"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory" - Friedrich Engels
It seems obvious to say it, but to get better at something you really need to do it.
I don't suppose photography is unique but for a creative and visual pursuit it doesn't half produce a lot of talk. Discussions about gear, technique, history, artists, categorisation, the list of topics under discussion is boundless (with some having more merit than others). If you wanted you could easily fill a lifetime talking about photography rather than doing photography.
For me photography is all consuming. If I'm not doing it, I'm thinking it, viewing it and reading it. The problem that I often face is that I kid myself into thinking that that's what photography is - as long as I'm reading about it then I'm developing as an artist. While all of the information and images that I'm consuming may be helping me in some way, if I was actually doing it I would be progressing much more quickly and be a lot happier for it. Interesting to note that "producing" rather than "consuming" was one of my motivations for becoming a photographer!
So I remind myself that taking photographs should be my primary action. Other photography related stuff is great, but it should never get in the way. If it does I will become an imposter rather than an artist.
I also need to tell myself that it's not ok to "not be in the mood". We can use lack of enthusiasm and these other activites to hide behind, playing at being an artist. But they are just a form of resistance distracting us from our real work (as Steven Pressfield discusses in his awesome book, The War of Art; note this is an affiliate link*).
I've started to plan my months, weeks and days better so that I set goals on getting out with the camera. This makes sure that at least when I fail to reach those goals I am aware of it, rather than letting it slip by whilst busying myself with other things.
This might seem like taking the fun out of things, but I've found quite the opposite. Because I've prioritised it I make sure to get out there rather than hoping to fit it in alongside everything else that's going on in life. I'm much happier that I've got a better balance that I've consciously created.
The funny thing is it's when I "can't be bothered" that I often have the most productive and inspirational time with the camera. So if you're not in the mood, just take the first step and let the inspiration follow.The image of Blea Tarn attached to this post was taken at 5.45am. The alarm went off at 4am, rain drumming on the tent. It was so tempting to stay in my cosy sleeping bag! But action is what's required and I remind myself that though it may be hard to get up, I won't make anything worthwhile lying in my bed. * if you're unsure what an "affiliate link" is, it's a bit like a "refer a friend" scheme. If you buy the book through this link Amazon know that I referred you and pay me a small commission. I only include affiliate links to products that I have used and recommend.