Light the fire

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on June 25, 2015

in This is Life

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Admit it:

Your problem isn’t that you’re spending too much time doing the second best thing (or the third, or fourth, or fifth…) – your problem is that you’re not doing anything at all because you’re a perfectionist and scared to paralysis of doing the wrong thing.

Which deep in your ego, is anything that isn’t the best thing.

And let’s divorce ‘reading‘ from ‘doing‘ – let’s say here that ‘doing‘ is what you’re supposed to be in the act of after you’re done ‘reading‘ something.

Blog posts. Tutorials. Books. Magazines. Forums. Facebook groups. Twitter.

Every one of them invaluable sources of wisdom, perspective, and ideas.

But reading them doesn’t get anything done.

For an author who blogs, my posts are outrageously long compared to what most gurus say is ‘best practice.’

But even the average reader can knock out one of my 3,000-word doozies in 15 minutes or less.

Fifteen minutes.

That’s it.

The average non-fiction book is 70,000 words: that’s just under six hours of nose-on-page time – say, 35 minutes per chapter.

Thirty-five minutes.

That’s it.

Here’s my question for you:

What are you going to do with the rest of your day?

Almost every blog post you read, here or elsewhere, intends to spur you to action – a new idea to try, a new perspective to see with, an exercise, a ‘try this,’ a straight up Next Step.

Almost every book you read has a purpose to each chapter, something you’re intended to gain from and grow from and change from. Many even have specific “what to do now” steps at the end of each chapter.

If we put your reading time on one side of a scale, and the time you’ve invested in tangible, progress-driving action based on what you’ve read…which way would the scales tip?

What if we were to tip the scales the other way for the next week? Three months? A year? What would your days and your life look like?

Better yet: what if we reset the scales for an appropriate balance. Somewhere around, “for every thing you learn, take swift and violent action.”

Do read.

Reading instills within you the fuel you need to light the fire – the inspiration, the motivation, the clarity, the understanding, the new knowledge, the new math.

But Step 2 is: light the fire.

I’d bet you have years of fuel stored up.

If you would just put boots on the ground, your camera in your hand, and your business card in the hands of others – you will light up your art and business like a fireball.

Now let me ask you again:

What are you going to do with the rest of your day?

Next Steps

  • Brainstorm Session: get out your pen and paper. You are the world’s leading expert on you; as an artist, as a marketer, as a business. Nobody knows you like you. Let’s pretend for a minute that you know what you’re doing, that you are well-studied, and you’re brave enough to take imperfect action on a daily basis. #1: What can you put on your schedule and do to take action on improving your art? #2: What can you schedule to improve your marketing? #3: What can you schedule to improve your business? Make a long list of each, every baby step of tangible action you can think of. Keep this handy for the next Next Step, and then file it away in your Brainstorms folder.
  • #1: Schedule something from list 1. #2: Schedule something from list 2. #3: Schedule something from list 3. Get these on your calendar and commit to them, no matter how small or how scary the steps are.
  • Just do it, even if it’s the wrong damn thing, as my father would say. You won’t believe the gains you’ll make and momentum you’ll build by taking imperfect action at every opportunity. Congratulations: you are now a man or woman of action.
  • My writing at exists to serve your needs as an amateur photographer making the transition to paid professional. I am truly grateful for your readership, and encourage you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter at the top of any page of this site.
  • What’s the biggest struggle holding you back right now? E-mail me your answer (yes, right now!), and let’s make a breakthrough today.
  • If anything in this post has spoken to and inspired you, please comment below, drop me an e-mail, or call or text me at 830-688-1564 and let me know. I’d love to hear how you use these ideas to better your part time photography business!

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