Throughout the last year or so I’ve tried to blog fairly regularly. At the start of this year I started blogging at PhotoSiteWP in addition to my personal blog.
What this has meant for me is that I’ve needed to actually start scheduling some things out.
For PhotoSiteWP that means I actually have list of topics scheduled ahead of time. I have to actually write the posts, but I [for the most part] know what those posts will be about. I post to PhotoSiteWP each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
For this, my personal blog, it means that I have a Tuesday and Thursday each week that I need to write a post for. These posts are somewhat spontaneous. Sometimes I’ll hit on a similar topic for a few weeks straight, but for the most part I pretty much have to come up with something new twice a week.
I’ve actually found the need to post every day to be helpful in some ways, while also being something of a pain.
So I write a blog post each weekday. It sometimes feels a bit repetitious, but I think I can already see some benefits of asking myself to write regularly.
Doing Things Daily
I know this is true. You know it is true.
Doing things over and over and over and over again will eventually lead to learning how to do that thing better.
In a lot of ways this is how the old “apprentice” learning model worked. Each day an apprentice would get up and go to work with the “master.” Over time the apprentice learned just about everything that the master could teach him. He then started his own business. With his own apprentice.
It is easy to talk myself out of doing things. Even things that I’ve decided I want to and will do.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it is still true. There is something interesting that happens when you schedule your creativity. Make time for it, every day if that is what you need, every week, whatever. Make sure that you know when you are entering the creative zone.
Even if you aren’t feeling particularly creative, there is something that will start to happen as you ask yourself to do something regularly. When you get behind the camera the desire to create something new starts to creep up on you. If you are a blogger, it happens when you sit down at your computer and know that you have a blog post that needs to be written in the next few hours. If you are an author it happens when you sit down every day and pound away on a manuscript, knowing that your deadline is getting closer.
Showing up is half the battle. Great things can happen when you show up.
I guarantee that you will get more stuff done if you show up. If you don’t show up, nothing happens.
It Doesn’t Have to be Great
The thing about doing something every day. It is pretty regular.
But here is a little secret. Not everything that “pros” do is great. Jeremy Cowart says that a photographer should take a lot of pictures in a portrait/band shoot. Why? Because you learn to work with your subject and as you work together you slowly learn how the other other works. The result, once there is a connection between photographer and subject, can be amazing.
However, once you get back to your studio [office, man cave, woman cave] you need to go through the pictures. Chances are pretty good that there are a lot of really bad pictures in the bunch. Especially towards the beginning. Instead of getting stuck on how bad those first 25 or 30 pictures are, see how the shoot progresses as you move through the images.
Just because something isn’t great doesn’t mean it is worthless. If it helps you see something knew or learn a new technique… it’s worth something.
A Little Story
A few years ago I decided that I was going to post a picture to one of my old blogs, every day of the year. I had to bend the rules a little bit, but I did make it.
The “necessity” of taking a picture every day, or at least editing one each day, was pretty stretching.
I’ve heard a number of people downing 365 day projects recently. Mostly because they tend to produce a lot of disconnected things. While I was working on my 365 photo project there were day’s I was shooting flowers, other day’s I shot people and still other days I shot stars.
How Regular is Regular Enough?
I think the regularity of whatever it is you want to try to get better at depends on what level you are at to begin with.
If you are a photographer, just starting out, shoot everything you see. Carry your camera everywhere. Process everything. Post your favorites. Learn all you can about your camera, composition, exposure, post processing, etc. Find out what you love to shoot. If you shoot a few pictures every day for a year, I can guarantee that you will have some idea of what things you like to photograph.
If however you have been shooting for a number of years, take your time. Choose a project you want to work on. Find a photograph that inspires you, try to recreate it. At this point you should know your gear well enough that the gear disappears [you could continue to make images with about any camera]. It is at this point I think that photography can become a real expressive art. You can get beyond the technical and reach towards saying stuff through your work.
I think it is important to learn new things. Doing whatever that “thing” is, regularly, can really be helpful in increasing the learning curve.
- If you are a vlogger – vlog daily for a month.
- If you are a blogger – blog three times a week.
- If you are a writer – write 500 words every day.
- If you are a photographer – take a picture every day.
- If you want to be a designer – design stuff every day.
You get the idea.
Do stuff. Learn to do stuff better. Do it daily.