There is one remedy which encourages creativity more than anything else: Work. It not only encourages, but necessitates. If you don’t put in an effort you will never be creative. You simply cannot sit down and just wait for inspiration or creativity to come upon you. Creativity is not a gift but a duty. A duty to yourself. As I have written before we all have creativity within us, but most of us need to dig it out. And the only way to really dig it out is by working, but putting time and effort into whatever creative media or expression we are prone to identify ourselves with. As photographers it means to photograph. Unnecessary to say – I hope, but it really means to work consistently and energetically over a long period of time. For some of us a whole lifetime. Day and day again.
Creativity doesn’t come for free. No pain no gain. It is as simple as that – and as difficult. You can talk or think all day about photography and creativity, but if you don’t actually perform, nothing will ever come out of your desire to express yourself – which I believe is the driving force for most of us for wanting to be a photographer in the first place. The trick is to not wanting to be creative. Which can be tricky. Don’t we all at least at times feel that we need to create something extraordinary before even starting to photograph? I certainly know that the pressure – which is almost always there whenever I pick up the camera, particularly on an assignment – of having to be creative, to do something original or inspiring or just new, is inhibiting in itself. We need to let go, then. We need to just start and photograph without thinking about the end result. The process itself will bring about creativity. I know this by own experience. It might feel intimidating to start shooting and feel that everything I do is just crap, but if I just keep at it, eventually something will happen, suddenly it’s like a switch in your mind and you get turned on. After that all things can happen. But if I don’t work, nothing is going to happen. And the more I work on a daily basis, the more likely the switch will come on quicker and the creative process will open up more profoundly. It’s like any skill, without practice you will not be able to perform. And the more practise the better you perform.
The Canadian photographer David duChemin says it inspiringly in the post Do The Work on his blog Pixelatedimage: «Don’t worry about getting inspired, being original, or any of the other things that haunt the creative mind. The muse will show up, she always does. It’s she who’s waiting. Just start. Do the work.» By the way, duChemin’s blog is really one to recommend. It’s very inspiring.