Waiting on the muse to strike is a waste of time!


Struggling with motivation to start something?  Have you spent hours wondering what the problem is?  You have considered the weather, the time of year, the location even your gear but you can’t seem to get it together.  Maybe you think if you had that new piece of equipment?  A new shiny camera, gleaming in the window of your favorite shop, winking at you, whispering “buy me and all your problems will be no more” and your mouth is watering as you imagine holding it and looking through the view finder.  Well this post might just save you some money then!

I was on the Open College of the Arts Flickr forum last week and I found these wise words from one of the tutors Peter J Haveland:

As an artist, regardless of medium, one awakes, shakes the sleep out of one’s head, breakfasts in one’s chosen way and faces the studio…whether there is a client being insistent, a show deadline on the horizon or simply a day to get through there is no point in waiting for the muse to strike, one simply has to get on with it and make work otherwise one will go to bed having nothing to show for all the angst of the day. The work may need redoing, it may need revising or it may simply need throwing away but work has been made and something will have been learned from the experience. At least a brief is a starting point, a suggestion, a guide on which to build…it may lead to nothing much or it may lead to good work but, again, something will be learned. The Constructivists had a good point in that we artists are just workers like any other, with eight hours a day five days a week to be engaged in that work, we are not special, we have no exclusive right to sit around waiting for ‘the right motivation’…we have a job to do and we must get on with it.

About briancooney123

HOW I GOT HERE Of course, I wasn’t always a full time photographer. I spent a lot of time in the corporate world. I had a job which paid well, but just didn’t excite me. I remember the day when I had had enough. Enough of selling myself short, enough of dreaming too small, enough of doing what others expected of me. I had put away my dreams and told myself I would get back to them later, but somehow there always seemed to be something else that had to get done first. A friend of mine had recommended I take the NLP Business Practitioners course, and although I was really busy, I decided to do it. During that time, I began to imagine the different paths my life could take from here. While I had a hazy picture of what this other life might look like, I had a clear picture of where my current life was going if I didn’t change. It was a scary moment, a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff deciding whether to jump into the great unknown or stay on the cliff, safe but trapped. I jumped. The transition to the life I wanted was challenging The transition to the life I wanted was challenging but I would never go back. After that day I resolved to do what I love, to follow my bliss.  Picking up a camera after several years away, I found that many things had changed, the digital age had arrived. In the intervening years, I was too busy to pay any attention to my photography, and occasionally when I took something I really liked, I would think “how do some photographs seem so captivating and others leave me completely cold?” I knew this is what I was meant to do Somehow though, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about being a photographer. I took many, many courses and I read every book I could get my hands on, I still do. Since then, I have dedicated myself to helping other creative photographers achieve the results they want. And what a journey it has been. Last year I qualified as a coach. My main area of interest is creativity and helping others to express their vision. WHAT I BELIEVE Along the way, I’ve learnt that there are no rules. Experiment, explore, play. My advice is to make your art from your heart, not for the praise or the money.  Lighten up. It’s important to take your photography seriously, but it's a mistake to take yourself too seriously. Finally, you get what you want when you never, ever give up so enjoy every minute of it and just do it!
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15 Responses to Waiting on the muse to strike is a waste of time!

  1. as f.scott fitzgerald once said..”inspiration is for amateurs”

  2. speeddemon2 says:

    I agree with this post whole heartedly. I tell people that to really be good with a camera requires lots of practice. Just as a musician plays his instrument every day so too a photographer needs to take his camera in hand and shoot every day. As Peter says that doesn’t mean that everything you shoot will be exactly as you hoped but you will learn something from having done it; sometimes nothing more than discovering it wasn’t a great idea and others where you make another leap into proficiency and discovery.

    • The master told me “There are three things you need to do to be a better photographer 1. Practice, 2. Practice, 3. Practice here ended the lesson…Thank you for your comment!

  3. great shot and good words, thanks

  4. Nice pic.
    I’m not a Constructivist then – good, I’d hate to be labelled.
    My solution/antidote for lack of inspiration is to go out (or stay in) and practice the basics – exposure control, manual focussing, panning, dof, etc etc. But then I’m not an artist.

  5. toooldtoofast says:

    Great photograph, I am just starting out and I have been trying to get the misty water effect, however I have been struggling as it often over exposes and my camera always says that it is too bright. Any tips would be great!

    • well I use two things to get exposure right, one is the histogram and I have it turned on to the brightness setting in the camera menu, the other thing I use is the high light alert, also turned on in the camera menu. This shows the areas that are over exposed on the screen as blinking areas in the picture. As soon as I see blinker’s I know I either need to choose a faster shutter speed or a smaller aperture (Larger number). Hope that helps.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for this, Brian … I needed a kick in the butt to ‘just DO IT’. Reblogging!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Reblogged this on Cheryl Andrews and commented:
    Redo, revise or throw it away but don’t wait around for your muse to strike.

  8. Jo says:

    Lovely lovely photograph and wise words indeed.

  9. qwerty6 says:


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