I am reading a book by a professor of photography titled "Zen Camera"his opening chapter says two interesting things. Please take at least 10-12 weeks to read this book, read the segments, and go practice what is explained, then come back and read the next section. He acknowledges that many will read the entire book through, he urges his readers to come back after that, read a section and spend a week or two practicing what is talked about, and then pick another section. In his first lessons, he urges his readers to go out and capture at least 200 images a week. At first don't be critical, don't edit, photograph whatever catches your eye. Become at one with your camera, and it does not matter what that camera is, your phone, or a Hasselblad you should use it so much that it feels like a part of your being. In simple words, practice! practice! practice!
I am reading a book about improving your writing titled "If You Want To Write." (Yes I have more than one book going at the same time.) This book is an oldy, but still very valid. How old is the book, minimum wage for women was 50-cents an hour when it was published. She says, if you want to write, you have to write. She urges her readers to write everyday. Even if it is bad, put words on paper. Even if it is riddled with errors, commit it to paper and edit later. Her guidance is to avoid perfectionism, the time spent perfecting a sentence or a paragraph, is time that could have generated the sentence of a lifetime that needed no editing. She would contend that you are not serious about being a writer, unless you practice! practice! practice! at least a little everyday. Getting started is harder than keeping going.
Over the past 18 months I have revived my love of photography, I am probably close to that 200 a week average, a little below. I am reading books on technique, watching YouTube videos on technique and philosophy of photography as a form of artistic expression. It takes work, it takes practice, lots of practice.
I recently updated my resume, and realized that my list of published professional articles from the past three years, was two pages long. Some of them are short, a couple of them are solo efforts published in peer reviewed professional journals (major pains in the brain.) Some of the 1,500 word items have gotten read by people we would love to influence. A couple of weeks ago I had an email from a staff person for a rather infamous Senator, that said "Senator ____ read your article titled ______ and found it immensely helpful." She asked for a half hour of my time to allow me to expand on the things I had said (on the need for reform of adult guardianship in the USA.) A few years ago I was reading a bill that had been filed in Congress, and a sentence seemed familiar. I copied and searched a couple of things I had published, and found that sentence copied and pasted word for word, into proposed legislation. That is exactly what I had hoped when I wrote it. The bill didn't pass, but it was filed.
So what does that have to do with this blog and today's theme of practice, practice, practice? Writing for this blog is part of my practice to improve my writing. The commitment that I made to myself to publish everyday, was part of an effort to improve my writing, to make myself more comfortable with writing. I had read, if you want to be a better writer, write everyday, practice! practice! practice!
And when you see the young musician in Times Square, capture that photo, you never know when it is going to the perfect image.