I use the word ‘practice’ a lot. I use it to describe the 20 minutes I spend doing yoga and meditation each morning. I use it to describe the photography activities I do and share in my eBooks and online courses. But is it only recently that I have really understood its fundamental value.
Practice is a thing that you do. ‘The Practice’ is something that you do because you love it, and you want to get better at it too. I have followed my morning practice pretty regularly for 15 years or so. But I have let my photography practice slip. I became immersed in the creation of new online courses and other commitments. Sure, I still had my camera with me at times and I created photos, but I had lost the regularity I advise others to follow!
All this recently came to a head. After another rejection, I slumped (I understand that rejection is part of a creative life, but it can be hard to not see it as a judgement). I had put a huge amount of work into this creation, I was attached to the outcome, and it was not good enough.
I talked through my thoughts and feelings with a good friend. He’s a creative too and we often talk about rejection. He had recently read ‘The Practice’ by Seth Godin and felt that I would benefit from reading it, as kind of an antidote to my hard luck story.
I am halfway through it, and after a page or two it was clear what the message was and what I needed to do. And ‘do’ is the operative word. I just needed to do the practice. Without fear. Without attachment to the outcome. Just with full attention, commitment and desire. Do the work. From that will spring creation.
“If you do something creative each day, you’re now a creative person. Not a blocked person, not a striving person, not an untalented person. A creative person. Because creative people create. Do the work, become the artist. Instead of planning, simply become. Acting as if, is how we acquire identity.” Godin, Seth. The Practice (p. 34). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
Now, I know I am early to be shouting about this. I have only just re-commited to the practice. I’m sure that there will be hurdles, challenges and distractions. But after them I will return to the practice.
Already it has borne fruit. I am now keenly aware of 3 photography styles that I like to practice. They are documentary, nature based abstract and creation with ICM and/or Multiple Exposure I have not really thought about these preferences closely before. In doing the practice, with attention, I noticed my preferences. I chose when to follow or not follow each of them. I was in control. It is the only thing I can control. And perhaps that is a key part of the solution.
We are not in control about what anyone else thinks about anything else. All we can do is do the practice, create the work and share it. Not being attached to the outcome from the work, of that we have no control. This is the core message of Seth Godin’s book and seems to me now to be a clear and simple truth. Do the practice, share the benefit. That is why I do this work, why I create photos, online courses and eBooks. Photography is a way for me to become. I just need to do the work. Simple!
The photos in the post are my three that reflect my stylistic preferences. What are yours?