I think most photographers struggle with direction and style from time to time especially when starting out. It’s a never ending process, at least in my opinion because I think artists are constantly striving and moving in different directions. This constant striving is very fluid, you may try to predict where you’ll be 10 years from now but if you hold on to that idea in your head too much, it may also hold you back.
What do I mean by being held back? Sometimes we tend to get tunnel vision as we become inspired. This is fine and it’s good to experiment with new styles but also take that influence and make it your own. I guess it’s a part of evolving, but what I’m trying get at is developing your own style and not trying to replicate someone else’s style. I’m constantly looking at the work of photographers from the past and present. Of course I have my favorite photographers and gravitate toward them but I also try to find more. Other incredible influences may come from many kinds of artists such as master painters from all kinds of styles. A trip to an art museum once in a while will help and also buying books. I’m an addict when it comes to books and I tend to have them all over the place because I’m always looking through them for ideas.
We are a product of all artists before us. We take influences and integrate them into our own work. Making mistakes and going through the pains are part of growing. Making mistakes shouldn’t be thought of as negative but a part of progression. If you think of it, not making mistakes may be worse because you may not be pushing your limits enough. Perhaps staying in the safe zone.
Just some thoughts.