Essay

Strengthening the creative muscle

Since 2015, I’ve published here six days a week. People ask me how I do it. Well, here’s how — and you can do it, too.

A portrait of the photographer
Me out working on this blog

I set aside time almost every day to work on the blog. I get up earlier than I otherwise need to every weekday so I have at least one morning hour to brainstorm post ideas, write, and/or process photographs. I often spend my entire Saturday morning working on this blog.

I write about a well-known set of things. They say there’s no greater tyranny than a blank page. I’ve overcome that by narrowing down the kinds of things I write about. Most of my articles are reviews of photo gear and film, road-trip reports, essays, and personal stories. My fallback is to write about photographs I’ve made, whatever comes to mind. Even though my shtick is varied, it’s not overbroad. Truly, to generate an article all I need to do is buy an old camera or a kind of film I’ve never shot before, use it, and write about the experience. Or take a day trip to some Indiana city, photograph it, and write about it. The best part is that these are things I enjoy doing anyway. Sharing the experience with you heightens my pleasure with it.

Through these things, I’ve built a strong creative muscle. The more I publish, the more I publish. Once I start generating and executing on ideas, more and more ideas generally come. Sometimes I have more ideas than I have time for! If I don’t write them down, I lose them. Other times, work or family consume my time and thoughts. When that happens, idea flow slows or even stops. To re-prime the idea pump, all I have to do is pick a kind of article I normally write, and write one. My go-to is to choose a photograph and write whatever comes to mind about it. Then I write another, and another. Very soon, article ideas start flowing in again.

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6 thoughts on “Strengthening the creative muscle

  1. A look behind the curtain or under the hood to see how something works is always fascinating to me. Being a once weekly blogger, some of my rhythms are different but much of your method is familiar.

  2. arhphotographic says:

    “ these are things I enjoy doing anyway. Sharing the experience with you heightens my pleasure with it.”
    Totally agree. Many thanks for sharing. Andrew

  3. I admire how you manage to keep going so consistently. My own creative muscles are pretty flabby. I do still keep a blog as a place to post pictures but no longer try to write much. Perhaps your thoughts can inspire me.

    • Thanks Olli. I’m sometimes not entirely sure why I keep this going. I enjoy interacting with people like you, and I like the feeling of being able to create. I guess that’s enough, because I persist.

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