Being Consistently Productive is Like Maintaining a Steady Speed on a Winding Road

One thing I have always struggled with is setting aside time every day to work on my art. Like any craft I have my own “writer’s block,” or in my case photographer’s block.

Last fall I came across an article by Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club amongst many other wonderful novels, that helped to me at keeping a more constant workflow.

Original article on Lit Reactor 13 Writing Tips From Chuck Palahniuk

Glenwood Water Rails 2013 Keeping on track can always be a challenge, but stick with the twists and turns and you will be amazed what comes.
Glenwood Water Rails
2013
Keeping on track can always be a challenge,
but stick with the twists and turns and you will be amazed what comes.

First and foremost the first tip of the article is to very simply set aside a set amount of time every day. I have begun to use my lunchtime coffee and snack as my photography hour. Just as the Palahniuk states I often begin this hour with little in mind or not wanting to work. Nearly every day by then end of the hour I find that I just cannot find enough time to complete everything that has come to mind.

The beauty of this technique for me is that this hour can be used for anything that pertains to my artwork and trying to create a living from it. I spend the time writing on this blog, taking photographs, editing images, looking back through old shoots I have done, working on a lesson plan and book on how to do night photography, advertising, and the list goes on. I have found that in spending this time on many things it keeps me more interested. Do I have to spend the hour taking photographs since it is photography time, no. There are so many other facets to producing my work on a commercial level than just shooting.

Split Rock on the Shoreline 2013 Looking through old work I always find beautiful images. This image of the Split Rock Lighthouse (far left) and the shoreline on a cloudy May afternoon is an example of past work that I find going through my old image files.
Split Rock on the Shoreline
2013
Looking through old work I always find beautiful images. This image of the Split Rock Lighthouse (far left) and the shoreline on a cloudy May afternoon is an example of past work that I find going through my old image files.

Looking back through work is another piece of advice that has worked greatly for me. I have found that when I don’t know what to do looking back through all of my work gets my creative juices flowing, and the wild part is that the images that help most are often ones I completely overlooked during my original edits from shoots. Case and point are many of the images used in this blog. Going through my old work often gets me thinking as to how it relates to then, now, and my future which has been what I have used for writing topics.

“Write the book you want to read” is a direct quote from Palahniuk. This can apply to any art. Take the photographs you want to see. Paint the paintings that would inspire you. Write the music you would listen to every day. That is pretty simple, but extremely powerful. If the work is of importance to you then it will likely mean more to others; your dedication and belief in your art shows in the final product regardless of your field.

It is surprising how just reading a short article has given me a more consistent productivity in my work, but using these ideas in my own way has made quite a difference in my workflow. Now to hope that I can continue to be this productive down the long stretch….

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