Procrastination is a huge stopping factor to anyone who aspires to become a photographer. In fact, it is a huge stopping factor to anyone who aspires to become or do anything.
Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something, as defined by the dictionary. You may be amazed if you realise that this word only applies to humans. If you think about it for a moment, we, intelligent beings are the only species in this world who in order to go from point A to point B, we will come up with a million excuses to keep from even start moving towards that direction.
Remember the little squirrel guy in Ice Age movie who wanted to get his acorn no matter what? He would just go for this acorn, no matter if the whole world around him was coming to an end. Wouldn't think twice, wouldn't look back, just go for the damn thing.
Say, someone comes up to me and says,
" You know, I really want to become a photographer. I really want to start making nice pictures and be able to communicate my thoughts and maybe even make exhibitions, or a book someday. Will you show me how? "
Yes, I can easily show you. But probably that wouldn't help. I don't even have to show you, you can go read a book and see how it's done. But that wouldn't help either. I'd need to walk you through it, if lucky, otherwise I'd have to drag you through it.
So let me tell you just now, how to start becoming a photographer and then write down the demons that will keep you from actually doing it.
So let's say that in order to become a good photographer, to a point where you can find your own way and be able to determine what you need to further develop your work, is a path from a novice point A, to point Z.
I can tell you just now, that if you want to move from point A to point B or even C,D you have to just go out everyday and make a couple of photos, so that you come up with one reasonably proper exposure.
Just ONE fucking photograph a day. Not enough time? (shitty excuse already, but anyway). OK, make ONE photograph every other day, fuck even every three days. But do it consistently.
Easy, no? A monkey can do it. I assure you.
So, let me write down your demons. These very demons that will prevent you from doing this simple, monkey level task.
This by the way applies to anything. You want to be a writer? write one page on anything every day. A painter? do a 10-minute sketch. Healthier? go for a 10-minute run. The list goes on and on.
Maybe by having these demons in your mind, you can bust yourself red-handed and slowly kill those demons. You can start by stop feeding them.
Let us see what each demon would say to "Make one photo a day":
Belphegor the lazy
" Oh, that is so hard man. I have to dress, go out and I don't even know how to use this damn machine. No way, it's so hard to do this. Let me just lay down and watch some TV. "
Slap yourself in the face and take your ass out. Don't even go out, do it inside your home, it's just one photo.
Some times, working hard may be another way of being lazy. People will work hard so that they have an excuse to hide for not doing any actual work. You see, the road to success usually requires you to first work really hard, so that you actually learn to do that. Then you have to switch to working smart instead of hard and last of all you get to THINK hard instead. Some people just get to level one, where they just work hard. They get comfortable in that stage, so they stay there. Working hard then becomes an excuse for not being able to develop further.
Lucifer the perfect
" But what if I make a mistake? what if I press the wrong button? What if the photo I take is not perfect? What if I don't find the best light, the best subject, or I even don't have the best camera and the best lens for the job? "
Guess what. Before quality, comes quantity. You cannot make it perfect the first time, not even the 100th time. You just take a fucking picture. It's just that. Don't worry about perfect, you will get there by getting feedback and optimise in every next one that you make.
Leviathan the comparing
" Why bother? I'll never be as good as Koudelka, I'll never be like Salgado, I cannot reach McCurry's fame, even my friend John makes so much better photos than me. "
Forget about anyone else. You're not in a race. Why don't you stop envying anyone else around you and mind your own shit. Your job is to take one picture today. I can tell you from now, yes, you probably won't be as good as Koudelka. This is really hard work. But if you start doing it today, and then if you want it really hard, put the hard work, and then some more hard work, you actually may have a small, tiny tiny chance.
I can tell you something other for certain though. If you just sit there, I can assure you 100% that you don't stand a fucking chance.
Gressil the futurist
" Do I really want this for my future? Where will becoming a photographer take me? Maybe I should invest my time into something different? What if I regret after a couple of years? "
Well, I don't know. Where did sitting on your ass so far take you? Maybe you can become a great sitting person. Or maybe what you are doing today is the best thing in the world, so just keep on doing that.
Berith the idiot
- " I don't know how. Let me first read 200 books and watch 500 videos to learn how to do it. "
- " Just take one picture. "
- " No, no I don't know how. Someone has to be with me to show me "
Really what's wrong with you? It doesn't matter you don't know. Just press a button. You are not handling a nuclear missile. You are not going to destroy the world by taking a picture. You probably can't even kill anyone from taking one. Well, I think. Can't be that bad of a picture, can it?
Asmodeus the dumb listener
" My friend Lara told me I shouldn't take one picture a day. It's a bad idea, cause she read a book that you should think and plan well before taking a photo. Oh, and my brother told me that I first need to buy a good camera to start with "
Stop listening to anyone's ideas. You only want to listen to people who are already where you want to be and stick with one of them for some time. Or, you guessed it, just go and take one photo a day please and see for yourself.
Mammon the jump around
" I've tried photography for 3 months and didn't work out for me. I had tried sculpture and painting before. I now am thinking of taking knitting lessons "
This is similar to the example with the gold miner. The one that the guy was digging for 100 meters, couldn't find any gold and then went a bit further down the road, dug again another 100 meters and then again and again. The gold was everywhere, only the reserve was at 110 meters deep.
Success comes by committing to one purpose over time. You may not see any results after a long time, but if you stick to it, results will come to you. They will definitely come, cause you are not the one inventing the wheel. Other people have done it before.
Quick note: There is no one significantly smarter than you in the world. If you take IQ as a measurement scale of smartness, it ranges from say, 40? to 180? So the smartest person is less than 5 times smarter than the dumbest person in the world. How come there is someone else 1000 times more successful in what you want to achieve? Think about it. The dumb person simply went in one spot in this same goldmine and kept on digging and digging, until he reached the 110 meters gold reserve.
Satan the all-kind-of-shit maker
" What if I take a plane to go take photos and the plane crashes? What if my friends see me in the neighbourhood taking pictures? I will be embarrassed. What if someone gets angry and punches me in the face? What if someone follows me, comes along and steals my camera? What if I go to a restricted area and I get arrested for taking pictures?... "
This can go on and on with outrageous excuses. This guy just makes crazy shit up. Lame excuses where even probably aliens would abduct him for wanting to take a picture. I may exaggerate to make a point, but maybe even not.
So the next time you recognise one of those demons, you can now bust yourself. You now know better and you know that there is at least someone who doesn't take all these shit from you. That is yourself. Hear him out and just go out there and do something. You probably already know what it is that you have to do.
It's so weird that when it comes to important things in our life we don't follow the simplest and proven method and we deliberately try to complicate everything.
Before you go out of the house (to take your daily photo of course), you need to switch off the lights. You just reach for the switch and that's it. You just do it. You don't start by measuring the distance between yourself and the switch, you don't start by thinking about what is the right angle in which you should raise your arm or how you should be approaching the switch. You don't worry that by switching the lights off you may be disappointed and then maybe you want to switch them back on.
So just reach for the damn switch!