A hiatus in your creative outlet is a great thing.  I don’t mean planned breaks but those ones that just turn up and you naturally down tools for a period of time.   

They are a great thing because they allow you to recharge, regather, rethink and contemplate.  They allow your concious thinking to catch up with your subconscious.

Personally, I have always found them so valuable.  I return with vigour and with an extra zest that is stimulating and uplifting.  It allows you to miss your passion.   

I have found that it improves my work too.   

My longest hiatus was between 1988 & 1997.  Yes roughly ten years without photography.  It was fantastic from one perspective, the only one that matters in my humble opinion and that was a huge improvement in quality.  During those years my visual language grew, I matured and grew older.  I could see my work so differently.   

I think I let go of a lot too.  I didn’t try as hard and was able to connect with my emotions much more readily.  My work after this huge break took a monumental leap forward in quality.  Before and after are like chalk and cheese.   

Have you ever done something intuitively well, and as you thought about it your performance has decreased.  Well, I think my hiatus allowed me to go back to being intuitive again.   

Of course ten years without your creative outlet is probably way too long.  Luckily for me teaching is a creative outlet and those intervening years were full of creativity and design.   

Short breaks are also fantastic.  A month or two brings me a fresh renewal.   Don’t worry about them.  Enjoy them.  Know that you will return with invigorated passion when you are ready.  They are healthy and normal.   


Bombo Quarry, near Kiama, NSW, Australia.  Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2018

Artist | Writer | Photographer | Educator | Adventurer