Catching Up With Your Creative Ambition


I found this great video when Conor McClure shared it earlier this week.

Daniel created a video accompaniment to a section of an interview with Ira Glass about the frustration of being in the place as a creative person where you have good taste, but aren't really satisfied with the quality of the stuff you're producing.

What a strange place to be. Understanding the difference between the good and the mediocre but not being able to push through. Here's Ira's advice-

You gotta know, the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work...It's only by actually going through a volume of work that you're going to catch up and close that gap and the work you're making is going to reach those ambitions.

I've found this to be the case in so many creative endeavors over the years. Whether it's photography, songwriting, playing an instrument or graphic design, the same rule applies. You'll know what exceptional looks (or sounds) like long before you can pull it off. As much as it sounds cheesy, there really is something to the phrase, "Fake it 'till you make it".

By trying over and over again to make the thing that you can already feel inside of you, eventually it stops being fake.


Thirty Eight


I posted Thirty Seven last year after being inspired by a similar list posted by Noah Stokes. Here is this year’s list of things I’ve learned.

  1. Taking at least one photo each day isn’t that hard and you can watch yourself get better.
  2. There is a certain kind of relief that happens once you scratch something shiny and new for the first time. It’s like you can finally use it.
  3. Raw Spinach is fantastic. I avoided it for years, but discovered that it is a miracle food this year. Baby spinach is easier to eat in a salad. After 37 years, I also started liking Avocados. I guess tastes do change.
  4. My wife is my perfect complement. She fills in my gaps and makes me a better man than I could be by myself. This happens so often I sometimes forget that I don't have it this together on my own.
  5. I really like having a computer that I don’t share with anyone else. This past few weeks is the first time that has ever been true.
  6. Sales isn’t really about sales. It’s about relationships and being trustworthy.
  7. Though gear is fun to have and think about, it doesn’t make you better at whatever you are trying to do.
  8. 1 regular length prime lens is really all you need.
  9. Living simply is good, but getting rid of complication is hard.
  10. If you truly listen to people, it makes you a better person.
  11. I’m probably more selfish than my children. It’s learned over time. I hope to teach them to learn differently.
  12. Vampires are dumb.
  13. Clutter is suffocating.
  14. I wish I could enjoy this particular moment in my kid’s live as much as I will miss it when it’s gone.
  15. I try to find the best version of everything, then decide if I really need the best.
  16. It’s okay to carry a camera with you most everywhere you go.
  17. The best way to remember something like your wallet or keys consistently is to make a habit out of it.
  18. I feel more focused as I eliminate small, insignificant decisions like shirt color and meal choices.
  19. A small dab of moisturizing lotion on my face after shaving is a good habit and makes my skin feel better all day.
  20. My sons are too smart for their own good. They ask questions I didn’t even know they could think.
  21. Looped carpet with a big dog and kids is not a good choice. Go for the pile. It wears better. Hardwoods are even better, but it’s more obvious when they are dirty.
  22. Fun socks don’t cost any more than boring socks. I choose fun.
  23. Hawaii feels like home. How did I not go sooner?
  24. Drinking lots of water makes me feel 50% better each day.
  25. Sleeping 7 hours does the same, but 8 is too much.
  26. For the first time this year, I've had more moments when I felt like an adult than moments where I felt like a kid.
  27. It almost always takes me 3 times to remember someone’s name. 3rd time really is the charm.
  28. Just because I'm 38, doesn't mean I don't still love Legos.
  29. The older I get, the less being right makes me feel better.
  30. My best friends don't create drama in my life.
  31. When it comes to photography, and writing, I've learned to edit and delete ruthlessly.
  32. As a dad, it's important to wrestle and laugh loudly at burps and farts with my kids.
  33. Farts and burps are funny.
  34. Don't treat work clients better than your friends. Return their calls, emails and texts quickly. It's just the right thing to do.
  35. Strive to be awesome at one thing. It's better than half-assing multiple things.
  36. It is a virtue to say exactly what you mean. I despise subtext and unsaid expectations.
  37. The best cup of coffee I've ever had was made by grinding some beans and then pouring hot water over the grounds. It doesn't need to be complicated.
  38. When making photos, I’m aiming to capture the way it actually felt to be there.

Stay Hungry

I love this paragraph from a recent post by John Carey on Fiftyfootshadows.net

Stay just hungry enough to know you love the taste of your favorite foods. Stay messy enough to know that perfection can never honestly be found. Stay cold enough to remember the comfort of being warm. Stay naive enough to feel disappointment. Stay calm enough to feel the rush of a surprise. Stay balanced, stay open to anything, and stay awake just long enough to fall back asleep.

Successful People are Do'ers

I just read a fantasitc article this morning by Lee Morris on FStoppers. The article is called The Photographers You Idolize are No Better Than You

Though the article is set in the context of Photography, I think much of it is applicable on a much broader level.

Here is my favorite part-

Successful people are “Do’ers.” By that I mean successful people accomplish things. In many cases it doesn’t even matter what they do, they just have to do something, anything, over and over again. “Talented” people take initiative to do, create, or start something. The average person doesn’t actually do anything themselves; they go to work, they do what they are told, and then they come home and watch tv and get ready for the next day of work. Successful people see a problem and then fix it. They have an idea and they create something. Think about the people that you look up to in your life. You probably admire them because they have done something unique or different or they do something specific very well.

The average person is a talker. They claim to be smart, they claim to be talented and they claim to have great ideas. But they also always have an excuse about why they aren’t doing anything...These same people are the ones that will sit back and look at other people who are doing things and talk bad about them or their projects...The truth is, successful people don’t have enough time to hate on other people because they are too busy doing things- like making money.

Long quoted section there, but I was especially struck by it. I so badly want to be the person in the first paragraph, and not the person in the second. Too often in my life, the roles are reversed.

I want it in all areas. Work, Photography and more important ones like Husband, Father and Friend.