Friday, August 5, 2011

Risk Your Creativity: RSVP For One

Alone at the Event
photo by C. G. P. Grey via Flickr

Ever had the opportunity to attend an event, but found yourself without a date?

Recently, I was invited to attend the opening reception for the Butterfly Pavilion's Annual Photo Contest.  It was on a weeknight, and school had just started.  The boys had sports practice after school, and it couldn't be rescheduled.  I would have loved to share an evening of dinner and cocktails with my husband, but someone had to stay with the children.

What to do? Skip it, or just go?

I told myself, "Just Go!"

Nervous (227/365)
Photo by andrewrennie via Flickr

When negotiating with myself about what to do, I began to weigh the pros and cons.  I would have a chance to be a part of an event that recognized local photographers (pro).  I would have a chance to connect and outreach to people that have similar interests (pro).  There would be free admission to see the butterflies (pro).  There would be free food and cocktails (pro).  I will have to miss the boys' practice (con). I will have to go by myself (con)?

I had everything to gain and would only lose seeing one practice in addition to spending a little awkward time by myself.  You know what I thought? "I'm not really that unpleasant to be around! I think I can handle hanging out with myself for a few hours.  I'd either meet a few new interesting people or just take my phone and notebook and enjoy some quiet time to jot down a few ideas." 

As creatives, we have to take risks.


If you are starting your own business, like me, don't miss an opportunity just because you don't have the "buffer" of another person to attend an event with you!  What's wrong with a quiet evening out by yourself to simply enjoy people and receive a little appreciation for something you've done?  Put yourself out there!

If you rely on someone else's schedule to be free, you may miss out on a great chance to spread the word about your business, or make connections with other great people.  You don't have to show up and be the life of the party.  Don't be afraid to say a few friendly hellos, answer questions when they are asked, or just stand quietly with a smile on your face.  There's a lot to be gained just by listening to a crowd of people!

Take Risks. Don't be afraid to go alone.

Sometimes that even means just submitting an entry to a contest you know nothing about.  Maybe you know your piece won't win or be selected.  Enter anyway. 

Butterfly Pavilion Photo Contest Entry 2011
"Spread Your Wings" original photo by Erin Fickert-Rowland

Submit the best work you have at that moment, and learn about the process. I wasn't prepared with an exotic photograph of an interesting bug out in the wild, which is what they were looking for. My best shot was from the Butterfly Pavilion itself. If I didn't submit it, however, I wouldn't have been invited to attend the reception.

I am thrilled to say I had a great evening sharing "oohs" and "ahhs" with complete strangers over some pretty amazing photographs!  I was also able to spend a few moments with the beautiful butterflies fluttering around, and even saw one hatch from its cocoon!


  1. Sounds lovely! I love going out by myself because I doesn't happen often! Time to complete a thought, you know? :) Your butterfly photo is gorgeous!

  2. Thanks a lot, Elizabeth! I agree- it doesn't happen often for me either, so we should just be thrilled for the opprotunity and go for it!

  3. I admire your choice to go for adventure! I most certainly would have stayed home!

    You are right of course, to have chosen as you did, but it took great courage. I am so glad you found pleasure and enjoyment waiting for you!

  4. Beautiful butterfly photo! Good for you on your venture alone :-)

  5. Pam and Christine- Thanks for your kind words! It would be so easy for me to just stay home and work- I am a homebody! However, I am pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone and take a few risks now and then! I'm always amazed at how many great people are out in the world to meet!

  6. beautiful butterfly picture! i love the pink peeking through her wings. wonderful color.
    i go alone to lots of events. like you, someone needs to take the kids to their events. i really do like to have my husband with me when possible, but there are certain events where i just don't want to feel responsible for his happiness. i just want to mingle and have conversations with people that share the same passions as me.


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