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Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda: Combatting Laziness and Fear in Your Art

Let me just start by saying this.... LAZINESS and FEAR are two of the hardest obstacles to overcome as an artist and as a human. Both of these tendencies come in many forms, and can feel like total roadblocks, but there are ways to push through them, and you will ALWAYS feel better when you do.

I've found that the more my career develops as a working artist, the better I get at removing as many of those roadblocks as possible. That's not to say that I'm immune to laziness, but I've definitely learned that if I'm feeling like my creative battery is dead, there are ways to jumpstart it. That being said, I think that I experience most of my laziness at the very beginning of a project. It can feel difficult to work up the courage to dive into something new, and there always seems to be a momentary weighing-of-the-proverbial-scales when you're trying to decide between breaking out your camera, or watching tv. You run through that groundbreaking idea in your mind, and think of all the cool ways to explore it, but the little voice on your shoulder says "Boy.... this couch SURE IS comfortable." It's a daily struggle, but I assure you, there's hope.

The best way I've found to fight laziness is to force myself into a scenario where I can experience a small victory (of any kind). That little victory could be a workout, cleaning the kitchen, starting a load of laundry, or any number of other activities. Having said that, I can usually ride those little wins long enough to spark the initial "diving-in" phase of whatever creative endeavor I may be starting. It's always the first line, note, word or photo that seems the hardest. Once you've gotten past the jumpstart, you can usually move straight into that beautiful feeling of creative overdrive and just ride the current for a while.

As far as fear is concerned, I suppose it could be caused by a number of different variables, but generally comes from the unknown. People fear things that they can't predict and also things they don't understand. If you're intimidated by photography, drawing, painting or any other medium, perhaps you just need to get to know it a little better. I think one thing people tend to forget is that there are many ways to consume that knowledge. Not all scholarship is earned from books, and the learning process doesn't have to be mundane if you choose a more involved path. I'll use photography as an example. You can learn just as much about photography when you're editing as you can when you're taking photos. Going to the camera store and looking through different lenses will help you understand why your lens performs the way it does. Taking an acting class may help you tell a better story in your photos. Paying attention to composition in film will help you rationalize between one framing choice and the next. All of these fundamental building blocks of your critical mind will help you make decisions and become a better photographer. You can't learn it all at once, and it takes practice and devotion to become skillful, but if you become a student of your craft, you can bet your legs that you won't be getting any worse at it with time.

Staying inspired on command isn't always an easy task, but learning to identify your positive creative triggers may be able to help you up the slopes. What I'm saying here is that you have all the tools you need to get started, it's just a matter of learning how to trick yourself into using them.

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