When is it time to start?

As a nerd, I hit a barrier evert time I want to get good at something. In order to do my best at ‘x’, I need to know everything I can about ‘x’ before I can go out and give it a try. This is dangerous – when do I know enough to start? The internet has hundreds of pages of information about anything you like, and it’s so easy to get caught up in the learning rather than the doing. You could call it procrastination but it seems like a very specialised case because I am not trying to avoid the task altogether – I am trying to avoid the verb part of the task, the doing part, but I am still interested in the knowledge behind it.
Recently this has applied to photography more than anything else. In photography, being a practical subject, the only way to really learn it is to just get out and do it. Just give it a try and see where it goes. Like my internet pal, Merlin Mann says, at some point, we have to put down the running magazine and lace up the shoes and go for a run.
I bought a New York Times style guide for my writing, following the exact same pattern as above. I spent a bit of time reading it and it certainly isn’t what I thought it would be. I was expecting it to be like The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, or Stephen King’s On Writing, but it is more like a dictionary. So I now see it as a reference rather than a book to be read to get ideas/tips on writing. The problem is though, that even as I was ordering the book I knew exactly what I was doing – I was putting off the doing in favour of learning just a little bit more.
So it finally came the point where I had to call myself out (as painful as that was) and just start writing. So I did, and up to now I have about 2200 words ‘on paper’ and it feels so much better to do rather than just read or learn.
Today was the perfect example of the just get out and do it – I have been watching some Kelby Training videos about flash photography and decided that I really needed to just give it a go. I didn’t have someone to act as a model so I did it myself. I thought about what I wanted to achieve and then just went about making it happen. It was certainly a bit harder doing it alone as there was more time between shots as I reviewed each one, but I made it happen, and I learned something in the process. Learned by doing, rather than reading or watching.
Something else that I noticed as I was progressing through the photo shoot was that I was 100% focused on what I was doing, and was thinking about all of the details. A few years ago I would not have been thinking on that level.


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