of yourself.


As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald



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