I’m sure you clicked on this wondering what type of advice you’d be getting. Is it advice on how to get published specifically with Penumbra? Is it advice on how to get published elsewhere? Advice on writing, photography, painting, drawing, or any other type of creative content?
The short answer to all those questions is Yes.
Yes, to all of questions above. To be specific, though, this is going to be a blog about advice on being a creative type, and all the different aspects of that. We’ll cover how to publish, here and elsewhere, tips on the various means of creation, and much much more.
You see, all of those various mediums and topics still boil down to one key, one specific act, that leads into all of the others. You can’t submit anywhere until you have finished creating your project. And those projects take time. So, without further ado, here is the first piece of advice in a long series.
Get to work.
It doesn’t matter if you goal is to be the next great author, or be the cover shot of national geographic, or even something as humble as 10 likes on Twitter. Before you can do any of that, you have to make something.
That is the single hardest step, the step that so many people get stuck on. We overthink things, we plan when and how we’re going to do them, but the key component is starting.
You say you don’t have the time? Well then, sorry, you won’t ever be an author/photographer/musician until you make the time. None of that can be achieved without making the effort.
Now, I know time is in short supply, but you have to make the time. If you can carve out 5 minutes a day writing, that’s 5 minutes you didn’t spend before. They don’t even have to be subsequent. Waiting for an elevator? Write a sentence or two. Picking something up? That’s another sentence or two. I’ve even “written” by opening a google document and putting on voice to text while on a long commute. It wasn’t very good, and there were plenty of misunderstood words and no punctuation, but that was 10 pages of something to work with later.
Take a picture of anything with your phone. When you have a minute or two, try and edit it. Sure, your picture of the shampoo bottle you took while waiting for your shower to warm up isn’t going to win any prizes, but it’s a good chance to practice editing on it. Look at the lighting, see how the contrast effects the photo.
There are countless little moments of downtime where you can spend some of it working on your craft. Now, I am not saying this is something you should do every single second you have some downtime. We need to give our brains a chance to rest. But some of the time, even if it only adds up to five minutes a day, that can be a huge stride in the right direction.
Many of us are our own worst critics. This helps defeat that. Is that line I wrote terrible? Well duh, I wrote it while I waited at a bus stop. But now I have a line, and maybe if I tweak it a bit, its suddenly not so terrible. I have this foundational step to build off of.
Is this photo even worth keeping on my phone? No, it should be deleted, it’s not even worth the memory. But now I know taking a picture from that angle of that object is bad. Maybe if I tried it from the other side, it wouldn’t be so terrible.
These little bits add up. 5 minutes a day is roughly two and a half hours a month. For many of us, that is much longer than we spend working on our craft now. And that is what’s important.
Now, this blog won’t always be tips for beginners, but this is a foundational first step. Keep this in mind and go out there and create!